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The ancient Sri Lankan tank cascades tackling drought

Sep 28 (BBC) Each April, in the village of Maeliya in northwest Sri Lanka, Pinchal Weldurelage Siriwardene gathers his community under the shade of a large banyan tree. Tree overlooks a human-made body of water called a wewa – meaning reservoir or tank in Sinhala. The wewa stretches out besides the village's rice paddies for 175-acres and is filled with the rainwater of preceding months. more..

Transforming SL’s resilience in climate and disaster risk management

Sep 28 (CT) As a climate-vulnerable developing country, managing climate and disaster risks as well as mobilising risk finance is a critical need for Sri Lanka. SLYCAN Trust’s initiative of developing a Multi-Actor Partnership on Climate and Disaster Risk Management and Finance launched into a new phase on 19 September at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo, with the participation of key stakeholders from the agriculture, tourism, fashion, and SME sectors. more..

Voluntary program required to prevent drug trafficking: PM

Sep 28 (CT) PM Dinesh Gunawardena said steps should be taken to fill vacancies in the province while giving teaching appointments. Addressing a meeting with Provincial Governors on 26.09.2023 at Temple Trees, he stressed that a voluntary program is required to prevent drug trafficking. Speaking on this occasion the PM further stated; “It is necessary to implement the program in order to improve the economic, political and administrative situation in the country. more..

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Hotelier says minimum meal rates imposed by govt could hurt tourism industry

Sep 28 (DM) A local tourism industrialist stated that the govt’s imposition of minimum meal rates for SL hotels could be unrealistic and potentially has adverse effects on the tourism industry. Chandana Amaradasa, a hotel owner with a background in tourism management, expressed the opinion that tourists may be discouraged from visiting SL and inbound tour operators might be hesitant to bring in tourists, if the govt intervenes in setting meal and room rates for hotels. more..

Fitch upgrades Sri Lanka's long-term local-currency IDR to 'CCC-'

Sep 28 (FR) Fitch Ratings has upgraded SL's Long-Term Local-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'CCC-' from 'RD' (Restricted Default). Fitch typically does not assign Outlooks to sovereigns with a rating of 'CCC+' or below. The Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR has been affirmed at 'RD' and the Country Ceiling at 'B-'. Short-Term Local-Currency IDR has been downgraded to 'RD' from 'C' following the exchange of treasury bills held by the central bank and subsequently upgraded to 'C' more..

Doctors to withdraw from peripheral hospitals

Sep 28 (CT) Doctors warned they would take measures to limit the medical resources made available to peripheral hospitals after the next two weeks if the Health Ministry failed to provide them with a feasible solution to the brain-drain amongst the medical fraternity. Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Haritha Aluthge yesterday said this was to thwart any bogus action by the Health Ministry to intimidate them into staying in the country. more..

Lankan Saudi Embassy to probe migrant worker torture

Sep 28 (TM) SL Embassy in Saudi Arabia has launched a special probe into the incident of a SL woman being forced to swallow five concrete nails while SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is to take legal action against the private employment agency in Colombo that sent her overseas. Recently, a woman had lodged a complaint that while working as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia, she had been forced to swallow five concrete nails & an iron spring instead of food. more..

Video: All those who do not have my principles are my enemies: Maithripala

Sep 28 (DM) All those who do not have my principles are my enemies, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Chairman and former Prez Maithripala Sirisena said. He said this while answering a question raised by a journalist after an event held in Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo recently. "I have become the common enemy of former SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka because they do not have my principles," he said. more..

Highest rainfall in Ingiriya; flood warning for Kuda Ganga, Nilwala Ganga Basins

Sep 28 (DM) Following the rainfall records reported during the past 24 hours, the Ingiriya area in the Kalutara District recorded the highest rainfall, which was 101.5mm. Deniyaya area in the Matara district recorded the second-highest rainfall, which is 100.5mm. The Vithanakanda Estate in Ratnapura district recorded 80.0 mm, and the Uduwila area in the Kegalle district recorded 73.5 mm of rainfall during the past 24 hours. more..

SLR incurs 245.45B loss from 2015 to 2022

Sep 28 (CT) Sri Lanka Railways (SLR), over the past 8 years, has incurred expenditures totalling Rs 297.64 billion while its revenue amounted to only Rs 52.19 billion during the same period. According to a senior official at SLR, this has resulted in a substantial loss of Rs 245.45 billion between 2015 and 2022. Notably, in 2021, SLR reported an expenditure of Rs 40.41 billion, which increased to Rs 42.53 billion in 2022—an increase of Rs 2.12 billion in just one year. more..

Over 4,000 vacancies in CEB, CPC: Kanchana

Sep 28 (CT) Presently, there are over 4,000 vacancies within both the CEB and CPC, Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said. Minister however, underscored that the existing workforce is sufficiently equipped to manage the operations of these institutions and provide essential services. Specifically, he provided an overview of the staffing situation, stating, “In the CPC, there are 3,292 approved staff positions, with 2,100 individuals presently employed, resulting in more..

SL's 1996 WC propelled cricket's evolution

SriLankan Airlines partners with Virgin Australia

Sep 28 (DM) SriLankan Airlines has entered into a first-ever interline partnership with Virgin Australia that will strengthen the airline’s network in Australia and offer customers extensive connections across the land down under and beyond. The new partnership reaffirms SriLankan’s commitment to Australia and will present customers the convenience of adding select Virgin Australia domestic or international connections to their SriLankan Airlines booking and more..

Prez calls for report on Budgetary salary hike for public service

Sep 28 (TM) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed the Secretary to the Treasury and Finance Ministry to look into the possibilities of giving a salary increment to the public servants from the next Budget, said the Advisor to the Prez (Trade Union Affairs) Saman Rathnapriya. Rathnapriya said that the President has paid his personal attention to the matter and that he (President) also informed it to the professionals’ trade unions when he met them recently. more..

SLC considering lifting temporary ban on Danushka Gunathilaka

Sep 28 (AD) SLC is considering lifting the temporary cricket ban imposed on cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka, who was acquitted by an Australian court over sexual assault charges today. Danushka was found not guilty of sexual intercourse without consent following an accusation of stealthing involving a Tinder date in Sydney. 32-year-old was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup, more..

SL’s inflation eases to 1.3% in September

Sep 28 (EN) SL’s consumer price inflation in the capital Colombo rose only 1.3% in the 12 months to Sept 2023, down from 4% in August, data from the state statistics office showed. The Colombo Consumer Price index rose 0.9% in September, bringing most of the 12-month inflation. SL’s inflation fell amid a credit contraction and an appreciation of the exchange rate from 360 to 324 allowed by the central bank after a currency crisis was ended with market-based interest rates. more..

President's Milad-un- Nabi Message

Sep 28 (PMD) My greetings to the Muslim community in Sri Lanka and around the world, observing Milad Un Nabi, being the auspicious occasion commemorating the birth anniversary of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam. He is celebrated as the final messenger of Allah, known for profound teachings of love and peace that encompass humanity. His journey to spread the message of Islam in the challenging societal context of that time, was marked by significant trials. more..

Sri Lanka to pass bill to extend bar opening hours; considers levy after 1 AM

Sep 28 (EN) SL is planning to pass laws to open liquor bars in hotels and restaurants until 1 am in the night and impose a levy for those who want to open them after 1 am, State Tourism Minister Diana Gamage said. Most bars are closed around 10 pm in the nights and some hotels have license to extend the bar operation until 12 mid nights as per a 2018 gazette notification issued by the Finance Ministry. more..

Vacancies at LKI filled, expanded Board of Management meets

Sep 28 (Island) The expanded Board of Management of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) met recently, presided over by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, in his capacity as the ex officio chairman of LKI. The meeting took place in the wake of Foreign Minister naming four new members to the LKI Board of Management to fill the vacancies. They were Attorney-at-Law Ruwantha Cooray, banker and Attorney-at-Law Mrs. Kimarli Fernando, more..

Six elephants killed in two separate train collisions

Sep 28 (AD) Six wild elephants were killed after colliding with trains in two separate incidents along the Batticaloa line at around midnight yesterday. Police stated that four elephants had died after colliding with the night mail train plying from Colombo to Kankasanthurai near Galgamuwa at around 12.00 midnight yesterday. Meanwhile, a female tusker and an elephant calf have collided with the Meenagaya train en route from Batticaloa to Colombo in Palugaswewa area of Habarana more..

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Politics of Easter investigation in a wriggling economy

Sep 28 (FT) Damning revelations relayed through the British TV Channel 4 by TMVP’s former ally Asad Moulana referring to hidden hands masterminding the macabre killing spree on the day of Easter 2019, carried out by a Muslim fanatical outfit, the National Tawheed Jamaat (NTJ), and accusations and counter accusations levelled against the veracity of those revelations by local political leaders and international groups, has prompted Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) to take some action. more..

Political trajectories and futures after the Easter massacre debate

Sep 28 (FT) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe misused his speech at the UN General Assembly to attack the Aragalaya that liberated SL from a racist autocrat and opened the path for him to become Prez. He falsified contemporary history: “…Even our Democratic traditions were threatened by attempts to occupy our Parliament and bring it to a halt. Nevertheless, we succeeded in bringing about a democratic political transition, due to our deeply entrenched & resilient democratic traditions.” more..

IMF gives mixed scorecard for Sri Lanka

Sep 28 (FT) IMF said SL is showing tentative signs of stabilisation but insisted concerted efforts are still required to steer the country towards a complete economic recovery. This observation follows the conclusion of a visit by an IMF staff mission team led by Peter Breuer and Katsiaryna Svirydzenka to Colombo from 14 to 27 Sept to discuss economic and financial policies to support the approval of the first review of the program more..

4 Lankan universities in int’l rankings

Sep 28 (TM) The Universities of Peradeniya, Colombo, Kelaniya, and Sri J'pura have been included in the 2024 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The rankings are an annual publication by the Times Higher Education magazine. Less than 2,000 of the world’s 30,000 universities are included in what is widely accepted as the most prestigious and influential global university rankings. The rankings cover the three main areas of university activity more..

Death sentence on five fishermen for trafficking 150 kilos of heroin

Sep 28 (DM) Five fishermen who trafficked 151.341 kilos of heroin on 2nd November 2019 were sentenced to death on three charges by the Colombo High Court. Suspects were sentenced to death after a long trial by Colombo HC Judge Namal Ballale, observing that the prosecution case against the five accused were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The five convicts Chaminda Fernando, Anton Fernando, Ravindra Perera, Liyanadurage Surange and Tharindu Fernando more..

Danushka Gunathilaka found not guilty of sexual assault

Sep 28 (SMH) SL cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been found not guilty of sexual assault by a Sydney judge who said the evidence established there was no opportunity for him to have removed a condom during sex, and that he was truthful in his police interview. The 32-year-old batsman was accused of stealthing during sex with a 29-year-old woman without her knowledge in her eastern suburbs home on Nov 2, 2022. more..

Parliament to debate on brain drain next week

Sep 28 (DM) Parliament is to debate on the brain drain which is said to be taking place in SL with the migration of professionals. Decision to have a debate on the topic was made during the party leader’s meeting which was held with Speaker Mahindananda Aluthgmage at the chair. The debate on brain drain is to take place on Friday, Oct 6, 2023. Civil Procedure Code (Amd) Bill (Second Reading), Elections (Special Provisions) Bill, Regulations under Mediation Act, more..

Ministry finalizing proposals to standardise pre-school education

Sep 28 (Island) Minister of Education, Susil Premajayantha said yesterday that a plan was underway to to standardise pre-school education in the country. He said: “There is a lot to change in the system. There are a lot of gaps in our early childhood development education compared to international standards. We don’t really have many meaningful regulations.” The Minister said that they are also paying a lot of attention to primary education. more..

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Sri Lanka and Australia mark 10 years of Operation Sovereign Borders

Sep 28 (FT) SL and Australia recently marked a decade of Operation Sovereign borders. Australian Govt in Sept 2013 established Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB), a military-led operation to address the scourge of criminal people smuggling activities organising dangerous maritime ventures targeting Australia. Commander Joint Agency Task Force Operation Sovereign Borders, Rear Admiral Justin Jones, CSC, RAN remarked that before the establishment of OSB, Australia saw more..

National Security Oversight Comm. Chief denied US visa

Sep 28 (Island) Chairman of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on National Security, Rear Admiral (retd) Sarath Weerasekera has told Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena that the US should not deny a visa to an MP nominated by the SL Parliament to join an official delegation unless he/she posed a threat to US interests. In a letter dated 25 Sept 2023, former Public Security Minister has informed Speaker Abeywardena the issuance of visas was the prerogative of US mission, more..

Warning issued over possible bid to postpone presidential election

Sep 28 (Island) Civil society activist Sirithunga Jayasuriya said that those genuinely concerned about political strategies of the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa govt should be wary of possible moves to put off the presidential election scheduled for next year. Pointing out that both PCs and LG polls hadn’t been held in violation of the supreme law of the land, Jayasuriya asserted that the possibility of the govt resorting to delaying more..

Health Ministry holds excess staff in the ministry

Sep 28 (DM) Remote hospitals, particularly those in peripheral areas, are grappling with a lack of medical doctors while the Health Ministry has an excess staff of 52 doctors, thus making many question the allocation of resources. This was revealed in the recently held COPA meeting. COPA convened the meeting to address various issues in the healthcare sector, including the shortage of medicines, migration of medical professionals and financial irregularities. more..

MoD announces updates to licensing conditions for private security agencies

Sep 28 (DM) In compliance with the provisions of the Private Security Agencies Regularization Act No. 45 of 1998, Ministry of Defence has initiated a comprehensive review and revision of the licensing conditions governing private security agencies currently registered under its purview. Under these new regulations, all private security agencies that are presently registered with Ministry of Defence are required to submit applications for license extensions covering the next 02 years. more..