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A cabinet reshuffle

May 28 (ST) My dear Reshuffled Ministers, I thought I must write to you because I assumed that you must be as confused as I am about this reshuffle. It was a long time coming but when it finally saw the light of day, I daresay it was a damp squib, with you lot playing musical chairs and shifting around, like you did in kindergarten. Ravi, I feel for you. Only a few months ago you were hailed as the best Finance Minister in the Asia Pacific region-but you have been dumped now. more..


Floods, dengue and speculation of Presidential elections in 2019

May 28 (Island) After torrential rains on Thursday, once again a natural disaster began to dominate the news from the early hours of Friday. People in all parts of the country woke up that morning to a flurry of news alerts warning people to evacuate certain areas where floodwaters were rising due to overnight rains. The past two years have been a period of disasters all around with man made disasters vying with natural ones for public attention. The latest floods come in a situation where more..

For whom the bell tolls

May 28 (SO) In an eerie replay of events exactly one year ago, give or take a week, Sri Lanka is once again at the mercy of global warming, killing more than 100 and displacing thousands from their homes. Landslides and floods caused similar damage in mid-May 2016 and millions of rupees worth property were completely ruined in addition to the deaths and injuries suffered by our people. Then, as now, countries around the world, specially our neighbours, India and Pakistan, more..

Authenticity of Cabinet reshuffle questioned

May 28 (CT) If there is anything the incumbent Yahapalana Govt is good at doing, it is to make a mountain out of a molehill. This was proved when the much hyped Cabinet reshuffle was finally staged last Monday. Even though, all successive govts opted for Cabinet reshuffles from time to time to divert the remorse the public felt towards them, this was the first time the public, civil society and progressive forces in govt and more..

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone

May 28 (Island) Several high-profile sportsmen have been the subject of infamous sex scandals. When Imran Khan left Worcester and joined Sussex, Worcestershire committee alleged that Imran couldn’t find enough women to satisfy him in the small town of Worcester. Mike Gatting lost the England captaincy after The Sun alleged that he spent a night in his Nottingham hotel room with a barmaid. Five years ago, Police arrested four British women, who spent a night in Chris Gayle’s more..

Sangakkara makes it five tons in a row

May 28 (CI) In the opening 50-minutes, Surrey were 31 for 5. The rest of the day? 303 for 2. What happened, you ask? Kumar Sangakkara. Again. Sri Lankan, who just last week said he was giving up the game because, ultimately, he is worried success might go to his head, registered his 61st first-class hundred. If it hasn't now, when will it? This was a fifth hundred in a row, a third in eight days and, without doubt, one of his best for Surrey. He sleeps tonight on his highest score for the club. more..

Rice mafia controls prices

May 28 (CT) Last week govt decided to import 300,000 metric tons of rice saying there is a shortage in requirement until Sept. However, All Ceylon Farmers' Federation refuted govt claim saying that 200,000 metric tons of rice that is needed for local requirement for the current year is available in the country. An audit report on the available rice stocks in the country at the beginning of the year 2017, revealed that there was more..

US to send emergency assistance

May 28 (DM) US Ambassador in SL Atul Keshap has said the people of his country will send emergency assistance worth Rs. 15 million for immediate relief to those affected by the floods and landslides in SL. He said the relief assistance would be provided by USAID and Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Ambassador said: “Thoughts and prayers of U.S. Embassy team are with the loved ones of those who lost lives, and with all affected by floods & landslides in SL.” more..

Rajapaksa asks govt to redouble immediate relief efforts

May 28 (AD) Former President Rajapaksa urged govt to redouble efforts to provide immediate relief to flood victims and to pay compensation to victims speedily so that they can rebuild their lives quickly after the floods recede. Over the past few days, torrential rains, floods and landslides have left tens of thousands of people homeless and over a hundred dead with a similar number reported missing. He said that this is a natural disaster the likes of which has not seen in recent years. more..

Cricket: Sri Lanka hope for Malinga magic at Champions Trophy

May 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka have turned to old warhorse Lasith Malinga to put fight into their Champions Trophy campaign and reverse their decline in the one-day game. The islanders have missed Malinga -- one of the world's great fast bowlers -- through injury and their performances have suffered. Sri Lanka won a series against Zimbabwe and West Indies last year but were beaten in ODI contests on tours of England more..

Legacy of ministers

May 28 (ST) The compound outside was being vigorously swept as Kussi Amma Sera happily tested her new set of garden implements. Sound of the ekel broom swishing the leaves off the rain-swept ground was music to the ears. Gathering the leaves with a new rake, KAS said, Mahattaya, hari santhosai, aluth baduth eka wedakaranna, apey aluth amathi wagey. She was referring to the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle on Monday which literally was just that: Shuffling of two main positions more..

UN supports SL in flood relief efforts

May 28 (DM) The UN agencies including UNICEF, WHO and WFP are currently supporting Sri Lankan Govt’s relief efforts in coordination and mobilizing resources, the UN Sri Lanka said. The UN received an initial request from the Govt on Friday related to search and rescue efforts. Issuing a statement, it said the UNICEF will donate water containers, water purification tablets and tarpaulin sheets to Disaster Management Centre (DMC). WHO will be supporting Ministry of Health more..

Visa curb on religious scholars: Egypt, Turkey put pressure on Sri Lanka

May 28 (CT) Egypt and Turkey have mounted pressure on SL to have a re-think on strict curbs on visas for religious scholars, assuring that they will monitor these individuals during their stay in the country, official said. Officials with the embassies of both countries had met up with the local authorities recently after SL imposed strict curbs on visas for religious scholars, in a bid to prevent extremist elements from abusing such a facility. more..

Rs 150 million allocated for relief measures: Rajitha

May 28 (AD) President has instructed the officials to take immediate steps to provide compensation for the deaths and property damages caused by the adverse weather conditions resulting in floods and landslides. Minister Rajitha Senarathne said that the president has given these instructions at a special meeting held this morning in Kalutara. According to the Minister, it has been decided to prepare meals for the victimized people at one selected place with the intention of providing them with more..

Stock market under different regulatory regimes

May 28 (Island) The capital market of SL remained underdeveloped until 2009. The market was neglected during the years of the war against terrorism. This situation completely reversed afterwards. All Share Price Index (ASPI) rose from 1,400 points in 2009 to 7,800 by 2011. However, the regulators reacted to the sudden volatility of the market with suspicion. In turn, investors were deeply concerned of the ad hoc regulations introduced by the SEC instead of developing the market more..

Ministry admits it was not prepared for disaster

May 28 (ST) The Disaster Management Ministry exposed its unpreparedness to deal with a disaster situation, admitting it lacks stocks of basic items such as blankets, life jackets, umbrellas, torches or even boxes of matches to distribute in such situations. In response to this week’s flood havoc that crippled the nation, the Ministry was in shortage of basic humanitarian needs for an immediate response. more..

'Focus on flood victims’ medical needs first'

May 28 (SO) With rising water levels in several parts of the island submerging entry/ exit points to the highway motorists are advised to use alternative routes. According to the Chairman of the Road Development Authority, Nihal Suriyarachchi, entry exit points at 31 Km post in Panadura, Dodangoda, Welipenna, Biyagama, Kokmaduwa have been completely inundated. The water levels have reached the height of the highway only at Dodangoda 32/1 km post. more..

Pakistan’s Relief assistance for Sri Lanka

May 28 (PHC) The Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad Khan Sipra, in his message to the people and Govt of Sri Lanka has said that the the people and Govt of Pakistan are aggrieved over the floods and mudslides triggered by Moonsoon rains in Sri Lanka which caused death and destruction in many parts of Sri Lanka. Dr. Sipra said that people of Pakistan are standing shoulder to shoulder with the Sri Lankan people in these times of grief and suffering. more..

USAID slashes aid to Sri Lanka by 92%

May 28 (ST) Sri Lanka will receive only US$ 3.38 million for its programmes here from the USAID in the 2018 budget — a drop of 92% when compared with the 2016 account summary published in the latest Congressional Budget Justification (CBJ). The CBJ is the annual presentation to Congress that justifies the US foreign operations budget request. The latest one shows that the allocation for Sri Lanka for 2018 is only US$ 3.38 million. more..

Indian cops probe SL link to kidney racket

May 28 (Hindu) Investigations into the kidney racket busted by the Delhi Police on Thursday have revealed that the accused had links in Colombo. “The racket has spread to Sri Lanka. We will soon send a police team there to gather inputs,” said a senior police officer. Police teams, however, have been sent to Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad based on the information given by the four accused — Jayant Sahoo alias Rahul (32), Sulekha Panda (27), Anoj Patra (33) and Birju Paswan (45). more..

Mahela: Better to prepare by ticking the boxes rather than being found wanting

May 28 (TI) Mahela Jayawardene, a batting icon and head coach of the Mumbai Indians, spoke to The Telegraph at considerable length the other day. A former captain of SL, Jayawardene tasted success in his very first season as the distinguished head of the Mumbai Indians support staff. The franchise now has a record three IPL titles. Jayawardene, by the way, turned 40 on Saturday. Q: You've quickly moved from being a senior player to head coach of the Mumbai Indians... more..

Crooks robbing SL's wealth: Ravi’s move to get key institutions perturbs donors

May 28 (ST) Newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s demand to bring institutions such as Development Lotteries Board, National Lotteries Board, Mahapola Scholarship Fund, SriLankan Airlines, Hingurana Sugar and the SEC under his purview has come under fire by three donor agencies. WB, IMF & ADB are learnt to have raised the issue with govt saying this is something that hasn’t been seen else in the world, more..

Flexible working hours from July 1

May 28 (ST) Plans to introduce flexible working hours for Battaramulla division public servants will begin from July 1. Under the scheme, public sector employees in Battaramulla will be able to start work between 7.30 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. and finish between 3.00 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. after completing a shift of eight hours, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said. He said Cabinet approval had been given for this plan which was intended to ease traffic congestion more..

'Floods could exacerbate dengue crisis'

May 28 (RW) Communities devastated by the flooding and landslides that have so far killed 100 people in SL could have another battle on their hands after almost 53,000 dengue fever cases were recorded across the country since the start of the year. Save the Children is warning that the stagnant flood waters, providing the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, could exacerbate the dengue crisis that has seen an almost 150% increase in cases compared to the same period last year. more..

SL steps up monsoon relief as toll hits 122

May 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka stepped up its military-led relief operations Saturday as nearly half a million people were displaced after a monsoon deluge killed at least 122 people and threatened more flooding. Rainfall on Friday triggered the worst flooding and landslides in 14 years in the southern and western parts of the island and although the rain eased on Saturday, low-lying areas remained under water. more..

Met Department predicts more rain

May 28 (SO) Despite the rains receding, the Met Department states that more severe showers could be expected in the coming days, mostly on Monday and Tuesday. Explaining weather forecasts for the next few days, at the Temple Trees meeting yesterday, Anusha Warnasuriya, Deputy Director of the Meteorology Department stated that severe weather could be expected tomorrow and the day after due to a depression culminating in the Bay of Bengal. more..

President instructs for swift measures to assist victims of bad weather conditions

May 28 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the relevant authorities to provide immediate relief to the affected people by the prevailing unfavorable weather conditions across the country. President who is on a state visit to Australia, contacting Minister Vajira  Abeywardena and Secretary to the Prez P.B. Abeykoon via phone instructed to promptly implement programmes to provide relief measures to the affected people by this adverse weather conditions. more..

No fully fledged reshuffle, Govt faces more burdens

May 28 (ST) Exactly a week before last Monday’s Cabinet re-shuffle President Maithripala Sirisena told two UNP ministers rather assertively people must know I am the President of Sri Lanka. Even if he did not elaborate, message was loud and clear — he makes the decisions. Two ministers were emissaries of their party discussing matters related to reshuffle. That naturally included a choice of names and positions. more..

Weather gods are showing no mercy and a shuffling govt has no answers

May 28 (Island) May is Sri Lanka’s cruellest month insofar as flood disasters go. I looked over my past articles and practically every May I have been writing on the annual flood event and every year it has been getting worse. With alternating droughts and floods, weather disasters are no longer seasonal and are not limited geographically. The intensity and geographical reach of the current floods are quite unusual just as was the drought disaster that preceded it. more..

Speaker Anura Dias Bandaranaike’s historic ruling

May 28 (Island) A few days after Anura Dias Bandaranaike had assumed office as Speaker, I had a phone call from him asking me to work on his staff. I thanked him very much but declined. But he was persistent, calling me frequently over the next few days insisting that I work with him as he needed someone to advise him in his new role as Speaker. I had known Anura well from my time as a parliamentary official and was impressed by his very friendly and charming manner. more..

Five years on: Still no justice for Wasim

May 28 (SL) It is five years since the national rugby player and Captain of Havelock Sports Club Wasim Thajudeen’s life was snatched away by a killer squad alleged to be following a dispute with a son of a VVIP. Thajudeen’s charred body was found in his car near Shalika Hall, Narahenpita on May 17, 2012. Having had his education at S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Kollupitiya and at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, more..

Disaster Situation Report: May 27, 2017

May 28 (Roar) According to the latest situation report by the DMC (May 27, 9 p.m.), rains, floods, and landslides across 15 districts have affected 415,618 people, belonging to 105,956 families. So far, 122 deaths have been confirmed by DMC, along with 49 injuries, and 97 people reported missing. DMC also estimates that 187 houses have been destroyed, further 1,602 houses damaged, while 86,316 people from 20,670 families more..

Mangala: From five-star cuisine to Buth packet farewell at FO canteen

May 28 (ST) Hopping from one world capital to another when he was Foreign Minister of the ruling coalition, Mangala Samaraweera has savoured the sumptuous delicacies crafted by the world’s renowned Michelin chefs with multi stars and those in Cordon Bleu aprons. That is when he brushed shoulders with his then counterparts, world dignitaries and even Heads of State when he accompanied Prez Sirisena on foreign visits. more..

Ravi blames MR cohorts for removal: Will reveal two names soon

May 28 (SO) Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said cohorts of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime who continue to haunt the Central Bank, were behind his surprise removal from the Finance Ministry. He alleged that there was a sinister political coup led by active members of the former regime who still continue to hold leading positions within the Central Bank. “I will reveal the two names behind this operation in the days to come,” he said. more..

Some luxury condos in trouble: developers

May 28 (EN) Sri Lanka’s high-end luxury apartment developments may already be in trouble, according to at least two developers responding the CB’s concern over a property bubble that could potentially undermine the entire economy. The private Iconic Developments, an apartment builder,  said it was aware of at least two projects that failed to take off resulting in cautious lending to the sector while another more..

National plan mooted to combat cyber crime

May 28 (SO) Sri Lanka will not be spared from cyber attacks which will increase over the years if steps are not taken to enhance awareness and invest in education and precautionary measures to ensure security, cyber security experts said. Experts said Sri Lanka was spared from the Ransomware attack recently due to the Vesak holidays as a large number of computers were switched off during that week-end. more..

Wake up, JVP tells Govt., before country heads towards another bloodbath

May 28 (ST) Amidst a surge of attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned business establishments across the country, in the past few weeks, the JVP urged the govt to awaken from its slumber and arrest the spiralling number of racial and communal acts of violence. “The govt should have acted fast to nip this in the bud but what it is displaying instead is an impotent and ineffectual attitude to this dangerous situation which has more..

Sri Lanka imposes jail term for bottom trawling

May 28 (ST) A two-year jail term or a fine will be imposed on those found guilty of bottom trawling in Sri Lankan territorial waters, the govt has decided. For this purpose, an amendment to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act was gazetted this week. It seeks to prohibit fishing operations utilising trawl nets towed by motorised fishing boats and the sale, import or transport of such nets and the issuance of licences. more..

Floods cause havoc

May 28 (CT) SL seems to be caught up in a never-ending cycle of floods followed by droughts followed by more floods for the past couple of years. Neither situation is very favourable for the residents of this island nation. Although the rains were, at first, a blessing after what was considered the worst drought in over four decades; it wasn't long, before that blessing turned into a curse. As of yesterday, a hundred people were killed more..