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Treasury releases sufficient funds for flood victims

May 23 (FT) Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S Samaratunga confirmed that the Treasury had released sufficient funds to the Disaster Management Ministry to provide immediate relief to the flood victims. He said all Divisional Secretariats had been provided with Rs. 1 million at present to provide necessary relief to the flood victims. “Minister Mangala Samaraweera has given instructions to provide sufficient funds for the districts affected by the floods,” he said. more..

Stormy weather: Death toll rises to nine

May 23 (Island) The death toll from stormy weather rose to nine by yesterday afternoon while eight other persons were injured. More than 68,343 people from 18,079 families in 19 districts have been affected and 6,090 people (1,625 families) removed to 80 safe locations, according to Disaster Management Centre (DMC). The DMC said 918 houses had been damaged and 19 others destroyed. The highest number of affected people was reported from Ratnapura District; it was 13,033. more..

Heavy rains to continue

May 23 (CT) Govt, through the RDA, allocated Rs 5 million for each Province, currently affected by the floods, for the purpose of repairing damaged roads. Ministry of Finance has requested the Treasury to immediately make available funds to assist the affected. Minister Mangala Samaraweera advised Treasury officials to immediately release funds in order to provide relief to the people affected by recent disaster situation. more..

The two-lane New York of Sri Lanka

May 23 (DM) What the skyline of Buthgamuwa road offers to viewers these days is only second to Colombo 1 in terms of the number of high rising buildings. This otherwise laid back largely neglected neighbourhood of Kotte no doubt is fast becoming the New York of Sri Lanka with the mushrooming of apartment complexes along the meandering Diyawanna lake. Govt decision to release Buthgamuwa land to real estate companies has seen an unlimited number of construction more..

Gotabhaya's breakthrough

May 23 (DM) When a future historian writes the political history of the most obtuse and inept govt in postcolonial Sri Lanka, he or she will doubtless identify its most myopic move as the Constitutional prevention of Mahinda Rajapaksa running for President again, thereby opening the door for the fulfilment of the worst fear of the neoliberal cosmopolitan democrats, namely a Gotabhaya candidacy. A pivotal moment will be identified as May 18, 2018, when TV audiences watched more..

Sri Lanka Then and Now!!

May 23 (DM) We wonder if even God can help our country now!! Our island home was a beautiful paradise and its inhabitants were good God-fearing people!! That was in the time of the benevolent respected leaders, who truly loved this country and its people. They fought long and hard to gain independence and they maintained the TRUE SPIRIT OF THAT INDEPENDENCE they fought so hard to gain!! When did our beautiful island more..

7 invasive alien plants found in SL

May 23 (Roar) Sri Lanka is considered one of 35 biodiversity hotspots in the world due to the wealth of flora and fauna found on the island. According to the National Red List on the Conservation Status of the Fauna and Flora in SL, there are about 3,150 species of flowering plants on the island, a large number of them endemic. Despite this, there are several invasive alien species of plants spreading rapidly across the island. more..

CBSL responds to ex-Governor

May 23 (Island) Apropos our front-page news item headlined Cabraal: What has happened to USD 8 bn yesterday, the Economic Research Department of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has sent us the following statement: "A misleading news item has been disseminated in relation to SL’s foreign reserves and external debt servicing. "The contents of the news item portray a misleading picture of the country’s external position. more..

Sugar puts Tea industry in a dilemma

May 23 (DM) It was last February that the story of 53 tea factories, which allegedly adulterate tea with sugar during production, was revealed. The raids on these tea factories had been carried out by the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB). Minister Navin Dissanayake said that any culprits found guilty would be punished severely. This was revealed through Sathya Gaveshana (Exploration into the truth) an expos article which more..

500-600 influenza patients in the South

May 23 (CT) The Ministry of Health said that there were approximately 500 to 600 suspected influenza patients currently being treated in Southern hospitals. Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe addressing the media at the Govt Information Department, however, said that there had been only seven deaths, contrary to media reports. A majority of the victims were children below the age of two years. more..

Malik ready to meet TUs

May 23 (CT) Minister Malik Samarawickrama said that the new regulations, which specify the procedure of employing foreign nationals, would be submitted for Cabinet approval within next two weeks. He revealed this while moving two Orders under the Strategic Development Projects Act. Elaborating further, Samarawickrama said that there are several new Regulations that have been proposed more..

PAYE Taxes: Laws soon to make workers directly liable

May 23 (CT) The Finance Ministry plans to introduce amendments to the existing laws to prevent State-sector institutions from paying the income taxes of their employees from the funds of the institution. Officials said that they have found that the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Taxes, of eligible employees, were being paid by the institution, thereby burdening the institution and passing on the financial burden to the public, which buys more..

Allegations of tender fixing mar Central Bank’s CCTV move

May 23 (ST) A tender for the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of an internet protocol (IP) closed-circuit television (CCTV) system for the Central Bank of SL is being challenged on the grounds that the bid consultant has designed the prequalification criteria to tilt the contract in favour of a pre-selected entity. In a letter to the CBSL’s Director Facilities Management Department, Akro (Pvt) Ltd–which has more..

'US$ 450 million savings if new refinery is constructed'

May 23 (CT) The country is in dire need of a new fuel refinery to minimize losses of imported refined fuel. A new refinery could save the country a thumping USD 400 - 450 million on an annual basis, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. “We would require an investment of USD 2.5 to 3 billion if we are to construct a new refinery. The Govt is unable to fund this amount and currently we are looking for investors. We could easily recover more..

1000 more Army personnel ready for any emergencies

May 23 (SLA) Around 300 members of the Army, together with fellow-sailors and airmen are currently engaged in flood relief emergencies in worst-affected Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Ratnapura and Puttalam Districts as of Tuesday noon. About 25 boats of the Army have already been sent to most affected locations in Hiniduma, Palindanuwara, Kamburupitiya, Ratnapura and Puttalam where some of the public roads remain inundated more..

Close stable doors before horses flee!

May 23 (CT) The recent spread of a viral flu among preschool and school children, predominantly in the southern parts of the country, has taken the nation by storm when the country is quite literally being hit by the likes of a storm in the form of the South West Monsoon. This outbreak is defined by the relevant authorities as a seasonal influenza virus infection and is not exclusively within the southern parts, but also reported from all over the country. However, given that the number of casualties reported more..

Maldivian arrested with Heroin worth 24mn

May 23 (NR) A Maldivian national has been arrested at the Katunayake International Airport, in an attempt to leave the island in possession of 2.39 kgs of Heroin valued at over 24.4 million rupees. The arrest was carried out by the Police Narcotics Bureau. Initial investigations have revealed the suspect has visited the island 16 times since the year 2016. The suspect who was attempting to return to the Maldives was arrested concealing the stock of Heroin in his luggage. more..

ජනතාවට පටවන බදු බර

Startup boot camps inspire young entrepreneurs in Jaffna

May 23 (FT) Sri Lanka’s supply of entrepreneurs is relatively short, and it’s only hindering the economic growth of the country. Only 2.8% of the Sri Lankan population are business owners (as compared with 10-20% in comparable countries around the world). Congruently, 45% of the population earns less than $5 a day according to the World Bank, showing a need for further economic development, including through developing startup companies that will provide employment and innovation, more..

New regulations on employing foreign nationals soon

May 23 (DN) New regulations stipulating procedures to be followed when employing foreign nationals will be submitted for Cabinet approval within two weeks, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. He made this observation speaking on the FTA with Singapore, while moving two orders under the Strategic Development Act for debate in Parliament yesterday. He said new Regulations proposed under the Immigration and Emigration Act will address the professionals’ & other stakeholders’ concerns more..

British rugger players death: Police question trishaw drivers

May 23 (DM) Fort Police questioned several trishaw drivers in connection with the deaths of two British rugger players, after a visit to a nightclub in Colombo. Police are hoping to identify and arrest the trishaw driver, who is believed to have given brown sugar narcotics to the ruggerites, while they were on their way to the night club in Kollupitiya. British rugby player Thomas Howard (26) and 27-year-old Thomas Baty passed away while more..

Avant Garde FR petition hearing on 8th June

May 23 (NR) The Fundamental Rights petition filed by the Chairman of Avant Garde Nissanka Senadhipathi before the Supreme Court calling for an order to be issued for the prevention of his arrest will be taken up once again on the 8th of June. The three member Supreme Court bench accordingly called for respondents to file preliminary objections against the petition on the said date. An investigation into the floating armoury at the Galle Port is being conducted by the CID. more..

SLFP defectors to meet MR this evening

May 23 (NR) The group of 16 SLFP parliamentarians, who recently defected from the govt, are due to meet former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at 5 this evening. The group will meet the former President at his official residence in Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo. Speaking to NewsRadio with regard to the discussion, MP Chandima Weerakkody said the group intends to seek the former Presidents advice pertaining to both the SLFP and the country's future political activities. more..

Video: An ex-President shouldn’t debate with a Minister: JO

May 23 (DM) JO MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage today said they won’t allow former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to go for a debate with Minister Mangala Samaraweera, but other JO MPs were ready to debate with the Minister. Addressing a news briefing, the MP said Mr Rajapaksa was a respected country leader and therefore, he shouldn't be allowed to go for debates with Ministers. more..

Primary sections of schools in several education zones closed until Monday

May 23 (AD) Primary schools and primary sections (Grades 1 to 5) of all other schools in Deniyaya, Udugama, Matara, Mulatiyana, Akuressa, Tangalle, Walasmulla and Galle Education Zones will be closed until May 28 to prevent the spread of a viral flu. Therefore they will reopen for studies on May 30 as May 29 is a Poya holiday. On Monday (21), Provincial Education Minister Chandima Rasaputhra announced that Grades 1 to 5 of all schools in the Matara, Mulatiyana, Akuressa, Tangalle, more..

Video: Kaduwela-Biyagama Bridge restricted for traffic

May 23 (DM) The vehicular movements along the Kaduwela-Biyagama main bridge were restricted due to a high risk situation, Road Development Authority (RDA) today said. RDA Project Engineer said the vehicular movements were restricted because of the soil erosion along the Kelani River Bank connecting to the bridge. “However, one lane is open for vehicular movements,” he said. Meanwhile, the Police requested motorists to use alternative routes to avoid traffic. more..

President to appoint committee to review S'pore FTA: GMOA

May 23 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena had agreed to appoint an economic committee headed by Chief Economist Prof. Lalith Samarakoon to look into the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) inked with Singapore, GMOA said. GMOA Spokesman Dr Samantha Ananda said that President Sirisena had guaranteed to appoint said committee during a discussion held on Tuesday with the GMOA-membership over the FTA with Singapore. more..

Sri Lanka to build 40,000 concrete prefab houses for war refugees

May 23 (EN) Cabinet had approved proposal to build 40,000 prefabricated houses for war refugees in the N&E using concrete panels. Houses will be 650 square feet each. Govt had earlier proposed to build steel prefabricated houses, which was opposed by civic groups in the area who said such houses were unsuitable for the climate. Minister D M Swaminathan had instead proposed the building of 40,000 houses under a plan to build 65,000 houses using concrete panels. more..

Sri Lanka without SEC chief while awaiting presidential nod

May 23 (EN) Securities and Exchange Commission is currently operating without a chairman while approval is awaited from the Presidential secretariat, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Ranel Wijesinghe, an accountant, has been nominated by Samaraweera to chair the SEC. "Usually we refer our appointments to the Presidential secretariat," Samaraweera said. "It is just a procedural delay, that is all." There has been speculation that officials at the Prez Secretariat had been blocking more..

Compensation announced for victims and flood-affected homes

May 23 (AD) State Minister Palitha Range Bandara says that a compensation of Rs 1 million each will be offered for those who have died while engaged in occupations during the current disaster situation. Meanwhile a sum of Rs 10,000 is planned to be provided for each house affected by the floods for cleaning activities. He stated this during a discussion held today regarding disaster management and post-disaster management more..

Comfortable attire allowed for expectant teachers from tomorrow

May 23 (AD) Education Ministry has decided to provide opportunity for expectant teachers to attend the school in an appropriate dress. The decision has been taken as per a concept of Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam under the theme For the respectful mission of teachers. Doctors have informed the Education Minister about the necessity of providing convenient clothes for pregnant teachers. Hence the minister had issued directives to relevant authorities to accelerate more..

National policy lacking for FTAs: Dayasiri

May 23 (NR) UPFA MP Dayasiri Jayasekera says the absence of a national policy for SL when signing international trade agreements is a serious concern. He made this statement in Parliament when the regulation under the Strategic Development Projects Act was taken up for debate. He said the main issue faced when signing trade agreements is the lack of proper framework adding throughout the country's history a national policy pertaining to signing trade agreements was never laid down. more..

Common candidate in the making

May 23 (DM) A certain civil society group is said to be looking for a suitable person to be fielded as the common candidate at the big poll due in less than two years. A foreign diplomat too is behind this group. However, the Green bucks have not taken to this idea though they have already ruled out their leader as a candidate. Meanwhile, most party seniors too have come around to the view that their second in command is the ideal choice. more..

Rs 60 mn paid to migrant workers as insurance compensation

May 23 (AD) During the first four months of this year, a total payment of Rs 60 million has been granted as compensation, under the insurance compensation scheme for migrant workers, says Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE). Rs 34.41 million have been claimed for deaths of migrant workers due to accidents and illnesses. This compensation is valid for workers who passed away while employed abroad or passed away within 3 months of return to SL due to an illness. more..

Turkey to provide food aid to 5,000 Sri Lanka Muslims

May 23 (AA) The Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) will distribute 5,000 food packages for iftar, a fast breaking meal, in Sri Lanka for three days, the foundation’s deputy chief said on Wednesday. In the first day of the aid campaign, TDV, the charity body of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, organized distribution events in Kinniya, Kiran, Vellenkulam, Naduoothu, Muttur and Topur regions of Kaluppu province. Speaking at the event in Kinniya, Abdurrahman Cetin, more..

Australian, UN to help Sri Lanka prepare to face natural disasters

May 23 (SL) The Australian Govt, WFP and UNICEF have signed a 3-year partnership (2018-2020) with a funding of AUD750,000 (around Rs. 89 million), to ensure stronger preparedness and faster, more integrated responses to natural disaster emergencies in SL. UNICEF said that 96 per cent of disasters in SL are caused by climate, such as flooding, landslides, extreme winds and drought. SL was ranked the fourth most climate change more..

U.S. and SL govts discuss disaster preparedness ahead of monsoons

May 23 (USE) U.S. Ambassador to SL Atul Keshap, USAID Sri Lanka Mission Director Reed Aeschliman, and Dr. Michael Ernst from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) met with Minister Duminda Dissanayake to discuss Sri Lanka’s preparedness ahead of the monsoon season. Topics also included past and ongoing U.S. financial and technical assistance for disaster preparedness, management, and recovery. “I am proud that in 2017 USAID/OFDA provided more..

Fulfill promises instead of having debates: Namal to Mangala

May 23 (DM) JO MP Namal Rajapaksa urged Minister Mangala Samaraweera to focus on fulfilling promises he had made to the people before inviting former Prez Rajapaksa for a political debate. MP in a tweet said “With respect, how can you be focusing on political debates in the midst of devastating floods the people in SL are facing? For the past three years, you have been so focused on criticizing Mahinda Rajapaksa that you have forgotten to fulfill promises made to the people,” more..

Video: 10 dead, nearly 85,000 affected by severe weather

May 23 (AD) Disaster Management Center (DMC) says that nearly 85,000 people in 14 districts have been affected due to the heavy monsoon rain and strong winds across Sri Lanka. Meanwhile the death toll due to the severe weather condition has also risen to 10, DMC said in its latest update. A total of 84,943persons belonging to 18,542 families are affected by the prevailing disaster situation in the country. more..

Parks that hardly see children play…

May 24 (CT) As I passed a children’s park the other day, memories of how I spent my childhood with my ever annoying brother flashed before my eyes. It was fun, especially during school holidays. The nostalgic feeling was powerful enough to arouse an apple sized lump in my throat, and I figured it was that time of the year, vacations that contributed more to the feeling than the actual scene. However, together with our cousins, we would raid the park down our road every evening and more..