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Achcharu: Sri Lanka’s political pickle

May 20 (ST) While Kussi Amma Sera and Serapina have dominated these columns with their juicy gossip and handy column ideas, this time it was the turn of another equally, belligerent woman to steal the show. Thursday was a rainy morning and a no-show by Serapina for her usual garden tete-a-tete with Kussi Amma Sera. The rain was pouring cats-and-dogs and looking at the gloomy skies I realized that rain would be a spoiler in trying to gather a column idea. more..

Reparations Bill: Why the secrecy?

May 20 (ST) The ninth anniversary of the defeat of the scourge of a bloody separatist terrorist campaign that enveloped this country for three decades passed without much ado yesterday (19). Yet battling with the continuing demand by some foreign governments to hold the security forces that ended that scourge to account, the Govt has now presented a comprehensive draft outlining what has been proposed as reparations for the victims of that virtual civil war. more..

Rising number of foreign workers cause concern

May 20 (CT) Sri Lanka’s image makeover during the recent past has also brought with it a number of foreign labourers, mostly working at construction sites that are prominent in the heart of the city. Workers of foreign nationalities waiting on the roadsides in the mornings and evenings, is a common site along the Galle Road in Colombo. Many of them are construction workers. The influx of foreign labourers from other countries has more..

Malaysia predicament in Mahinda’s comeback trail

May 20 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you, as people are talking about you once again especially after that Mahathir chap returned to power in Malaysia at the ripe old age of ninety-two. That almost makes it sound as if you are too young to run for high office when the next elections are held in two years! The parallels with Malaysia are quite similar, aren’t they? The people were dissatisfied with govt in office because those in high places were accused of corruption. more..

Inquisitorial vs. Adversarial

May 20 (Island) A letter from Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake we published two Sundays ago had triggered a response from the indefatigable Dr. A.C. Visvalingam, who has for many years been laboring hard and long in trying to improve the woeful state of governance in this republic of ours which proclaims itself as democratic socialist. The results, unfortunately, have not demonstrated a favorable cost: benefit ratio in relation to the efforts made to improve governance, more..

First robotic assisted surgery aboard a hospital ship

May 20 (SO) Achieving another significant milestone in emergency preparedness and healthcare, USNS Mercy while docked in Trincomalee on its Pacific Partnership mission recorded the first robotic assisted surgery aboard a hospital ship, performing a cholecystectomy or gall bladder removal on a SL patient. A moment of many feelings. Elation, anticipation mixed with anxiety. It certainly was “a fantastic experience. more..

2nd Mahaweli Programme

May 20 (CT) Despite Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Sector’s low performance post-1977, there is renewed multilateral and bilateral donor interest to promote this sector, not seen since the multimillion US dollar Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme, launched in the immediate aftermath of a new Govt having had been elected to power in 1977. Agriculture contributes a mere 7% to the island’s GDP, but employs 30% of its workforce. Whereas the other 2 sectors of the economy, more..

GMOA politics vs Development

May 20 (SO) The Govt doctors are on a strike binge again. Once more, it is not an agitation for a need of medical personnel or, of medical service facilities, or, even that of patients. Rather, the Govt Medical Officers are agitating (again) over their livelihood interests – or, at least, what the GMOA says is their livelihood interests. The GMOA is repeating its claim that free trade agreements are detrimental to the country and, to their professional interests. The rationale of the GMOA is that more..

Disease spreading in South identified as pneumonia: DGHS

May 19 (DM) Laboratory findings have revealed that the disease spreading in Southern Province was a pneumonia outbreak mainly due to influenza virus, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe said. He said the health authorities had taken measures to mitigate the current situation. “Attention has been drawn to the increased number of patients with acute respiratory tract infection at Karapitiya Teaching Hospital and more..

'Display national flag according to legal system'

May 19 (NR) Minister Wajira Abeywardana says the legal system must be followed when displaying the national flag. He noted the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued all recommendations in this regard. He said individuals cannot follow personal agendas when displaying the country's flag. He added individual cannot prevent ceremonies organised in the Northern and Eastern Provinces from taking place in order to commemorate the lives of those lost during the conflict. more..

Declaration of Intent signed to protect marine resources

May 19 (DN) Businesses, the SL Govt, French Govt and representatives of the scientific community yesterday signed a Declaration of Intent between Sri Lanka and France to protect the marine resources of the country. The organizations Biodiversity SL, MIND led by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, IUCN, the French Development Agency, together with companies like Aitken Spence Travels, Dialog Axiata, Dilmah Ceylon Tea, MAS intimates, Tess Pvt. Ltd., Tokyo Cement signed more..

Lanka IOC prepared to set own fuel prices to minimise losses

May 19 (Reuters) SL fuel retailer Lanka IOC will be forced to implement its own pricing mechanism to minimise losses if the govt fails to implement its proposed fuel price formula, the company said on Friday. The move by Lanka IOC, a subsidiary of India’s IOC, comes after the govt failed to increase fuel prices charged by state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) in line with rising global oil prices. more..

LB Big Wheels Motor Show 2018 kicks off

May 19 (DM) The LB Big Wheels Motor Show 2018, organised by the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) and powered by LB Finance, was officially opened to the public yesterday, at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The inaugural LB Big Wheels Motor Show is a first-of-its-kind event, focusing only on providing superior quality vehicles from leading manufacturers around the globe. LB Big Wheels Motor Show 2018 was officially opened to the public by more..

Trade expansion with Sri Lanka urged

May 19 (TN) Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javaid has said that there is a vast scope for expansion of two-way trade between Pakistan and SL in the presence of free trade agreement (FTA), a statement said on Friday. Addressing SL businessmen at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL) and Colombo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said, there is a need to strengthen multifaceted and multi-sectoral cooperation more..

Necessary information provided to Interpol for Udayanga’s extradition

May 19 (Island) Sri Lanka has presented a strong case to Interpol as regards its efforts to have former SL Ambassador to Russia and Ukraine extradited in connection with the ongoing judicial inquiry into the wartime acquisition of MiG 27s, according to highly placed sources. SL Air Force acquired additional MiGs at the onset of the Eelam war IV from Ukraine to bolster Katunayake-based MiG squadron. more..

Indian Army Chief meets President

May 19 (PTI) Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today called on Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and discussed bilateral and defence relations during his maiden visit to the island country, officials said. Gen Rawat is in Sri Lanka for a week-long visit at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake. His visit as the Army Chief began on Monday with an aim to take forward the military cooperation between the two countries to the next level. more..

SLNS Sagara returns home on completion of successful naval exercise

May 19 (SLN) SL Naval Ship Sagara which left the island for Indonesia on last 24th April to attend Komodo-2018 Naval exercise and International Fleet Review, on completion of a successful tour returned to the Colombo port today (18). On arrival in Colombo, she was welcomed in compliance with naval traditions and Senior Staff Officer (Operations) Commander (C) Janaka Samaranayake also attended this occasion. Commanding Officer of the ship, Captain (C) Janaka Nissanka and more..

Sri Lankan to ditch CEO Ratwatte, professionals join board

May 19 (EN) The controversial CEO of Sri Lankan airlines is tipped to be removed as the govt reconstitutes the board of directors by adding two more top professionals. Suren Ratwatte's ouster had been demanded by several former directors, but he stayed on despite the ouster of the entire board following the mini reshuffle of the cabinet of ministers in February. Pilots of Sri Lankan had protested when Ratwatte attempted to more..

Follow conscience, Minister asks doctors, nurses

May 19 (DN) Nurses and doctors should inquire from their conscience if they work in line with the Nightingale Pledge and the Hippocratic Oath on this day of International Nurses' Day, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on Wednesday said. He was addressing the gathering at the celebration of the International Nurses Day-2018 at Temple Trees, organised by the Govt Nursing Officers' Association. President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickeremesinghe participated as Chief Guests. more..

JVP expresses solidarity with Palestinians

May 19 (Island) JVP condemned what it termed as a brutal attack by Israeli forces and the provocative action of the USA administration on Palestinians. A statement signed by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake on behalf of the Dept of International Relations of the party said: "According to the latest reports, 60 people including several children and a paramedic have died and more than 2400 have been injured in attacks by Israeli armed forces who fired on Palestinian people who protested against more..

Business confidence falls to a 70-month low

May 19 (FT) The latest edition of business magazine LMD reports a decline of 19 basis points in the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI). It fell to 98 in April, a 70-month low. LMD notes that this is the second time the index has fallen below the 100 mark in the last 12 months with the BCI now also 19 basis points lower than its 12-month average of 117. In addition to this, it is 36 basis points lower than the 12-month peak of 134 in July 2017, and all-time median of 129. more..

Sri Lanka calls for security of Palestinian people

May 19 (MFA) Govt has called for the security of Palestinian people and the end to violence in Gaza. The Govt made this statement during a special session of the UNHRC yesterday in Geneva. Following is the full text of the SL statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. Mr. President, We note with regret that the Special Session of the Human Rights Council convenes today, against the backdrop of death and destruction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as well as violence and mayhem in the region. more..

Overfished: Yellowfin tuna on the brink

May 19 (Island) Overfishing of the yellowfin tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean is going to be one of the main issues to be addressed in the forthcoming 22nd meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 21-25, according to a position statement released by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). The ISSF in its paper has urged tuna fishing stakeholders and regulators to address yellowfin overfishing more..

National War Heroes remembered today

May 19 (CT) SL Army stated that arrangements have been finalized for the mega Aaloka Pooja (offering of lamps) ceremony at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya today. It is held to commemorate all the War Heroes, who laid down their precious lives in the war, and will coincide with the main ceremony at Battaramulla on National War Heroes’ Day (19), at Battaramulla. The Aaloka Pooja will see 28,619 lamps being lit. The event is held with a view to transferring merit for more..

600 SIs promoted after 14-year delay

May 19 (Island) Nearly 600 Sub-Inspectors (SIs), who had not received promotions for a long time, were promoted to the rank of Inspector with retroactive effect from May 31, 2016. SP Ruwan Gunasekera said that 595 sub-inspectors including 56 Women Sub-Inspectors (WSI) had been promoted to the rank of inspector on the orders of the IGP and under the supervision of the National Police Commission. He said that the promotion scheme had been implemented after a delay of 14 years. more..

Tourism Ministry website hacked by Tamil Eelam Cyber Force

May 19 (DM) The Sinhalese version of the official website of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and the website of Sri Lanka Honorary Consulate in Kerala were reportedly hacked this evening by an organisation calling itself the Tamil Eelam Cyber Force. The website displayed a long message from the Tamil Eelam Cyber Force and also a rolling news feed message which said Hacked By Tamil Eelam Cyber Force. more..

Hackers transfer US$13 mn from businessmen via emails: CERT

May 19 (DM) Computer Emergency Readiness Team | Co-ordination Centre (CERT|CC) said yesterday they had received complaints about fraudsters hacking into email accounts of businessmen and transferring funds worth more than US$13 million during past five months. CERT|CC Principal Information Security Engineer Roshan Chandragupta said many people had fallen prey to one of the latest techniques where people’s accounts were hacked. They have been requested to change more..

Battling drug trafficking: Sri Lanka punching above weight

May 19 (FT) Project Implementation, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said Sri Lanka had been punching above its weight when it comes to ​battling​ drug trafficking. Minister made this remark while addressing a session of the UN Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna this week. During his speech, the Minister outlined the progress achieved by the SL Police, especially the Police Narcotic Bureau when combating drugs and drug trafficking. more..

Disaster response units of Red Cross standing by to assist in case weather worsens

May 19 (RW) Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and its Disaster Response Units located in every branch of the country (each in every district) has been put on high alert as the inter-monsoonal rainy season sets above the country. As of now rains calculated to be over 100mm can be experienced in Southern & Eastern parts of the country, with thundershowers being expected in other parts. Rainfall in Sri Lanka has multiple origins. Monsoonal, conventional and depressional rain accounts for more..

No job losses from FTAs: PM

May 19 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, assured that no professionals would lose their jobs as a result of any Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed by the Govt, and if problems are presented, officials would engage to resolve them. He had made these statements when he met with representatives of the SL Engineers Institute and Institute of Architects at Temple Trees. Minister Malik Samarawickrama, Ministry officials, and Immigration & Emigration Controller General more..

Indian professionals in late colonial Ceylon

May 19 (Island) Today's news media are flooded with an endless ha-ho by home grown professionals against infiltration by unwanted Indians encroaching into their employment niches. This controversy takes my memory back to my boyhood in a Ceylon which was yet a British Colony. Our neighbour India too was British ruled . As such, no passports were necessary for Ceylonese and Indians to travel from Dondra Head to the Himalayan foothills. more..

A crash of metal for a clash of heroes

May 19 (ST) As humans all the problems that we face are a part of life’s journey. Despite all of this though, humanity endures and above all we have the proclivity and the propensity to fight back against problems that are ten times bigger than us, says Suresh De Silva, the vocalist of Stigmata. Lyrically this was just what he wanted to forge into the band’s latest single Heavy Is The Head That Wears The Crown. The heavy baseline is the first to sound through Suresh’s handy speakers more..

Where is the timbre of reconciliation?

May 19 (Island) This is the Day of Peace – when the LTTE was finally defeated, at Mullivaikkal in the Mullaithivu District. The path of peace is that, or should be that, of reconciliation. It is a word we have heard so often, especially in the past three years. Prez Sirisena, who says he will not retire in 2020, when his term as President ends, has stated that reconciliation remains to be achieved. But the Prez’s Office obviously has more important things than reconciliation today, more..

China, India and the Indian Ocean: Sri Lanka’s foreign policy challenges

May 19 (Island) Sri Lanka’s foreign relations must reflect the country’s priorities. Sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka occupies an enviable strategic position. A blessing that, with careful and thoughtful handling and long term vision, can be leveraged to its advantage and, mismanaged, a curse that has and will attract the unwelcome attentions of global and regional powers seeking to strategically dominate the Indian Ocean. more..

Editorial: Going, going, not gone

May 19 (Island) The SLFP is all at sea. Cast adrift, it has been threatening to pull out of the yahapalana coalition for the last so many months. It is like a drunkard on the scrounge threatening to desert his wife who provides for him. It has renewed its threat on Thursday night, but nobody takes its threats seriously because its leader, President Sirisena, cannot leave the present govt; he knows he will be rendered more vulnerable, in such an eventuality, than he is today. more..