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Reshuffle [SwAP]: another colossal farce

May 30 (DM) Surviving on the coming LG and PC polls; holding on to leadership in the party seem to be foremost in the agenda of the two leaders of Maithri-Ranil unity govet especially after Galle Face May Day blues. So much is being manipulated by just a few for their own benefit. There doesn’t seem to be a direction or control. The Sirisena-Wickremasinghe regime is now over two years - the infancy has passed, they are into maturity - are they being directed and controlled by more..

Mind the trade gap to avoid a balance of payments crisis

May 30 (ST) The widening trade gap in the first few months of this year poses serious difficulties for the balance of payments. The trade gap that has been increasing in recent years has widened still further in the first two months of this year to US$ 1.73 billion and is expected to increase to nearly US$ 1.9 billion in the first quarter of this year. If this trend continues the trade deficit would exceed US$ 10 billion and create a serious dent in the balance of payments. Containing trade deficit to around US$ 8.5 b more..

Operation re-shuffle: Key objective was removing Ravi as finance minister

May 30 (DBS) The Oxford English dictionary defines the word compromise as being an agreement or settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions. Sri Lanka witnesed a political compromise of sorts between President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe when the SLFP and UNP leaders displayed a show of unity in bringing about a mini re-shuffle of portfolios among members of their cabinet. more..

A new form of anti-muslim terrorism in SL

May 30 (CT) The incidents at present appear geographically scattered. But things can get concentrated and escalated into larger proportions, if stern action is not taken soon to apprehend the instigators. This is important as addressing the flood emergency and the devastation caused by this natural disaster and the administrative neglect, with all heartfelt sympathy to all flood victims. The pattern of recent attacks against Mosques and Muslim-owned businesses shows those are not a more..

Editorial: Who grieves over Afghan civilians?

May 30 (Island) A savage terrorist attack marred the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan in Afghanistan the other day. More than 20 persons including children died when the Taliban carried out a suicide blast near a bus station. This incident went almost unnoticed by the international community, which is still mourning the victims of the Manchester concert blast. No world leader cared to condemn the incident or offer condolences to the families of the victims. Why? more..

Face The Nation

Black Friday for disaster victims; Rs 369m for MPs

May 30 (ST) To say it is ironic would be an understatement, that, on a day the country is faced with a huge natural disaster, Govt appeals for international assistance to deal with it, while presenting to Parliament a Supplementary Estimate for a hefty Rs 369 million, of which, a large component will be for vehicles for lawmakers and to renovate their official residences. And that is exactly what happened on Friday, when Parliament met for a few hours, adjourning early, so that, more..

A saffron tinge

May 30 (Island) I was down with a high-fever when I created Sri Lanka’s first online response against Islamophobia, back in April 2012. News reports of a violent mob in Dambulla, led by the then Mahanayaka of the Rangiri Dambulu chapter Inamaluwe Sumangala thero, proceeded to deface and destroy a mosque they deemed illegal. The basis of the illegality was highly questionable, but this didn’t stop the monks who were part of the mob engaging in a violence that beggared belief. more..

Can Sri Lanka defy low expectations?

May 30 (CI) High-intensity training camp has been attended, a foreign bowling coach hired, blessings have been sought, declarations of confidence made, and the press has been conferenced, but will any of that help SL leave an impact on Champions Trophy? Their reality is stark. SL's first game of the tournament is against SA, who whitewashed them 5-0 earlier in the year. Their second match is against India, more..

Virtusa delivers strong revenue and growth

May 30 (Island) Virtusa Corporation, a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that accelerates business outcomes for its clients, reported consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. Revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 was $226.0 million, an increase of 4.0% sequentially and 31.5% year-over-year. On a constant currency basis, fourth quarter revenue increased 4.1% sequentially and 34.7% year-over-year. more..

National athletes severely affected by floods

May 30 (CT) Extreme weather conditions prevailing in the country has affected many athletes, including National Champions, as most of their houses have been damaged and belongings, including sports equipment, washed away by the flood waters, especially in the Ratnapura area. National Marathon Champion, Manjula Kumarasinghe, middle distance champion Chinthaka Somawardana and SAG bronze medallist distance runner Anusha Lamahewa, are amongst those who have more..

‘Coup attempt another canard’

May 30 (Island) The AG’s Department has asserted that a file submitted to by the police in respect of the alleged Jan 8, 2015 coup attempt was insufficient to take legal action. UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila said that Parliament had been told on Friday of the AG’s assertion by Minister Sagala Ratnayake. Gammanpila pointed out that the CID had initiated a high profile inquiry into alleged coup attempt following former Foreign Minister more..

18 dead visiting disaster areas

May 30 (DN) Visiting affected sites unnecessarily has caused 18 unfortunate deaths, Minister Vajira Abeywardena said. He requested the public to refrain from visiting disaster stricken areas and keep away to avoid unfortunate situations like these deaths. “When I was visiting Baddegama area, I saw many people visiting disaster affected areas despite warnings issued. They had even accompanied their children and even play on the sand bags piled near certain dams warned of possible wreckage,” more..

Goondas Act slapped on pro-Eelam activists in Chennai, four held

May 30 (ENS) The Chennai police has invoked the draconian Goondas Act on a group of activists who recently took out a rally at Marina Beach to commemorate the civilian victims of the Eelam war. While such protests violating prohibitory orders are treated as a civil issue, city police commissioner A K Viswanathan on Monday issued orders to detain the four activists under the law that is meant to prevent habitual criminals from securing bail. G Thirumurugan Gandhi, who is more..

President in Rathnapura to review flood relief progress

May 30 (PSL) President Sirisena visited District Secretariat in Rathnapura today (29) to observe the relief programs carried out for the victims of the adverse weather condition. He looked into each section of the programs, carried out to help the victims. He directed the officials to do their maximum to in this regard. He directed the District Secretary to inform about any further allocations of grants. more..

Singapore govt donates $138,490 to support

May 30 (ST) The Singapore govt will make a US$ 100,000 (S$138,490) contribution to support disaster relief efforts in Sri Lanka following the loss of lives and destruction caused by heavy flooding and landslides across the country. The contribution was revealed in letters written by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan to their SL counterparts, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake, respectively. more..

US, UK & Japan to provide relief aid

May 30 (NR) Several countries have extended their support to provide relief to Sri Lanka in the wake of the adverse weather experienced in the island. Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Ambassadors and High Commissioners of US, UK and Japan called on Minister Ravi Karunanayake and extended their support to provide relief. Accordingly, Japan’s Ambassador Kenichi Suganuma said relief will be provided to several sectors. US Ambassador Atul Keshap meanwhile expressed his more..

Video: All schools in disaster affected districts closed

May 30 (DM) All schools in eight disaster affected districts would be closed for four consecutive days starting from today, Minister for Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam announced yesterday. The minister made the announcement at a press conference held at the Ministry for Disaster Management, that all schools in Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kegalle, Ratnapura and Hambantota districts would more..

Likely to be India, England, Australia and South Africa in the semis

May 30 (CI) The original concept for the Champions Trophy, apart from wanting to raise funds for the ICC, was to hold a prestigious 50-over tournament. The 2017 version has all the makings of exactly that with four really powerful teams and the other four capable of causing an upset. Hovering over the tournament is an edginess created by the recent tragedy in Manchester. This diabolical act will have an effect on both players and fans. English are renowned for their stoicism in times of more..

Central Bank prints money as predicted

May 30 (CT) Central Bank printed Rs 3.5 billion worth of new money yesterday, probably to help meet the Gov's monetary commitments led by the recent floods which have caused more than 170 deaths, data showed. As a result, GoSL's money printing (MP) costs over the previous day (26) increased by 1.66% to Rs 214,364.38 million, as data showed. MP is defined as the value of CBSL's direct holding of T-Bills coupled with the related borrowing costs to govt because of such. more..

Three foreigners assaulted in Haputale

May 30 (DM) Three tourists who were cycling in Haputale were hospitalised after they were assaulted by a group of people yesterday. Police said two British nationals and Nepal national were injured in the assault. Tourists had arrived in SL to take part in a mountain cycling tournament and had been staying at a hotel in Haputale. The foreigners had been on their way to Pitarathmale from the hotel when they were assaulted by more..

Cobots by Universal Robots to boost industrial productivity in Sri Lanka

May 30 (Island) Universal Robots, the pioneers in the manufacturing of advanced, user-friendly and light weight collaborative robotic arms, (headquartered in Odense, Denmark) perceives huge demand in the Sri Lankan market. After the successful launch of the Sri Lanka operations in 2016, the company deployed collaborative robots (popularly known as cobots), majorly in the market sectors of FMCG & Textiles in segments like apparel, rubber gloves, biscuits etc. more..

Govt urged to opt for e-procurement and save public funds

May 30 (Island) The govt should implement an e-procurement system that would save large amounts of money for the govt. Further, it could be used for the betterment of the public, Verité Research analyst Rehana Mohammed, said. "E-procurement will provide major efficiency gains for both govt agencies and suppliers. It can significantly ease the administrative burden on govt agencies in managing the tender process. For example, they can publish tenders, more..

‘Paying a very heavy price for want of contingency plan’

May 30 (Island) Civil society activist Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that SL’s pathetic response to the latest natural disaster highlighted again the absence of a tangible action plan in case of an emergency. Tennakoon said that precious lives had been lost for want of an efficient strategy. He said that successive govts had ignored the requirement for contingency plan, especially a large scale evacuation plan in case of an emergency. more..

Sri Lanka to provide easy credit, debt relief for flood hit businesses

May 30 (EN) Sri Lanka will provide debt relief for flood hit businesses and also start two credit schemes for them to get back into business, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. "Some kind of relief will be provided from state banks and also commercial banks," he told reporters. Over 160 persons have died mainly from landslides and more than 400,000 have been left homeless by floods in at least eight districts. Many businesses and vehicles have gone under water. more..

Chathura wants senior Ministers removed

May 30 (DM) MP Chathura Senaratne has requested President Sirisena to remove Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Rathnayake and the Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa from their portfolios. Because of these two Ministers the Govt, which came to power promising to punish those engaged in corruption and bribery, had failed to fulfill the people’s aspirations during the past two and half year period during which it was in office. more..

Many victims still cut off from help

May 30 (Island) A SL Air Force helicopter, which was carrying flood relief items, had to make an emergency landing at Baddegama yesterday morning due to a technical fault. SLAF’s MI17 helicopter had crashed into water while making the emergency landing. There had been ten air-force personnel on board and none of them were injured. However, SLAF had managed to distribute the relief materials more..

Ministry will ensure continuous fuel supply to flood-hit areas: Arjuna

May 30 (AD) Ministry of Petroleum has taken steps to appoint a special disaster management unit to supply fuel to flood-hit regions, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. The main responsibilities of the unit were to recognize and solve the problems affecting the distribution of fuel, and to integrate with all relevant institutions to ensure a continuous supply. He added that one must not hesitate in the face of an emergency situation, and that action must be taken immediately. more..

Flood survivors threatened by dengue, disease: aid workers

May 30 (TRF) Thousands of survivors of devastating floods and landslides in Sri Lanka are at risk of potentially fatal diseases such as dengue fever, charities warned as the death toll from the disaster continued to rise. Torrential rains over the last four days have sparked widespread flooding and triggered landslides in southwestern parts of the Indian Ocean island. At least 177 people have died and almost half a million others have had their lives disrupted. more..

Indian Navy teams deployed; death toll 177

May 30 (PTI) Indian Navy diving and medical teams have been deployed to assist SL Navy operations in the flood-hit southwestern region, as the death toll from the disaster today rose to 177 with 104 people still missing in the island nation's worst torrential rains in 14 years. Rescuers pulled out more bodies buried in the mudslides triggered by monsoon rains, taking the death toll to 177. The death toll is expected to rise further as more..

Free electricity for flood affected people

May 30 (DN) Minister Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said a circular is already in effect to provide electricity free of charge to the flood affected for a certain period. He said his ministry will provide electricity metres free of charge to the affected. A six months extension would be given to pay defaulted electricity bills for all the victims. “CEB will provide free service for the people in the affected areas, to check the condition of their domestic electricity circuits, Minister said. more..

Providing immediate relief; long term solutions also needed after study: Eran

May 30 (EN) SL's civilian authorities, military is providing immediate relief, and the community is also rallying to help victims of floods. However, after the crisis is over, long-term solutions have to be worked out, a minister who toured the disaster areas said. Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratne, who travelled to disaster struck areas with Minister Vajira Abeywardene, spoke to victims and backed officials to take decisions. Wickramaratne said there was a diffidence among govt officials more..

Sri Lanka deploys more troops as flood toll climbs to 180

May 30 (AFP) Thousands of SL troops battled Monday to get relief supplies to over half a million people displaced by the island's worst flooding for 14 years, which has killed at least 180 people. Military said a lull in torrential monsoon rains allowed it to deploy aircraft, boats and ground troops to evacuate people from flooded areas, deliver essentials and recover bodies. Just over 550,000 people have had to abandon their homes more..

Stemming the Tide

May 31 (GV) Iqram Siyadhu works at a store selling rexine carpeting in Wijerama. A fire broke out on May 22 under suspicious circumstances. “The police came and made an entry about the incident,” Iqram said. They were also investigating the possibility that the fire might have been caused by faulty wiring. However, the shop-owners are certain this cannot be true. “The fire happened late at night. However, before we left we turned the main switch off. Of that I am 100% certain,” Iqram said. more..

Is BBS an existential threat to the Dharma?

May 31 (CT) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is not a representation of the Dharma as preached by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. BBS consists of some erratic persons robed in saffron and backed by some unruly groups of laymen, mostly of youth. They pretend to be the sole saviors and guardians of the great Dharma that had been passed down from generation to generation. On the contrary, they are an existential threat to the serenity, purity and sublimity of teachings of Enlightened One. more..

'Time to move towards commercial diplomacy in a globalized world'

May 31 (SO) Threatening to expose the notorious creatures that have taken over the Central Bank, new Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake said he will look into enhancing commercial diplomacy to usher the country towards economic prosperity, moving away from the present Human Rights centric foreign policy of SL. “I don’t think the govt’s foreign policy needs a re-invention of the wheel. It needs to have rectification in certain areas where more..

Relief for the affected from JVP MP’s salary fund

May 31 (LT) JVP has decided to take measures to provide relief to the people affected due to the adverse weather from the salary fund of the JVP people’s representatives. Already, the Red Star Relief Service Brigade of the JVP is mediating in the task of bringing to normalcy the districts affected by the floods and earth-slips. The exercise has been launched to provide relief to victims from floods and earth-slips in Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Rathnapura districts. more..

Sri Lanka floods 2017: Sharing the blame

May 31 (GV) Once again SL is in the grip of a natural disaster. Thousands have been displaced and hundreds killed by the floods and landslides. Tragedy is that this time the rains were not necessarily unprecedented and the irony is that the Minister for Disaster Management was in Cancun at that time talking about the capacity of the govt to respond. Despite his very impressive speech it was clear that his own disaster management ministry was left wanting of the basic supplies. more..

'Perhaps Mossad manipulates BBS'

May 31 (CT) Buddhist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is being manipulated by a foreign power, UNF MP, Mujibur Rahman said. He said the Sri Lankan intelligence should investigate this extremist movement and ascertain who is funding and manipulating them to conduct hate crimes and violence. He reiterated that this movement represents less than one per cent of the peace-loving Sinhalese community. more..

Remembering Sivaram

May 31 (GV) His biographer speaks of the unimaginable cultural consequences of living continually under the gun. Although this comment was made about Tamil communities living in Sri Lanka more widely, it provides the basis for understanding Dharmaretnam Sivaram’s core beliefs about the role of intellectuals, or those with knowledge (and privilege) in public life. It is these beliefs that the writer pays homage to in the weeks after his 12th death anniversary, and more..