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Video: '50% of teachers on sick leave today'

May 5 (DM) About 50% of teachers attached to state schools had refrained from engaging in their services today by applying sick leave, the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) said today. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin said that the trade union action launched by them against the SAITM was a success. “Many teachers have applied sick leave today following the short-notice we made. These teachers are engaged in this trade union action despite of several threats,” he said. more..

Results of US Diversity Visa 2018 released

May 5 (DM) Entrants of the US Diversity Visa (DV) Programme 2018 can now check the statuses of their applications via the website:, US Embassy in Colombo announced yesterday. Issuing a statement, it said the applicants should retain confirmation receipts until September 30, 2018, The US Department of State advised the public of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters sent to Diversity Programme applicants. more..

4 day deadline to address SAITM: GMOA

May 5 (NR) The GMOA says the island wide strike launched against the SAITM is a success. Secretary of the GMOA Dr. Naveen De Soysa said if the govt fails to reach a final decision pertaining to SAITM in four days, the GMOA will decide to resort to more serious action. Secretary said Central Working Committee of GMOA will convene on the 9th of May pertaining to launching an indefinite strike to a greater extent in future. more..

On countering islamophobic hate campaign

May 6 (CT) There is now widespread concern, even a touch of alarm, among many Muslims over what they regard as a very successful Islamophobic hate campaign. The hate campaign of the BBS that was obviously foreign funded and foreign backed, and had the blatant blessings of powerful personages in the last Government, subsided with the change of Government. But, according to a well-informed contact, the campaign has been going on steadily in the social media. more..

Malinda Seneviratne’s trysts with the political

May 6 (CT) After months, years, and decades of engaging with and writing on the political, Malinda Seneviratne has decided to contest at the 2020 Presidential Elections. His is a candidature that merits scrutiny before endorsement, if at all because he has a history not many know and consequently deserves assessment. He is an egghead with both feet planted firmly on the ground, minus those pretentions to intellectual supremacy that continue to mark many others in his fields of study. more..

'Unity Govt robbed more in two years'

May 6 (CT) Chairman of the COPE and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti believes that the current Unity Govt, which has been in the echelons of power for merely two years, has fleeced more public funds than the Rajapaksa Presidency, which lasted for a decade from 2005-2015. He also said it was up to the voters of the country to decide whether to proceed with the same political backdrop, where it was a shift of power between UNP & SLFP, more..

The online battle: True vs False

May 6 (NS) There is information everywhere. We live in a world where information is at our fingertips, and all it takes is to press a few buttons on a mobile phone. The problem in today’s world is that there is too much information everywhere. But that is not the actual problem. The real problem is identifying what is true, and what is not. At a recently held discussion on World Press Freedom Day in Jakarta, a representative of Facebook had stated that fake news were in fact financially-motivated. more..

Modi is a welcome visitor

MAy 6 (NS) SL govt has made arrangements to hold the UN’s 14th International Vesak celebrations on May 12th, 13th and 14th. Indian PM Narendra Modi will be the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony to be held on May 12th at the BMICH which will be attended by several diplomats from Nepal. UN’s 13th International Vesak celebrations were held in Bankok in Thailand last year. Our Minister of Buddhasasana Wijedasa Rajapakshe proposed to hold the 14th celebrations in Sri Lanka. more..

Geetha screams conspiracy

May 6 (NS) Geetha Kumarasinghe spoke on what she considered was an affront to the people’s sovereignty, the factors at play in the said matter and what she planned to do in the event things didn’t turn out in her favour. There are Ministers with dual citizenship; I am not like the beggars who came into  politics and became rich. Section 14 of the Parliamentary Elections Act states that anyone qualified as per Article 90 of the Constitution more..

Editorial: The SAITM imbroglio

May 6 (Island) A strike launched by govt doctors, members of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union and some railway workers was on at the time of writing. They demanded that the SAITM be taken over by the govt, moves to scrap the non-contributory pension scheme abandoned and a national policy formulated for international trade pacts. Their real goal, however, is the nationalisation of the SAITM. The issue is now before courts and it is best left to the learned judges. more..

Self-inflicted and more

May 6 (SL) Independent of G.L. Peiris’ reference to the subject, and the Opposition-driven attaching to it, British court’s verdict on the self-inflicted torture by a Sri Lankan to obtain political asylum in that country needs to be probed for other leads of a personal and political nature. Taken to its logical conclusion and in an honest way by all stake-holders, it can impact on the on-again, off-again national and international discourses on Sri Lankan probe(s) into war-time deaths and disappearances. more..


Remembering March and April as bloodiest months in Jaffna Peninsula

May 6 (CT) The early eighties had witnessed Jaffna Peninsula gradually turning into a land of merciless killings with the emergence of several Tamil militant outfits with the slogan of liberation struggle for Eelam. Leaders of some of the Tamil militant outfits including Douglas Devananda, K. Pathmanabha and Suresh Premachandran from the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) had the opportunity of even getting trained with the Palestine militants in the Middle East. more..

Most momentous May Day in living memory

May 6 (Island) A couple of days back, we celebrated the most momentous May Day in living memory held in Sri Lanka. I watched the five hour long Joint Opposition rally live on the Internet without any significant break, switching channels when necessary; later I also looked at videos of the other three main rallies and listened to some of the speakers. Joint Opposition, the only coalition of forces unambiguously opposed to the present yahapalana regime, conducted more..

Monument to all things Kandyan

May 6 (ST) Ear droplets adorned with the most exquisite gems tell a tale of love, lust and tears. A gold-laced goblet once held captive between the royal lips may have stolen moments of meaningful glances exchanged over its rim. The palanquin of Molligoda Nilame waits patiently till the next destination is ordered by its aristocratic master. Swords of Kandyan metal flash with rebellious air and Keppetipola Disava’s flag still flies high. more..

RIL Property makes CSE trading debut

May 6 (Island) RIL Property Limited (RIL) rang the opening bell to commence trading and celebrate the listing of its shares on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) today. RIL is an owner, developer and manager of Grade ‘A’ commercial office space in select core markets in Colombo. Chairman Sunil Wijesinha, CEO Hiroshini Fernando and members of the Board of Directors and Senior Management of RIL Property Limited were present at the ceremony, which was also attended by more..

ICC raises Women’s World Cup prize money

May 6 (CI) The ICC has approved a tenfold increase in prize-money for the Women's World Cup this year, with $2 million up for grabs at the tournament, which begins in England next month. At the 2013 Women's World Cup, which was won by Australia, the total prize fund was $200,000. "The ICC Women's World Cup is the pinnacle of the women's game and as such the players should be rewarded appropriately," the ICC chief executive, David Richardson, said. more..

Are we working towards our game plan

May 6 (ST) Some may argue differently but, as far as strength and competition are concerned, the Champions Trophy stands next only to the ICC World Cup. It has that attraction and glamour of the complete package, and that is why it has survived so long with the real thing that comes once in every four years. Yes, competition-wise, the Champions Trophy is more compact with only eight teams in the fray. more..

Malinga under scrutiny at IPL

May 6 (NS) Concerns have been raised over the current showing of Lasith Malinga in the on-going IPL where his performances in six matches have been below expectations. Compared to his previous performances, Malinga has taken just six wickets from six matches as he went wicketless in two matches. Playing for the Mumbai Indians, Malinga has also conceded 13 sixes in the six matches he has played in while on two occasions his four overs brought him figures of 1 for 51 and 0 for 58. more..

Roofing sheet case against Basil Rajapaksa fixed for trial on new charges

May 6 (FT) Colombo High Court yesterday fixed the trial to hear on 8, 22 and 28 November and 12 December against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and two others on alleged financial misappropriation of Divi Naguma funds. The Attorney General had indicted Basil Rajapaksa and three others on charges of financial misappropriation of Rs. 33 million worth of funds belonging to the Divi Neguma Development Department during the presidential election period. more..

ADB Chief Economist wants Sri Lanka to be vigilant on policy challenges

May 6 (FT) While encouraging open trade and investment between regional countries, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department Chief Economist and Director General Dr. Yasuyuki Sawada cautioned Sri Lanka to be vigilant on monetary and fiscal policy challenges as well as commodity price risks to mitigate any vulnerabilities in the region. more..

SL’s debt overhang: Getting better or worse?

May 6 (NS) The Sri Lankan economy appears to be enmeshed in a growing debt overhang. The latest figures released in the Central Bank Annual Report 2016 indicate that total general govt external debt has grown by 10% in 2016 to US$ 27.2 billion. Even averaging out for 2015-2016, annual debt growth was 6.2% compared to 4.5% in the preceding two years. It is also not the case that the country is witnessing a lowering of the costs and risks of its external debt profile. more..

Raising standards in the SL Pepper Industry

May 6 (IPS) Black pepper (Piper nigrum L.), known as the King of Spices, is the most important and widely used spice in the world. Pepper production is confined to a few countries in Asia including Sri Lanka and the Pacific, Brazil and Madagascar. Currently, Sri Lanka ranks at 5th place in terms of area under pepper cultivation (after India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Brazil), and 7th place in terms of production, with a world share of 5.7% in production. SL is the 5th largest exporter of black pepper, more..

New ratings for electric items in the pipeline

May 6 (NS) Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy is scheduled to introduce a rating system for appliances and gazette the regulations pertaining to such soon. Further, the Ministry is planning to add 500 megawatts (MWs) from self-generation schemes of bulk services supplying customers. Owing to the current situation that has arisen due to the prevalent dry weather and drought, which has in turn affected more..

No links with GL’s party: SP Chief Minister

May 6 (DN) SLFPers do not wish to maintain any political connection with the party led by former Minister G.L. Peiris, Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva said. He said: "We are concerned over Sri Lanka Freedom Party members who joined the May Day rally organised by another group." He was addressing the media at Dakshina Paya, Southern Province Ministerial Complex yesterday. He said there is an ideological conflict in the party. more..

Sri Lankan priest transforms lives of thousands of people in 15-year journey

May 6 (ST) The economic empowerment of the poor  would be more meaningful if it is coupled with spirituality. A Catholic Priest is involved in dealing with this kind of economics – direct human development – and through 15 years of investing around Rs. 250 million. The project has seen success in reshaping the lives of around 1,000 youth providing education, employment and then settling them. Though there is  no mention of spirituality, one of the goals of the World Bank too more..

Rs. 1.5 b for reconciliation-focused economic empowerment project in north and east

May 6 (FT) Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, under the guidance of President Sirisena, has initiated an innovative program on reconciliation-focused economic empowerment with the aim of strengthening the economic and business linkages between the country’s north and south. A special budget allocation of Rs. 1,500 million has been provided on the recommendation of Cabinet Committee more..

Man burnt to death, wife arrested

May 6 (DN) A 67-year-old man was burnt to death in the Baddewewa West area in Suriyawewa on Thursday. The victim has been identified as Karunasena Wannigama who was paralysed from the waist down, unable to walk on his own. The man had used crutches as an aid to walk. He had separated from his wife two years ago and had been cohabiting with a woman who had also been married previously. He had been admitted to the Suriyawewa  hospital with burn injuries and more..

6,000 Police officers for Modi’s security

May 6 (DN) The Police has taken special security measures for Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka next week, IGP Pujith Jayasundara said. IGP said nearly 6,000 Police officers have been deployed for the Indian PM’s visit to Sri Lanka and other related events during the international Vesak festival. “This includes ordinary Police officers, Special Task Force (STF) and the officers who have specialized knowledge in VVIP security,” the IGP explained. more..

New anti-terrorism law: Consensus on contentious issues not included in draft: TNA

May 6 (Island) The TNA yesterday alleged that those who had been responsible for formulating controversial policy and legal framework relating to the proposed Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) conveniently ignored consensus reached on some crucial issues at the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security. The TNA said that contentious issues had been taken up at the committee following representations made by the party. more..

Ukrainian Captain’s FR petition fixed for argument on 1 August

May 6 (FT) Supreme Court fixed for argument on 1 August the fundamental rights petition filed by Ukrainian Captain of Avant Garde Ship challenging his alleged illegal arrest and prolonged detention.  The Bench comprised Justices B.P. Aluvihare, Sisira De Abrew and Anil Gooneratne. The SC on 17 March granted leave to proceed with his fundamental rights petition for the alleged infringement of his fundamental rights to equality, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.  more..

SL food: Where to eat it and how to make it

May 6 (Independent) With influences from southern India, north Africa, Malaysia, Portugal, Netherlands and England it’s a mixed bag of flavour, which remains a constant (if only small) reminder of its colonial past.  But you would be mistaken for thinking it cannot be defined as its own. It’s heavily influenced by its geography, sitting in the Indian Ocean between east and west meaning they are big on seafood. And the tropical climes also account for its plethora of coconuts. more..

GMOA sponsored strike: A miserable flop!

May 6 (CT) The GMOA- sponsored trade union strike yesterday, which the GMOA claimed would be supported by 30 Trade Unions and backed by the moral support of another 150 more Trade Unions aimed at crippling the national health, transport and education services sectors, ended up a damp squib. In sharp contrast to the malicious motives of the GMOA and other trade union organizations, health sector had over 80% attendance in hospitals more..

GMOA denies private practice allegations

May 6 (NS) The GMOA denied reports that its members, including its President, Dr. Anurudhdha Padeniya were engaged in private practicing on Friday (5) when it had launched a strike. It claimed that no one of their membership would engage in private practice on days when the membership was involved in trade union actions. The GMOA received flak after reports spread that patients had booked appointments with Dr. Padeniya via online portals of a private hospital. more..

UNP voices against positions for Fonseka

May 6 (CT) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has warned the UNP that if it decides to hand a top post to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, he would not hesitate to relinquish his ministerial portfolio. UNP ginger group has already intimated to the UNP Leader that when there were many seniors of the Party who should be elevated to top rungs of the party, any decision taken to confer more positions on Fonseka who is only a recent admission to UNP was both unethical and wrong. more..

Parliament Mafia misusing people's money: More super luxury vehicles for politicos

May 6 (CT) The govt submitted a supplementary estimate seeking the approval of the House for a sum of Rs 329 million to purchase eight more vehicles for various Ministries. Approval of the House has been sought for Rs 43,000,000 to purchase a vehicle for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rs 43,750,000 to purchase a vehicle for the State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Rs 43,000,000 to purchase a vehicle for more..

Ex-PSD director, army officers quizzed in probe into the removal of logbook pages

May 6 (DN) Attorney General informed Court that the CID conducting investigations into the murder of former rugger player Wasim Thajudeen, has recorded statements from former director of Presidential Security Division (PSD) and several other Army officers regarding an investigation into removing several pages of a logbook maintained by Army officials who were assigned for the security detail of former President’s family members during the time of Thajudeen’s murder took place. more..

Rs 4 B for Golden Key victims

May 6 (CT) A supplementary estimate was submitted by the govt seeking the approval of Parliament for a sum of Rs 4 billion to be utilized for payments of Golden Key depositors. Gayantha Karunathilaka, presented the Supplementary Estimate to the House. According to the estimate, Rs 4 billion would be used to make payments for those affected by the Golden Key scandal as well as the Global Marketing Campaign to boost exports, tourism, FDI and brand Sri Lanka. more..

Rs 1B remitted to Udayanga’s Account

May 6 (CT) The Rajapaksa regime had used Sri Lankan embassies abroad as safe houses for kidnappers, killers and thieves, Minister Mangala Samaraweera revealed in Parliament. He made this statement while moving an order under the Diplomatic Privileges Act. He said, enormous sums of money had also been used by the embassies for the luxuries of the Rajapaksa's during their visits to the respective countries. more..

Countering protests under good governance

May 6 (DM) President Sirisena’s reported suggestion at the Cabinet meeting last week that former army commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka be given the task of running the essential services uninterrupted cannot be a joke, as suggested by Labour Minister John Seneviratna. Given the backdrop of trade union actions by the GMOA and other anti-govt organizations one of which is being launched today as well and the protests such as those against the dumping more..