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A constitutional solution to the impending constitutional crisis

May 1 (GV) The threefold crisis that our country faces— public health, the constitutional, and political—is exacerbating day by day. In the latest development, a number of soldiers of the naval and special task forces of the Welisara and Seeduwa camps, who have been on front-line duty, have contacted the virus. At the same time, the virus has begun to spread in new villages outside Colombo and among low-income neighbourhoods in the Colombo city. more..

Way forward for a responsible lockdown exit strategy

May 1 (CT) Following the countless days of social and economic quarantine, political leaders and citizens across the globe, eager to re-emerge from CoVid-19 fuelled lockdowns. The question is, how? Propose a framework for what is arguably the ever-difficult challenge that any governments has ever faced since the existence of the governance: a responsible lockdown exit strategy. Literally, physical distancing measures such as lockdowns only slow down the spread of the virus. more..

Sri Lanka, home to four new beetle species

May 1 (TM) Sasanka Ranasinghe aims to obtain her doctorate in the field of coleopterology, which is the specific study of beetles in the field of entomology (the study of insects). Although Sri Lanka is a country which is no stranger to insects, it is not often we hear about the study of these, unless in cases similar to mosquitoes being studied to understand the spread of diseases such as dengue or malaria or of beetles as they are pests more..

Reconvening Parliament as polls postponed

May 1 (GV) Even for a country that coped with and ended a near thirty year long civil war, the Covid-19 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge, not merely in the area of public health, but also economically of a magnitude that has the potential to cause significant social upheaval. The backbone of Sri Lanka’s economy has been our expatriate worker remittances, tourism and the apparel industry. The global nature of the Covid-19 epidemic, styled a global pandemic by the WHO, more..

Surviving the apocalypse

May 1 (CT) The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, and social lockdowns by govts, has caused a massive economic shock to businesses around the world. SL suffered a double whammy, as our economy was just recovering from the Easter Sunday Attacks of April 2019. For businesses everywhere, this pandemic is an extinction-level event. Airline companies are falling like flies; South African Airlines has shut down after 86 years in operation; private airline companies are failing, more..

Lankan medic’s prediction becomes reality

May 1 (DM) When Dr. Chamal Sanjeewa, Registrar in Medical Administration, Postgraduate Institute of Medicine at Colombo University predicted a possible outbreak of a novel coronavirus back in 2013, neither the authorities nor the public gave much attention. The article was first published in a Sinhala newspaper during the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in certain other parts of the world. more..

Unchanging nature of our political system

May 1 (DM) This is a country that’s obsessed with elections. Now most of the citizens of the country are getting ready for the upcoming Parliamentary Elections. What we are not obsessed with is to send lawmakers with a clean sheet to parliament. Prez Rajapaksa wishes to have the elections and to install a new cabinet in parliament. One of his pledges during the last prez elections was to create a secure nation where people belonging to Sinhala, Tamil & Muslim races can live in harmony. more..

Being in the Republic of Fear

May 1 (DM) Just over a year ago terrorists adhering to the Islamic faith (as interpreted by them), i.e. the National Thowheeth Jama’ath or National Monotheism Organization, executed several brutal attacks that left more than 300 people dead, an equal or more injured, caused much damage to the targeted establishments and wrecked the tourist industry. The following is a part of some observations that my niece, Duranya Freeman, penned from Colorado, USA: more..

Travel Girl: Colombo

The media in times of Covid-19 with Thanuja Jayawardana

May 1 (TM) The media, traditional or otherwise, has long been recognised as a powerful force shaping how we experience the world and ourselves. Its role becomes even more pronounced during times of crisis, as the world collectively experiences the many effects of a global pandemic, which is devastatingly not limited to health, but also a grave economic downfall. Considering the role of the media in such times, we reached out to veteran journalist and renowned media personality more..

England wouldn’t have won Kandy 2001 had there been DRS

May 1 (Island) What lockdown means is that you get a chance to watch some of the interesting cricket matches over the years. One such is Sri Lanka’s narrowest defeat in Test cricket – the epic Kandy match in 2001 against England. This was a time when cricket in Kandy was a hop, step and a jump from the Railway Station – the good old days of Asgiriya. You can easily get the morning train from Colombo and then walk to the ground from the Kandy station. more..

National Steering Committee proposed to revive agri industry

May 1 (FT) Sri Lanka Agripreneurs’ Forum yesterday proposed a slew of new measures to support the agriculture sector, including setting up a National Steering Committee with 60% representation from the private sector. In an open letter to Prez Rajapaksa the forum put forward a set of proposals, which it emphasised would support the livelihoods of about three million Sri Lankans employed in the sector. more..

Editorial: Virus and labour

May 1 (Island) This year’s International Workers’ Day has dawned amidst doom and gloom across the globe. It is being celebrated without mass gatherings on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. Workers will neither miss nor lose anything owing to the cancellation of May Day processions, which are only a shameful display of the servility of the working class to political leaders who use trade unions to further their own interests. Chaos that the spread of coronavirus and the resultant lockdowns more..

Is this really a turning point?

May 1 (Island) People who look for silver linings (aka optimists) think that Covid-19 might be the inflection point where we start getting serious about our relationship with the planet. There’s no direct link between coronavirus and climate change, but if a tiny virus can bring our whole bustling civilisation to a halt, then how vulnerable will we be to a disordered environment driven by out-of-control global heating? Just in time we are being taught humility and perspective, the optimists say. more..

England Test tour re-scheduled for Jan 2021

May 1 (DN) Two-Test series between SL and England which is part of the World Test Championship has been rescheduled in SL for January next year, Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva said yesterday. “We are in the process of rescheduling the tours that have been postponed. England has been already rescheduled for the month of January next year but the dates have not been finalised,” more..

Sajith calls for depoliticised relief for masses

May 1 (FT) SJB leader Sajith Premadasa called on the Govt to ensure that relief delivered to daily wage earners and industries be done without politicisation. Issuing a statement for May Day, Premadasa said that it was the Govt’s responsibility to ensure a conducive economic climate for the working public to survive in times of crisis. “The working public is facing uncertain times due to the COVID-19 virus, for thousands, their employment is no longer certain, their daily struggle has become worse,” more..

Power and the pandemic

May 1 (FT) SL is now confronted with an extremely complex and decisive crisis unprecedented in the modern history of SL. Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, the State, the social order and the economy of SL were on the verge of near collapse. The outbreak of the pandemic on top of that can be said to have worsened the crisis in terms of its magnitude and complexity. The current crisis is meant to put all the things that SL deems important into a crucial test, more..

Sri Lanka inflation slows to 5.2% in April 2020

May 1 (EN) Sri Lanka’s 12-month inflation slowed to 5.2% in April 2020, from 5.4% in March with prices rising 0.1% during the month, data showed. Colombo Consumer Price Index, the country’s most widely watched inflation gauge rose to 137.7 points in April from 136.9 in March. The food index of the consumer price index grew 0.4% to 142.2 points from 141.6 points. The non-food index was flat 130.2 points. more..

Hectic schedules and fears of infecting his loved ones

May 1 (ST) Dr. Sachith Wijesiriwardena is at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, which is a COVID-19 centre for the state. Working as an Advanced Trainee in General Medicine, he would return to Sri Lanka as a Consultant Physician soon. It was while enjoying his stay in Adelaide and also the hospital environment that COVID-19 struck. “As of now I personally believe that we have things under control in our area and the hospital is well organised as it is a large one with more..

SLIIT Biotechnology programme encourages opportunities surrounding agricultural...

May 1 (Island) The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has resulted in grave implications for the nation’s population resulting in not only a health crisis but also a threat to food security in the long term. To overcome future adverse effects of these threats, there is a vital need to create more synergies in food technology, agriculture and biotechnology, prioritizing and adapting innovation as main drivers of productivity and sustainability. SLIIT’s BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology degree positions students more..

Repatriation of Sri Lankan Students from South Asia concludes

May 1 (MFA) With the arrival this evening (30) of UL 1188 carrying 125 Sri Lankan students from Kolkata, the operation to bring home 1065 Sri Lankan students based in the South Asian region, over 10 days, reached a successful conclusion. Commencing on 21 April, a total of nine (9) Sri Lankan Airlines special flights were used to destinations in India (Punjab, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, New Delhi and Kolkata) more..

Sri Lankan hotel sector facing unprecedented challenges

May 1 (Island) The current challenges facing SL’s hotel sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented and the country may be losing billions of dollars as revenue as a result of the sector coming to a standstill, Senior Vice President, Galle Face Hotel Management Company and Senior Consultant cum General Manager, Waters Edge Hotel Chandra Mohotti said. Leisure industry veteran and hotelier of repute Mohotti speaking to The Island Financial Review in an interview recently said more..

Know your enemy

May 1 (CT) Know Your Enemy is derived from a 5th Century BC Chinese publication titled the Art of War, authored by the ancient Chinese military strategist called Tsun Tzu. In Sri Lanka's war against the Tamil terrorists and subsequently the LTTE, this was successfully practised by Generals Vijaya Wimalaratne and Denzil Kobbekaduwa in Operation Liberation (26May1987 - 4July1987) before it was checkmated by Indian military intervention and by the current President more..

President's May Day message

May 1 (FT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday expressed confidence that COVID-19 will be contained due to the support of the working class and that this achievement will be notched up alongside others in history. Releasing his May Day message, the Prez emphasised the respect he has for the working masses, as well as their resilience and commitment. Full statement: I wish to make use of this occasion more..

SL expectant mothers stranded in India

May 1 (DM) A group of SL expectant mothers who are currently stranded in a hospital in India have requested SL authorities to help them return to the island. The group of seven expectant mothers who have been admitted to a hospital in India for various treatments have been stranded in the hospital for weeks, unable to return to the island due to the curfew imposed by the govt of India in order to contain the spread of Covid-19. "I came to Prashanth Hospital in India for treatment more..

'Dissolved parliament cannot be reconvened'

May 1 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states the parliament which has been dissolved cannot be reconvened. President has stated this yesterday (29) in response to the letter directed to him by opposition parties representing the dissolved govt, urging the President to reconvene the parliament. Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundara, has written to former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa informing him of the President’s response to their letter. more..

EPF member returns drop to 9.25% in 2019

May 1 (CT) SL's largest private sector retirement fund, the EPF has declared an interest rate of 9.25% on member balances in 2019 after transferring Rs 7.7 billion to the Profit Equalisation Reserve, the Central Bank, fund's custodian, stated in its latest annual report. The fund had declared an interest rate of 9.5% on member balances in 2018. Meanwhile, the total value of the Fund increased by Rs 251.1 billion to Rs 2,540.4 billion more..

PM calls a meeting with former MPs

May 1 (CT) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited all Parliamentarians of the dissolved Parliament to Temple Trees at 10 a.m. on 4 May to apprise them regarding measures that had been taken by the Govt to control the spread of COVID-19 and the present situation in the country. A Govt source said the Premier has invited all 225 MPs of the previous House for the discussion. Health Services Director General, Dr. Anil Jasingha is also expected to be a part of this meeting. more..

Drone operators invited to offer COVID-19 services

May 1 (DM) Civil Aviation Authority of SL (CAASL) invited the drone operators having the potential, capability and interest to offer Drone Technology services during COVID-19 pandemic. These services include COVID-19 preventive measures and / or humanitarian tasks. CAASL requested the drone operators to contact the authority early to form a pool of drone operators which can undertake tasks to be assigned by Health and other relevant authorities such as air transportation of more..

Delay in bringing Easter Sunday conspirators to justice: Church plans public protest

May 1 (Island) The Catholic Church said that a strong public protest campaign would be launched against the failure on the part of the govt to punish those responsible for the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, once the COVID-19 epidemic was under control. Addressing print and electronic media, Rev. Father Cyril Gamini said that the Church delayed the planned protest campaign, due to the eruption of COVID-19. more..

Red May Day: JVP to stream live event on Facebook

May 1 (CT) The JVP has decided to hold its Red May Day commemorative event through a live event on Facebook, commencing at 10:00 a.m. today (1). Party General Secretary, Tilvin Silva, said that among the themes the Party will be paying attention to during this exercise would be ensuring the safety of the people during the pandemic, providing relief to all who have been affected by the pandemic, and exerting pressure on the Govt not to tamper with true democracy. more..

'Elections were held while dengue was killing 500 to 600 people a year'

May 1 (Island) Elections had been held at a time when 500-600 people were dying each year, of dengue, co-cabinet spokesman, Bandula Gunawardane said. He made this statement, responding to a question posed by a journalist on holding the general election during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Under the previous govt, hundreds of people were dying of dengue but still elections were held. The deaths caused by COVID-19 are nothing compared to dengue," he said. more..

COVID-19 recovery requires nimble policymaking: Experts

May 1 (FT) As Sri Lanka looks to ease curfew, the Govt will need to be nimble in its policymaking if it is to balance economic recovery with effective COVID-19 mitigation, medical experts said yesterday, calling for ramping-up of testing and strictly enforcing social distancing guidelines, warning two-thirds of local patients were asymptomatic at the time of testing. Titled Breaking the Transmission Chain through Community more..

Seven including Nawalapitiya UC Chairman arrested

May 1 (AD) The Chairman of the Nawalapitiya Urban Council and several of his associates have been arrested by the Ginigathena Police at a tourist hotel in Ambagamuwa, Ginigathena, today (30). Reportedly, they had been engaging in heavy drinking and gambling by violating quarantine regulations. The cash used for gambling, several bottles of toddy, the chairman’s personal vehicle, and two vehicles belonging to his associates were taken into police custody. more..

Polls Chief needs 35 days to prepare for election

May 1 (Island) It would take almost 35 days to prepare for an election and the approval of health authorities and the buy-in of elections officials were needed to hold a successful election, Head of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya told the media. "If we are to hold an election on June 20, we need to start at least on May 15. That means the country should return to normal by that time. We must listen to health officials and also take into account how our officers feel. more..

COVID–19 control programme to be strengthened identifying and...

May 1 (PMD) Prez Rakapaksa reiterates that COVID- 19 control activities should be strengthened by identifying and correction shortcoming and omissions during a discussion with members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19 prevention held at the Presidential Secretariat today (30). Quoting the renowned pathologist Prof. Malik Peiris, resident in Hong Kong, doctors told the gathering that measures taken by the Govt more..

May Day

May 1 (FT) Today is World Labour Day, more popularly known as the May Day. World history records it as the day of commemoration for the workers of United States who agitated at the cost of several human lives and with much bloodshed, during the demonstrations and the strike, demanding an eight-hour working day, starting on 1 May 1886 in the United States, culminating in the famous Haymarket Square Massacre. No single event has influenced the history of labour in entire world more..

Evidence over theology is needed here

May 1 (FT) Almost all local discussions hinge around bizarre statements like this: “The virus is not contained, lockdown must continue.” “We had a spike in cases, clearly the virus is not contained, we must continue lockdown.” First and foremost a curfew (not utilised in over 195 countries globally as the lockdown strategy, nor ever called for by the WHO) is NOT the same as lockdown. A lockdown is a targeted attempt to (briefly) flatten what is feared to be a potentially explosive growth more..

Mangala Samaraweera

Two persons, including EPDP member, attacked and hospitalised

May 1 (Island) Two persons including an EPDP member, were admitted to the Jaffna Hospital after being attacked in a clash between two groups, at Chavakachcheri, yesterday. The clash occurred following a heated argument at the Chavakachcheri local council over moonshine trade in the area. During the clash, EPDP member, A. Nirmalrohan, and another person, were attacked with sharp objects. They were first admitted to the Chavakachcheri hospital and then were more..