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Editorial: Disaster tourists, a nuisance

May 31 (Island) Floods and landslides have left 193 persons dead and about 112 injured. More than 600,000 have been displaced. The situation will take a turn for the worse if rains continue with floods having weakened some river banks. Thankfully, there has been a tremendous international response to Sri Lanka’s desperate appeal for disaster assistance. Making such heart-rending appeals to the international community is about the only thing the govt is adept at. more..

Mahinda Amaraweera

Fugitive Gnanasara Thero: Protected by a VIP?

May 31 (CT) A dear friend of mine said “A VIP (Very Idiotic Person) is suspected of protecting this violent fugitive monk Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero from the long arm of the law.” He has caused over 25 incidents of hate, intimidation and violence against Muslims during the last month alone. He has blasphemed Allah, the holy Prophet and Islam in the crudest possible manner that no Muslim can forgive. I suspect that the so-called VIP is from our hallowed Parliament, more..

How to hold out: lessons from a labyrinth

May 31 (Island) HOLDING OUT: Memoirs of a Political Prisoner in SL 1986-1988 is, at its simplest, the story of a woman political prisoner from the South of SL. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT 1987 said of her arrest: "By the end of 1986 over 400 Sinhalese were estimated to be detained under the PTA and Emergency Regulations, among them Pulsara Liyanage, a lecturer at Kelaniya University arrested on 1st Nov." The events described here took place before the writer had turned 30. more..

New Zealand make short work of SL's 356

May 31 (CI) New Zealand, led by Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, overhauled SL's target of 357 with ease to complete a six-wicket victory in both teams' final warm-up game at Edgbaston. Guptill smashed 10 fours and five sixes in his 76-ball knock of 116 while Williamson followed that up with a 60-ball 88. Both batsmen subsequently decided to retire out - Guptill in 29th and Williamson in the 32nd - but by then NZ were 101 runs away more..

Wedisinghe bids adios to nation on Thursday

May 31 (DN) One of SL’s finest racing riders, Ananda Wedisinghe’s demise came as a shock to the local motor sports fraternity and is considered as an irreparable loss for motor sports. Wedisinghe who had an illustrious racing career died on May 29 at the age of 47 following a tragic crash at the Group SM 450cc class event of 2017 Nuwara Eliya Road Races. The riding ace was on life support for nearly a month at the Kandy General Hospital ICU before he breathed his last on Monday. more..

Britain mourns while Sri Lanka groans

May 31 (ST) It was a week of tragedy and farce. Here in UK death came suddenly and unexpectedly one night last week. Country went into mourning as the single biggest suicide bomb attack in UK brought home a reality. Home grown terrorism is as alive here as transnational terrorism which has taken root in continental Europe. For Sri Lankans who have lived through nearly three decades of terrorism, blood-letting and gory violence and mayhem, it seemed like déjà vu many times over. more..

Palitha elected president of Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL)

May 31 (CT) Former President Maj. Gen Palitha Fernando scored a convincing win over Sugath Thilakarathne 79-32 to win the election for the presidency of the Athletics Association (AASL), while Prema Pinnewala was uncontested as Secretary, at the AGM 2017. Fernando, who had held the President's post for many years prior to this election, sealed it for another term, this time for four years. more..

No more voting rights for School Associations

May 31 (CT) Following a request by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Sports decided to discard the voting rights of the Schools Associations at the elections of National Sports Bodies from 2017, but instead offer them a seat in the Executive Committee and give one of their representatives to be appointed as a Vice President. During the Athletics Association's elections yesterday the Schools Athletics Association was asked to leave the premises when more..

Sanga falls short of record-equalling century

May 31 (Island) Kumar Sangakkara just missed out on a record-equalling feat when he failed to get to three figures for Surrey against Essex at Chelmsford on Monday. SL star was bidding to become just the fourth player in the history of cricket to score hundreds in six successive first-class innings. But he was dismissed for 84 when he chipped the ball back to occasional spinner Tom Westley in a First Division County Championship match. That meant there was no place in the record books more..

Mangala maps way forward

May 31 (FT) Newly appointed Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday sought a conciliatory and supportive relationship with the private sector pledging to work on their behalf and negotiate trade agreements with focus on SL interests.  Attending his first official event as Finance Minister, Samaraweera delivered the keynote at the inauguration of the  SL Investment & Business Conclave 2017, more..

Israel provides emergency supplies to SL

May 31 (FT) In the wake of the recent floods and landslides which have affected hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans, Govt of Israel is providing SL authorities with immediate disaster relief supplies. Just as they did after the floods of 2016, Israeli people showed their solidarity with the people of SL in words and deeds. From as early as 1958, when the young, emerging State of Israel sent supplies during Ceylon Floods, Israel has continuously demonstrated its longstanding more..

Jaffna a strategid city

May 31 (NS) The District of Jaffna is to be developed as a strategic city as part of a project funded by the World Bank, sources revealed. The move comes in the wake of initiatives to develop the region and its infrastructure. Accordingly, the Govt has conducted several consultations stakeholders in the region, including the TNA in this regard. Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, Champika Ranawaka too visited the area recently as part of the initial steps. more..

Samarasinghe to lead Hambantota Port PPP negotiations 

May 31 (FT) Newly-appointed Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said negotiations for a Public Private Partnership to salvage the debt-ridden Hambantota Port will resume this week under his leadership. “I will take control of negotiations. It’s under my subject, I will not allow anyone else to discuss the deal,” he said. According to the Minister, progress on the negotiations stalled as more..

‘Free supplies for students affected by weather’

May 31 (NR) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says students who lost uniforms, text books and other school necessities in the disaster situation will be provided with all requirements. He said examination certifications will also be provided to individuals who lost belongings in landslides and floods. He said the Department of Examinations will provide all exam certificates to those who lost their certificates in the floods, free of charge. Department has stocks of official school uniform material. more..

PC Saliya defends celebrations while country was in crisis

May 31 (CT) Defending the wining and dining at Colombo’s five-star hotels by newly appointed President’s Counsels (PCs) on the night of Friday 26th even as Sri Lanka struck by unprecedented death and destruction following massive floods that was the worst in a decade, lawyer and member of the Human Rights Commission of SL Saliya Pieris said that the CT story on the PC celebrations was utter nonsense. Engaging in a Facebook conversation when more..

JO tongue-tied on MPs’ special monthly allowance query

May 31 (Island) Top JO spokesman MP Bandula Gunawardena struggled to explain why the JO couldn’t urge the yahapalana govt to suspend Rs 100,000 special monthly payment made available to MPs. The JO grouping loyal to former President Rajapaksa consisted of about 50 members. MP Gunawardena said that he had foregone many perks and reprieves available to MPs. Gunawardena was addressing the media at Punchi Borella. more..

Four suspects escape from Negombo prison

May 31 (Island) Four suspects, held on remand, escaped in the early hours of yesterday by boring a hole in one of the walls of the Negombo Prison. Three of the suspects had been remanded on charges of robbery and the other was a 19-years-old murder suspect. The escapees had drilled the wall in na area close to the visitors area of the young offenders ward, where they were held, sources said. After making the opening they had covered it with a bucket of garbage and more..

First India-SL joint research symposium

May 31 (HCI) The inauguration of the first India-SL Joint Research Symposium was held in Colombo on 29 May. Symposium was inaugurated by Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Science, Technology & Research and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India. Senior officials from Department of Science and Technology of India; Ministry of Science, Technology & Research of Govt of SL; scientists and experts; project collaborators from both India and SL were also present.  more..

President stalls luxury vehicle binge

May 31 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says the Govt has decided to stop the importation of vehicles for all govt institutions including the Ministries this year. He instructed the officials to rapidly implement the programme to construct the houses destroyed due to the flooding and landslides. He made these remarks participating in a special discussion with the National Council for Disaster Management held at Presidential Secretariat. more..

SriLankan expands network to Myanmar

May 31 (Island) SriLankan Airlines will expand its network to Yangon, capital of Myanmar, from June 1, 2017, with the commencement of a codeshare partnership with Myanmar Airways International (MAI), one of Myanmar’s best-known airlines. SriLankan will codeshare on flights operated by MAI between Bangkok and Yangon; and also Singapore and Yangon; while MAI will codeshare on flights operated by SriLankan between Colombo and Bangkok, and Colombo and Singapore. more..

Pakistan ship brings helicopters, divers relief supplies to Sri Lanka

May 31 (PHC) In a bid to help its Sri Lankan brethren, the Naval Ship PNS ZULFIQUAR dispatched by Govt of Pakistan has arrived with relief goods at Colombo Port, today. Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Sarfraz Sipra handed over the relief goods to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Ravi Karunanayake at the Colombo Port. Foreign Minister expressed his gratitude to the people and Govt of Pakistan for providing timely and valued assistance. more..

As disaster hits again, early warning text messages fly in Sri Lanka

May 31 (TRF) Last Friday, mobile phone users in Sri Lanka's Western Province received an ominous text message: Waters were rising, particularly along the province's Kelani River. The message was one of about 15 that day issued by the country's Disaster Management Centre as incessant rains pounded large parts of the country's Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces. The warning prompted many people to leave more..

Red Cross Society of China offers donations to Sri Lanka flood victims

May 31 (Xinhua) The Red Cross Society of China on Tuesday donated 100,000 U.S. dollars to the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) to support Sri Lanka's relief and rebuilding efforts in the current disaster of flooding and landslides. A statement by the Chinese embassy in Colombo said that Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang, on behalf of the Red Cross Society of China, handed over the donation to Nimal Kumar, national secretary of SLRCS. more..

Third Indian Ship arrives in Sri Lanka to assist in flood relief efforts

May 31 (HCI) A third Indian Naval Ship, INS Jalashwa, arrived at Colombo Port on 30 May from Vishakapatnam, as part of India's ongoing assistance for flood relief in SL. This is the largest of the three Indian ships sent to SL. It has specialized equipment, including landing platform/dock, disembarkation crafts, helicopters, and a fully equipped medical hospital with operation theaters and laboratories. With around 400 personnel on board, the ship has on board multiple rescue more..

At least 193 persons killed; 94 missing

May 31 (Island) The death toll rose further yesterday after recovery crews began reaching remote corners cut off during the last several days when heavy rains followed by landslides and deadly floods overwhelmed many areas of the country’s southwest in the worst disaster in more than a decade. At least 193 people had died in seven districts while 94 people were still missing, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. more..

Special health units to treat flood victims

May 31 (DN) Health Ministry has established a special coordinating unit headed by Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage to provide prompt medical and health services for the flood victims. Dr. Sarath Amnugama has been appointed to coordinate Matara district while Dr. Lakshmi Somathunga has been appointed for Galle district. Dr. Sunil De Alwis has been appointed for Ratnapura district. Dr. Amal Harsha De Silva has been appointed for Kalutara district. more..

PM off to US for medical treatment: Minister

May 31 (LBO) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has left the country for medical treatment in the US, Minister Rajitha Senarathne revealed. He said that PM had postponed this medical examination over the past 18 months. “Actually, the PM went for medical examinations which he had been postponing for the past 18 months,” Senarathne said. “But he is continuously in touch with the disaster situation. There is a briefing every six hours and he gives necessary instructions.” more..

Govt steps up relief for monsoon victims

May 31 (FT) As the death toll from last week’s disaster neared 200, the Govt yesterday stepped up its relief and assistance commitments to affected communities. With the country slowly recovering from the calamity, foreign assistance poured in from countries responding to the Govt’s appeal, with the third shipment of relief items sent by India arriving yesterday along with shipments of relief supplies from Pakistan and Israel.  more..