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Crossing the Line in Sri Lanka

May 19 (DM) From Paranthan, the road to Vallipuram is rich and green. Great expanses of paddy stretch out before you, clumps of palmyrah dot the land and little streams of water trickle by. As we near the fighting, paddy fields give way to broken buildings and blasted vehicles. Twisted trees and uprooted trunks line the way. Everything is covered with a layer of brown dust. An occasional boat lies stranded on either side of the road, more..

Politics of India bogey

May 19 (DM) Hard on the heels of his fast unto death in prison calling for his release on bail, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa was again in the news and became a laughing stock by calling for the hoisting of the black flag against Indian PM Narendra Modi during the latter’s visit to Sri Lanka to participate in the United Nations’ International Vesak Festival.  Pathetically there were no takers for his call even within his political group, the Joint Opposition. more..

From the cold war to the cyber war

May 19 (DM) Wednesday (17) was the UN World Telecommunication and Information Society Day with this year’s theme being, Big data for big impact. UN in a statement says the theme focuses on the power of Big Data for development and aims to explore how to turn imperfect, complex, often unstructured data into actionable information in a development context.  According to the UN, the insight brought on by advanced analysis can strongly complement evidence-based nature more..

Sri Lankan Tamils remember relatives killed in the civil war

May 19 (AP) Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamils on Thursday lit lamps and displayed photos framed in flowers of relatives killed in a bloody civil war, marking the eighth anniversary of the end of the fighting. A Sri Lankan court barred activists from holding a commemoration near a monument to Tamils killed in the fighting, but other memorials were carried out unhindered in many parts of the country's north and east. more..

Need more time to Bankrupt SL: Don't change UNP portfolios: Ranil tells MS, CBK

May 19 (DM) Amid speculation of a Cabinet reshuffle, UNP sources said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had informed President Sirisena and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga that the portfolios assigned to the UNP should not be changed. In such a scenario, any reshuffle, will only apply to portfolios held by SLFP members. UNP MPs Bandulalal Bandarigoda and Asoka Priyanatha have expressed views opposing any reshuffling of portfolios currently assigned to the UNP. more..

Vehicles imported by MPs, Ministers cost a mere Rs.7.5mn each: Daya Gamage

May 19 (DM) Refuting the allegations that PMs and Cabinet ministers imported vehicles worth at least Rs.45 million each, Minister Daya Gamage said today the cost of such vehicles did not exceed Rs.7.5 million each when imported under the vehicle permits granted to them. Addressing a news conference held at Sirikotha recently, He said most of the ministers used their permits to import common vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers which cost about 50,000 USD each. more..

Wellawatte building collapse: Police to question owner, contractors

May 19 (Island) Police have told The Island that they will question the owner and two contractors of the six storeyed building which collapsed at Wellawatte yesterday injuring 26 persons.   The building housing Excellency Banquet Hall located near Savoy Cinema on Charlemont Road had collapsed around 11.00 am, police said, adding that the injured had been rushed to the National Hospital and Colombo South Teaching Hospital. more..

Cabinet reshuffle imminent: SLFP Gen. Secy

May 19 (CT) Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera, yesterday said a Cabinet reshuffle was imminent. He said he was not aware of any UNP State Ministers who were opposed to the reshuffle. Pressed for comment he added that he was not aware of any turmoil within the UNP itself that has been stirred up by the imminent Cabinet reshuffle. "It seems that there are issues within the UNP itself but I have not heard of any State Ministers opposing a reshuffle," he said. more..

War Heroes commemoration today

May 19 (DN) The ceremony to commemorate thousands of service personnel who laid down their lives to save the country from the shackles of terrorism will take place at the National War Memorial at Battaramulla under the patronage of President Sirisena today. PM, Ministers, Tri Forces Commanders and family members of the those who made the supreme sacrifice for the Motherland will participate in this ceremony. Ceremonies to commemorate war veterans who saved the more..

SLMC insists it is not GMOA cat’s paw

May 19 (Island) SL Medical Council Chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka urged relevant authorities to investigate and take action against all criminal offences committed against SLMC and its officials since 2002. He said that from the setting SLMC premises on fire in 2002 to the most recent incident, where an unexploded hand grenade was detected within its premises, SLMC and its members had been faced several attacks & threats. more..

Weather plays havoc paralysing Colombo

May 19 (Island) Weather played havoc in most parts of Colombo yesterday disrupting normal life and causing injuries to several people. Adverse weather hampered rescue of victims trapped under a collapsed building in Wellawatte. Heavy rains caused flash floods in several areas of the city, bringing vehicular movement to a standstill and compelling people to wade through water on roads. Train services on the Kelani Valley line were disrupted due to fallen trees blocking tracks. more..

Economic pills too bitter to swallow?

May 19 (DM) The purohita in charge of the public purse and the head of the bank controlling the country’s monetary policy – had reportedly been involved in a heated exchange at the meeting of a high-level committee on economic management the other day. The purohita had reportedly taken exception to some comments contained in the latest annual report of the bank and a heated argument had ensued when the bank head defended the contents of the report. more..

JVP condemns attack on IUSF

May 19 (DM) JVP condemned the teargas and baton charge carried out by the police on the university students who were engaged in a protest march organised by the IUSF. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said the IUSF students did not engaged in a fight with the govt or the police, but only held a peaceful protest for a very reasonable demand. “Govt treated them as criminals and attacked them in inhuman manner. more..

Met Dept’s digital display gives stale news

May 19 (DM) The Meteorology Department’s digital display erected within its premises in Colombo was seen displaying ‘0’ mm for the rainfall category even during the torrential rains today. A photo which showed this peculiar weather characteristic was captured by a passerby.  The digital display had been installed to show the daily weather report. When contacted, an official of the Department said the display, which is updated automatically had stalled recently. more..

Special traffic plan in Battaramulla today

May 19 (NR) A special traffic plan will be implemented in Colombo from 2pm to 7pm today, in view of the National War Heroes Commemoration scheduled to be held today at the Parliament Grounds in Battaramulla. The traffic plan will come into effect under several phases. The first phase of the traffic plan will function from Polduwa Junction to Pelawatte Junction and the Parliament Road, Kimbulawala Junction, Keangnam Roundabout until the Sri Lanka Japan Friendship Road. more..

Anti-terror bill revives concerns of abuse

May 19 (HRW) Sri Lanka’s latest counterterrorism bill falls far short of the govt’s pledges to the UNHRC to end abusive detention without charge, Human Rights Watch said. The Cabinet approved the third draft of the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) on May 3, but no parliamentary vote has been set. While the bill improves upon the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), it would still permit many of the abuses more..

Guys can’t be more ready than this: Donald

May 19 (DN) Sri Lanka’s fast bowling consultant South African Allan Donald said that it is upto the team and its players to do the country proud after they had gone through one of the most thorough preparations ahead of the ICC Champions trophy. “The attitude and intensity the boys brought to the table over the last 10-15 days it’s been unbelievable, we couldn’t have asked for anymore than that,” said Donald who prepared the players in their training in Colombo and Kandy. more..

SC restrains alienating of assets of Ceylinco

May 19 (FT) Supreme Court yesterday ordered the depositors of several associations affiliated to the Ceylinco depositors’ case not to alienate the assets involved in the case in anyone’s name until the court resolved the case. The Judges of the Supreme Court hearing the depositors’ case gave this direction to the depositors upon considering the submissions made by counsel for several depositor associations. At outset of the case Senior Counsel Ian Fernando told court that more..

SriLankan no longer only ground handler

May 19 (ST) Sri Lanka is considering opening up ground handling services, a lucrative business at international airports, to global airlines in a bid to ensure competitive pricing. “Several airlines have complained that ground handling charges in Sri Lanka are high, so in order to be competitive we need to open it up. With two it will be more competitive,” Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri said. more..

ICC announces umpires, match referee for Champions Trophy 2017

May 19 (Island) The ICC announced the umpire and match referee appointments for the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, which will be staged from 1-18 June at Cardiff Wales Stadium, Edgbaston and The Oval. Chris Broad, David Boon and Andy Pycroft of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees will officiate in the tournament while the umpiring responsibilities will be shared between all the 12 Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, namely: Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena, Marais Erasmus, more..

Seafood exporters, Ministry sign MOU for new Fishery Improvement Project

May 19 (FT) A MoU was signed between the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Seafood Exporters Association of SL, committing to work together to improve the biological and ecological status of Sri Lanka’s longline tuna and billfish fisheries and to develop and implement national and int'l fishery specific management measures that will maintain the biological and ecological status of each fishery at a level consistent with a sustainably managed fishery.  more..

Sri Lanka vow to lift fielding standards

May 19 (Island) The national cricket team left for Champions Trophy yesterday promising to raise fielding standards. Fielding woes have cost the Sri Lankans dearly during their recent bilateral series against South Africa and Bangladesh and Angelo Mathews’ side has been termed world’s worst fielding unit. A week long residential training camp was held in Kandy with the main focus being improving fielding. more..

SL – Pakistan Friendship Ramazan Bazaar

May 19 (PHC) Sri Lanka-Pakistan Friendship, Trade and Investment Association will hold its 4th Ramazan Bazaar on Sunday (21) at the Dutch Burger Union, No. 114, Reid Avenue, Colombo 4. Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in SL Dr. Sarfraz Sipra will be the chief guest on the occasion. Following the huge success of its preceding Ramazan Bazaars, SL-Pakistan Friendship, Trade and Investment Association will be continuing its drive to augment people-to-people contact more..

Softlogic gets franchise for Baskin-Robbins ice cream

May 19 (EN) Softlogic Holdings group said it had acquired the franchise for Baskin-Robbins ice cream which would help expand its retail and fast food restaurants business. Softlogic Restaurants Ltd, group subsidiary, had acquired the exclusive master franchise for Baskin-Robbins ice cream and its allied products in a deal with Blue Ginger Ltd. The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, gives Softlogic rights to import, distribute and retail Baskin-Robbins ice cream and more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Discord, brewing up

May 19 (DN) The arena of Sri Lankan politics could be accused of many lapses, but it can never be blamed for being dull and tedious. This week, even as UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe was battling in Supreme Court to save her seat, the theatre of conflict shifted to the provinces. Kumarasinghe was granted temporary relief by the highest court in the land. A three judge bench, by a majority verdict, granted her leave to appeal to challenge the verdict of Court of Appeal unseating her because more..

SL Tourism: Demand & supply mismatch

May 19 (Island) Since (PATA), Pacific Area Tourism Association’s annual conference will take place in Negombo during 18-21st May, bringing in to the country hundreds of tourism experts, this may be an appropriate time to review the high priority assigned by the Govt to tourism development in SL, and assess the challenges confronting the plan to attract 2.5 million visitors to the country and increase tourism earnings, being one of the three highest foreign exchange revenue sources, more..

Govt messing maize supply

May 19 (FT) Govt’s mismanagement of the maize supply has seriously impacted the feed milling and poultry industry, a top firm has revealed. Ceylon Grain Elevators said decreased yield in local maize cultivation and import constraints imposed by the Govt have resulted in an increasingly tight market and have pushed the price of local maize up by over 20% in the first quarter of this year. It said the production shortfall and import restrictions more..

Editorial: WannaCry

May 19 (Island) One may have thought the erratic behaviour of US President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong Un was the biggest problem the global community was faced with. True, if the two leaders translate their rhetoric into action the world might witness a nuclear winter sooner than feared. But, besides the scares they give the world from time to time, there has emerged another threat of global scale––WannaCry. It may not cause death and devastation as such, but more..

India offers Ayush Scholarships to SL students for higher education

May 19 (IHC) High Commission of India Colombo announces scholarships to Sri Lankan nationals under the Ayush Scholarship Scheme for UG/PG/PhD courses in Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy for the academic year 2017-18. Govt of India selects meritorious SL nationals for award of these scholarships in consultation with Ministry of Higher Education, SL. These scholarships cover full tuition fees and a monthly sustenance allowance for the entire more..

Money from Panama and Latvia in Udayanga’s accounts

May 19 (Island) Today, anything that the public sees in the media about the MiG deal, would invariably centre around Udayanga Weeratunga. In the past months and weeks, the media has reported that Weeratunga had 16 bank accounts in SL (which have since been frozen) with total deposits equivalent to about USD 1.5 million. According to a recent report FCID has claimed that money was credited to these accounts more..

JVP Press Conference: Abolish SAITM

SAITM: Compromise formula for a peaceful settlement

May 19 (Island) SAITM issue is still at a stalemate. Public protests, student and trade union demonstrations are gathering momentum. We note that Department of Govt Information has published its policy position with respect to Higher Education and to Medical Education in particular. It states: "The private sector is being encouraged to set up quality higher education institutes under govt supervision. The govt’s position is that all such institutes should be managed by a Board of Governors more..

Get the balance right!

May 19 (DN) Getting involved in activities outside the classroom gives students greater opportunities to develop character, critical thinking skills, social skills, and talents. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award equips young people for life and work. It emphasizes that not all learning happens in the classroom. Young people need experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of the world. Two students of Gothami Balika Vidyalaya, more..

Fire-breathers’ dishonest attempt

May 19 (CT) "Wherever the reasons emerged and then started evolving, Sri Lanka saw unnecessary developments that could have been easily avoided if the people of this Nation had truly honest and compassionate politicians who had the courage and vision to stand for what was right. Instead, we had a set of English speaking and highly Westernized set of politicians who came either from some high class families or from the affluent new merchant class that emerged in Sri Lanka. more..

School tournaments need better planning

May 19 (CT) After focusing our attention on the international scene this week my attempt is to talk about the cradle of cricket in Sri Lanka which is school cricket. Sometimes I wonder what really ails a system that was considered one of the best, if not the best in the world, especially in the 60s and 70's and possibly in the 80s. Schoolboy cricketers in this country could have rubbed their shoulders with the very best in the business and defeated them more often than not. more..