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Govt to promote big onion cultivation

May 28 (CT) Govt will engage in a massive drive to promote the cultivation of big onions in the Dambulla District with immediate effect. “The reason for this promotion is due to the dwindling production by the farmers who have been apparently discouraged from such cultivation for various reasons, State Minister Wasantha Aluwihare said. Aluwihare, who represents the Matale District in Parliament said that there were 7,000 hectares that were cultivated with Bombay Onions in Matale District in 2014, more..

Former Minister T. B. Ekanayake arrives at FCID for questioning

May 28 (AD) Former Minister T.B. Ekanayake has arrived at the FCID to give a statement over the alleged misuse of state vehicles. The former minister was accused of allegedly misusing a vehicle belonging to Central Cultural Fund (CCF) while he was serving as the Minister of Cultural Affairs between 2012 and 2015. An investigation is being carried out based on a complaint lodged by the Organisation for the Protection of Central Cultural Fund. more..

Railway technical workers to launch 48-hour strike from tomorrow

May 28 (AD) Railway Technical Services Trade Union Committee has decided to engage in a 48-hour token strike based on three demands including salary increments. According to the Chairman of the committee Sampath Rajitha, the strike will last from 4pm tomorrow until 4 pm on 31st May. Around 12,000 employees from railway stations, running sheds and yards will be participating in this strike, he claimed. more..

India undercuts Lankan pepper?

May 28 (Island) Sri Lankan pepper producers will be in serious trouble if the Indian Central govt does not change its decision to impose a minimum import price of Rs. 500 per kilo on black pepper, Spices and Allied Products Producers’ and Traders Association of SL, Acting Chairman G.S. Chatoor said adding that this years harvest is due in a few months. "We have again urged the SL govt to lobby against the Indian Central govt’s decision to impose a minimum import price on black pepper, more..

JVP asks Prez to reveal his stance on 20A

May 28 (NR) The leader of the JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake today requested President Maithripala Sirisena to reveal his stance on the abolishment of the Executive Presidency. The JVP today announced that it is prepared to hold discussions in a bid to pass the 20th Constitutional Amendment in parliament. JVP leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the party is prepared to discuss the contents of the Amendment with all parties including with the Maha Sangha. more..

Allegedly corrupt pitch curator is not a curator, says SLC

May 28 (CI) The person identified in an Al Jazeera investigation as a groundsman who may have twice curated Test pitches in Galle to suit bettors, is not in fact a curator, according to SLC. As such, he did not have powers to alter the state of either pitch, board officials said. In the investigative documentary, Cricket's match-fixers, the person Al Jazeera says is Tharanga Indika is seen in conversation with an undercover journalist more..

Harsha de Silva completes Harvard Kennedy Program

May 28 (FT) State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva recently completed a short executive education certification course on Leading Economic Growth at the Kennedy School of Govt at Harvard University. This annual program brings together leading experts in economic development with practitioners from around the globe to focus on practical approaches to shared growth and development. It provides a framework for understanding economic growth, as well as sophisticated tools for diagnosis and more..

WP Governor calls for each citizen to donate Rs. 10 for flood-affected

May 28 (DN) If each voter of the Western Province contributed Rs. 10, we could raise Rs. 21.5 million and develop the lives of the citizens affected by floods. Although many came forward and provided aid, no one would volunteer to uplift the lives of the affected people and mitigate the risks of flood in the future, stated WP Governor Hemakumara Nanayakkara. “We will create a system to collect the funds in the near future so that we all can be a part of the development process. more..

GMOA condemns Thewarapperuma's unruly behaviour

May 28 (DM) The GMOA today condemned the conduct of Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma who had sabotaged a disaster preparedness programme being conducted at the Galewela District Hospital. GMOA Secretary Haritha Aluthge said Sri Lanka was a climate risk country as reported in the media, and the country would experience more and more natural disasters in future and as such more..

Power Ministry secy tarnished in coal scam still up to no good?

May 28 (Island) Approximately 1000 tonnes of fly ash is generated per day at Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant, Norochcholai, a spokesperson for the Coalition Against Coal said. "Although CEB went through a cabinet approved tender process for 100% sale of the fly ash in February 2018, the percentage of fly ash sales today is still, approximately 60% - no difference from historical trend," he said. Centre for Human Rights Executive Director, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that more..

Journalists’ scholarship upped to Rs. 200,000

May 28 (DN) Finance and Mass Media Ministry has taken steps to increase the Asi Disi Media Scholarship payment to Rs.200,000 from this year. Earlier the ministry provided the scholarship with a maximum limit of Rs.100,000 to journalists following media-related study programmes at recognised institutions. This year the ministry will provide a grant of Rs.200,000 (maximum) for degree and postgraduate degree programmes and Rs.100,000 (maximum) for both long and short-term more..

Rajitha elected WHO Vice Chairman

May 28 (AD) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has been elected as a Vice Chairman of World Health Organization (WHO) unopposed during its Executive Committee Meeting held in Geneva. He was elected Vice Chair from the South-East Asia region at the 143rd Session of the WHO Executive Board on Monday, for a period of one year. “I’m honored by the confidence placed on me both by the members of the CR more..

118 attempted to cover up Aloysius: Dayasiri

May 28 (NR) SLFP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara says the report compiled by the CIABOC pertaining to the controversial CB Bond Issuance includes 118 names of those involved in attempting to cover up the incident. MP Jayasekara said the govt should introduce a new law indicating a limit that can be spent on election propaganda activities. PM meanwhile said the report is with the President's Secretary and requested the names of those involved to be publicised. more..

Influenza vaccine not available at govt hospitals: Actg. DG

May 28 (AD) Acting Director General of Health Services Dr. Sarath Amunugama says that currently govt hospitals do not provide the influenza virus vaccines. He also said that adequate rest is as important as medical treatment for those suffering from a fever, a cold or a cough and that it is the duty of parents to refrain from sending such children to school. He stated that the influenza virus can be reported from any part of the country and that it normally spread between more..

SLC defends Galle as turning track against fixing allegations

May 28 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has expressed further skepticism about the parts of the Al Jazeera documentary that implies certain Test pitches in the country were prepared to suit bettors. The surface prepared for the 2016 Test against Australia in Galle, in particular, was defended. Where the the documentary implies gambling interests dictated the bowler-friendly nature of that surface, SLC was at pains to more..

The UNP establishment’s and the opposition’s choices

May 29 (Island) There are two reform proposals on the agenda, both of which are likely to be rejected and rightly so. The two proposals are the JVP’s 20th amendment and the govt’s draft constitution. There are many reasons that rejection is likely. One is timing. The mass mood is for change, but not of Constitutional reform. The mood is one of regime change; of rejection of the govt. The one thing that the people are sure of is that an exit ramp is coming up next year—that of the Prez election. more..

A special experts committee to finalize constitutional reforms

May 29 (CT) I address this note consequent to a media report stating that the PM, following an appeal by the Leader of the Opposition, has instructed the special Experts Committee of the Constitutional Assembly to finalize the Constitutional Reform proposals, taking account of the six experts sub-committee reports already received. I take the liberty of making this repeat submission, setting out in summary 10 points, which I firmly believe to be essential areas of reform, more..

Johann conquers Everest

May 29 (SO) Sri Lankan mountaineer Johann Peiris reached the 290030 feet high summit of Mount Everest at 5.50 in the morning of May 22 according to Nepalese time. A professional coiffure and model, Johann is a swashbuckling sports adventurer as well. His efforts to trek the Everest Summit in 2016 was botched due to a technical defect in his oxygen tank, when he had only 448 meters to reach the Promised Land!. more..

The king cobra and SL’s fascinated paralysis

May 29 (ST) When the king cobra kills, it is said that its glare is so unnerving that the victim is fascinated first into a state of terrified immobility before the strike occurs, paralyzing through the injection of a potent neurotoxin that immobilizes the central nervous system. The victims, (including humans if the dose is large enough), can feel impending death but be completely powerless to prevent it, sans immediate recourse to anti-venom treatment. In some ways, it feels as if more..

Mighty and the corrupt fall but not always

May 29 (ST) Recent Malaysian elections that resulted in the downfall of a political party that has ruled the country for decades and the ouster of an allegedly corrupt leader have brought home an important lesson. But it is hardly likely that our leaders will learn from this significant turn of events. It is more likely they would round the wagons and protect themselves with added precautions so they will not have to face the ignominy now haunting Najib Razak accused of fiddling accounts more..

'Guaranteed prices broke rice cartels'

May 29 (CT) State Minister for Agriculture Wasantha Aluwihare said yesterday that the Govt’s guaranteed price for rice had prevented the proliferation of rice/paddy cartels which made traders rich, including the Presidential sibling Dudley Sirisena. He also said that the Govt reinstating fertilizer subsidy was at the request of farmers and not due to political pressures after both the UNP and SLFP were routed at the 10 Feb Local Govt polls. more..

Editorial: Pitch-fixing

May 29 (Island) There has been a real hullabaloo over an alleged pitch-fixing incident in Galle. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is reported to have called in the CID to probe an allegation that the Galle pitch was fixed, a couple of years ago, to engineer the defeat of a foreign team. The SLC is reported to have suspended two individuals, we are told. If only it had acted likewise anent the allegations of bribery and corruption against some notables in its key slots. Cricket has come to this pass here as well as more..

Today is Adhi Poson Full Moon Poya Day

May 29 (DN) The first step in entering the Buddhist path is going for refuge to the Triple Gem, and the first of the three gems that we approach as refuge is the Buddha, the Enlightened One. Because the act of going for refuge to the Buddha marks the beginning of a new chapter in our life, it is worth our while to repeatedly pause and reflect upon the significance of this momentous step. Too often we are prone to take our first steps for granted. Yet it is only if we review these steps from more..

JVP press conference

Why it’s time to put an end to patriarchy in Buddhism

May 29 (DN) On Dec 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an African-American woman refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat to a white passenger. This simple act of defiance became one of the most important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the US. Before she passed away in 2005, Rosa Parks became a Buddhist—at age 92. One can speculate that this female icon—and fierce opponent of discrimination—chose Buddhism because more..

Floods: Armed forces to the rescue again

May 29 (Island) Recent floods again highlighted the failure on the part of the govt to strengthen Local Govt authorities to provide assistance to the affected people. Twenty three people died and over 100,000 were affected during the past several days. In spite of grandiose promises to strengthen local govt authorities in the wake of the Feb. 2018 countrywide polls, absolutely nothing has been done so far and the armed forces were called in to help people both in the north and the south. more..

8 educational games for children by Dialog

May 29 (Roar) Educational gaming is one of the most interesting ways to trick our brains into learning something new in the least boring way. They’re primarily designed to be educational, motivating, and take the gamer through a series of skill development challenges. In the recent years, gaming that has been routinely frowned upon, has been encouraged due to the discovery of the positive effects many games have on our more..

20th Amd? Probably too late & confused

May 29 (CT) What is categorically defective in the 19th Amendment is that it failed to rationally demarcate the powers between the President and the PM/Cabinet, or in other words, the State and the Govt (the links included). We have this conundrum at present. The 19th Amendment created an ambiguity by retaining the President as the Head of Govt while curtailing most of the functional powers. Some of the powers were handed over to the PM, but not fully. more..

Sports Minister distributes cricket gear

May 29 (DN) With the aim of producing a healthy student generation rich in knowledge, skills and creativity, 11 Colombo zonal schools were provided cricket gear by Minister Faiszer Musthapa at the Sports Ministry yesterday. Lack of sports has caused 20% of the student population to fall prey to Non Communicable Diseases and this has been the main topic discussed during the event. “Education will give knowledge while sports will build the character and personalty of a student. more..

No green light from Sports Minister for Japan bound junior athletes

May 29 (CT) The Sports Ministry has not yet granted permission for the SL junior athletics team to participate in the Asian Junior Athletics Championship, which is scheduled to be held in 10 days time from 7-10 June in Gifu Japan, due to an ongoing inquiry being conducted against the junior team manager Anil Weerasinghe. The report by Saman Amarasinghe on controversial Junior Athletics Manager Anil Weerasinghe more..

Jamaldeen speaks of referees’ role in crowd behaviour

May 29 (ST) Rugby referees in Sri Lanka are presently accused of incompetence in handling the Schools’ League. There is concern over the physical fitness of referees in their ability to keep time with the fast-paced schools’ game. Also of concern is the mental fibre referees possess when thrown into a game of great intensity, where the ground climate could turn hostile. Nizam Jamaldeen, President of the SL Rugby Referees’ Society, said, this however is no reason for crowd violence and more..

Hemas invests in digital health start-ups

May 29 (EN) SL conglomerate Hemas Holdings is investing more money in technology start-ups as it seeks to grows its digital health business, Hemas group CEO Steven Enderby said the investments in digital health start-ups were one reason for reduced operating profits during the March 2018 financial year. The Hemas group healthcare sector delivered strong financial performance during the year, he told shareholders. “However, profitability in pharmaceuticals remains challenging more..

Udaya challenges Anura to a debate on 20A

May 29 (NR) Udaya challenges Anura to debate on 20A, UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila has challenged leader of the JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake to a public debate on the 20th Constitutional Amendment. MP said the draft bill tabled by the JVP contains several faults. He said he identified nine mistakes adding that he will be able to explain the faults if a debate is to be held over the Constitutional Amendment. more..

HNB Assurance Group delivers notable financial results for Q1 2018; PAT up

May 29 (Island) HNB Assurance Group delivered a notable financial performance, reporting a Profit After Tax (PAT) of LKR 699 MN for Q1 2018 reflecting a steady growth of 844% in comparison to the PAT of LKR 74 MN recorded during the corresponding period of 2017. This growth mainly resulted due to the transfer of One-off surplus of LKR 381 MN to Shareholder Fund from Non-Participating Policyholder Fund due to the change in liability valuation method and the surplus more..

IPS policy engagement forum highlights challenges in battling climate change

May 29 (IPS) One of the major challenges when it comes to battling the negative impacts of climate change is bridging the climate information gaps, said an expert at a recent Policy Engagement Forum organised by the IPS. IPS Research Fellow and the Head of the Environment Research Unit, Athula Senaratne, noted that as Sri Lanka is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change, the main focus of the country should be on climate adaptation. more..

Dayasiri no balls Malinga!

May 29 (CT) Former Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara said that Lasith Malinga could have made a written request through him, if he (Malinga) had suspicions regarding pitch tampering, rather than making allegations in front of the media and during cricket workshops. Malinga, during a workshop at Water’s Edge, Few months after his allegations, a documentary by Al Jazeera’s Investigation Unit was aired on more..

Docs highlight tobacco & heart disease link

May 29 (CT) Doctors said that tobacco use is a major cause of heart diseases such as myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) as well as cerebrovascular accidents (strokes). National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) announcing World No Tobacco Day, to be held on 31 May said that tobacco use was a major cause of heart disease, a leading cause of death in Sri Lanka. NATA said that the theme of the World No Tobacco 2018 is Tobacco & Heart Disease to underscore more..

Curative Tourism: Sri Lanka, a preferred destination says Oman’s ambassador

May 29 (Island) Oman’s ambassador Jummah Hamdan Hassan Al- Shehhi said that SL had become a preferred destination for Omani’s interested in Curative Tourism. Asked if there had been an increase in the number of Omani tourists visiting SL, ambassador replied in the affirmative, adding that there had been a steady rise with the figure, expected to exceed 20,000 this year. "Sri Lanka has become a preferred destination for Omani tourists, including those interested in more..

Corrupt probing Corrupt: SLFP to use RTI to obtain bond scam full probe report

May 29 (Island) The 16 SLFP MPs who left the govt will file a Right To Information (RTI) application next week to obtain the full report of the PCoI on the bond scam which contains the names of 118 MPs who had taken money from the Perpetual Treasuries, MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said. "The UNP is attempting to tarnish my reputation saying I got a cheque from Arjun Aloysius. But everyone knows that I have campaigned against him and more..

12 stranded SL migrant workers to be repatriated from Somaliland

May 29 (DM) Twelve Sri Lankan migrant workers stranded as a result of a labour dispute in Somaliland, a self-declared state of Somalia, would return to Sri Lanka shortly, Foreign Affairs Ministry said. The Ministry said the workers would be brought back safely in coordination with the SL Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Ministry said Sri Lanka does not have diplomatic and consular presence in Somaliland. more..