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May Day: Workers are worthy of their wages

May 1 (DM) May Day or the Int'l Workers’ Day-- the day marking the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labour movement,- is observed in many countries today May 1. In the United States and Canada a similar observance, known as Labour Day, takes place on the first Monday of September. Above and beyond the processions, rallies and often false promises given on May Day, the day has deep significance for the working-class people who comprise the majority in our society. more..

Augmenting Sri Lanka’s foreign policy

May 1 (DM) Sri Lanka has seen an intensified degree of defence cooperation in 2021. In March, the Air Chiefs of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well the Commander of US Pacific Air Force visited Colombo for the 70th anniversary of the SL Air Force, and in April the Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe undertook a visit that included meetings with the President, PM and Defence Secretary. Engagement of this nature signals the crucial use of defence diplomacy, more..

Lester James Peries the Emancipator of Sinhala Cinema

May 1 (DM) Renowned SL Film Maker Lester James Peries passed away three years ago at the age of 99. Among the many who paid homage to the Maestro at that time was Asoka Handagama who is one of the two brightest directorial stars in the Sinhala film firmament of today. (The other is Prasanna Vithanage). Asoka used a reference by Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky to highlight an interesting more..

Coping with geopolitical challenges facing Sri Lanka

May 1 (Island) The most recent challenge that SL has had to face was associated with UNHRC Resolution A/HRC/46/L.Rev.1. This Resolution was primarily based on the Report of the UN appointed Commissioner for Human Rights. Despite objections raised the SL govt on grounds that the Report of the Commissioner violates the mandate granted by General Assembly Resolution 48/141 and that the Resolution itself violates UN Charter and lacks impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, more..

Is the govt to blame for the surge in Covid-19 cases?

May 1 (DM) With all hospitals entrusted with the care of Covid-19 patients reaching capacity, Sri Lanka is facing a critical moment of action. SL’s business capital Colombo and the Gampaha Districts are experiencing a surge in hospitalisations, despite a vaccine rollout that began early March this year. SL on Tuesday surpassed 1,000 daily cases for the first time since the outbreak of the disease in the country in 2020. While SL experienced relative success in controlling the disease during more..

SL enters into military assistance protocol with China amidst growing concerns

May 1 (CT) Prez Gotabhaya Rajapaksa wrote an official letter on 28 April to the Indian PM Narendra Modi expressing his empathy and solidarity with India as the country suffers from COVID-19. Prez Rajapaksa wrote that he has been observing with deep empathy and concern the immense suffering faced by the people of India recently because of COVID-19. However, Prez expressed his confidence that more..

Beating the Third Wave

May 1 (CT) Sri Lanka, since detecting its first COVID-19 case on 27 January 2020, that of a Chinese tourist and up to 10 a.m. on 30 April 2021, inclusive of both of those days, has detected a total of 106,484 COVID-19 cases and 667 deaths. The number of days that has passed in the review period, inclusive of 27 Jan 2020 and 30 Apr 2020 (as at 10 am) is 460. This works out to SL suffering 231.49 COVID-19 cases per diem and 1.45 deaths per diem, in the review period. more..

Will our large dams last forever?

May 1 (Island) Today, dams are indispensable structures for human prosperity and play a considerable role in the world economy and SL without exception. There are more than 59,000 large dams all over the world according to registered data of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). A dam is categorized as a large dam if the height of a dam is greater than 15 m. A dam of height 5 – 15 m is also considered a large dam if its storage capacity is more than 3 MCM. more..


Commissions of Inquiry: Grave threat to democracy and judicial independence

May 1 (GV) Several initiatives have already been taken to implement the recommendations of the final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into political victimization (the CoI) including the obtaining of Cabinet approval, the establishment of a Special Commission of Inquiry and a resolution tabled in Parliament. While Commissions of Inquiry have played a recurring role in distracting attention away from established mechanisms for justice and accountability in the past, the haste with more..

Editorial: May Day and Mayday

May 1 (Island) This year’s Int'l Workers’ Day has dawned while the global population is grappling with an unprecedented health emergency, which has taken a heavy toll on the world of work. More than 114 million people reportedly lost their jobs the world over, in 2020, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The International Labour Organisation says the working hours lost, last year, were equivalent to 225 million full-time jobs and caused a staggering loss of labour income to the tune of USD 3.7 trillion. more..

Can Sri Lanka survive B.1.1.7?

May 1 (EN) With the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant of Covid-19 now confirmed to be the dominant strain in SL, authorities are scrambling to prevent an unmitigated public health crisis à la India even as state hospitals run out of ICUs amid record daily cases. Of particular significance is a trend of younger people being admitted to ICUs with severe symptoms including debilitating breathing difficulties, despite no diagnoses of more..

Arguing with racists

May 1 (CT) Preface. St Augustine said he thinks he knows what time is but if someone were to ask him What is time?, he would find it difficult to answer. So it seems with the word race. We think we know its meaning and use the term with casual confidence. In literary theory, the Russian Formalists drew attention to the fact that language is the medium of literature, and one of the devices of literature was (through unusual use and collocation) to make strange the familiar and, therefore, draw attention. more..

Can SL play the geopolitical chess game?

May 1 (TM) SL’s position, which is both strategically and geographically significant, has been a blessing and at times a curse, and many countries have tried to befriend and/or influence the country. However, regardless of the nature of these international relationships, as a nation that has been struggling to get back on its feet for decades, the country’s leaders have a responsibility to ensure that they make more international friends than foes. It was due to projects such as the Hambantota Port, more..

AG gives undertaking Harin will not be arrested

May 1 (FT) Attorney General (AG) yesterday gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that MP Harin Fernando would not be arrested while his Fundamental Rights petition was being supported. AG made this statement when SJB MP Harin Fernando’s Fundamental Rights petition was taken up before the Supreme Court. Bench comprised Justices S. Thurairaja, K.K. Wickramasinghe, Mahinda Samayawardana. more..

Taskin Ahmed creates space for pace in new Bangladesh bowling plan

May 1 (CI) Taskin Ahmed hands his hat to his captain, takes the ball, grips it with his index and middle fingers, and gives it a bit of a flip… all fast bowlers do it, but it has been a curiously reassuring sight for followers of Bangladesh cricket in the ongoing Test series. That Bangladesh pace attack, led by Ahmed, nearly derailed SL in the morning session on the second day of the second Test in Pallekele, and both Abu Jayed and Shoriful Islam supported Ahmed with meaningful spells. more..

Dulanjan reignites diving career Down Under

May 1 (ST) Champion diver Dulanjan Fernando has shrugged off the disappointment of failing to make the cut for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games by reinventing his career after moving to Australia to pursue higher studies last year. The 21-year-old has reignited his dream of representing SL at the 2022 Commonwealth Games after achieving personal best performances in springboard events at the Australian Age National Diving Championships held in Melbourne & Queensland this month. more..

1,662 COVID-19 positive persons detected

May 1 (FT) The country’s total COVID-19 patient count yesterday rose to 108,146 with 1,662 COVID-19 patients detected within the day. This is the highest number of COVID-19 patients detected in a day and the fourth consecutive day where the daily patient count exceeded 1,000. The patients detected yesterday include 1,636 persons linked to the New Year cluster and the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, Prisons and New Year clusters more..

Sri Lanka inflation at 3.9% in April 2021

May 1 (EN) Sri Lanka’s inflation in the capital Colombo eased to 3.9% in the 12-months to April 2021, from 4.1% a month earlier with prices falling 0.1% during the month, data showed. The widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 index points to 138.8 points during the month. The food sub-index was 0.9 percent during the year. SL’s private credit has been weak up to January 2020, but the currency depreciated amid money printing and govt credit amid record money printing. more..

Sri Lanka records 11 new COVID deaths

May 1 (AD) Eleven more persons who were infected with COVID-19 have succumbed to the virus infection in SL, says the Director-General of Health Services. The latest coronavirus victims have pushed the country’s death toll from the pandemic outbreak to 678. 01. A 79-year-old woman from Piliyandala area: She died on admission to a private hospital in Colombo. The cause of death was determined as COVID pneumonia. 02. A 76-year-old man from Dehiattakandiya area: more..

'Cautious management essential for growth'

May 1 (FT) As Sri Lanka grapples with a third COVID-19 wave, the Govt has to cautiously manage external pressures, fiscal challenges and focus policy adjustments to address the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on the underprivileged, the Central Bank said yesterday. Releasing the Annual Report 2020, the CB emphasised major fiscal challenges that need to be addressed by the Govt include more..

Opposition Leader's May Day Message

May 1 (DN) The working class is suffering extreme circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation while the Govt is only pursuing its own political agendas, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa issuing a May Day message said. The message: “This time, the May Day comes at a time when the entire human race is in the midst of a catastrophe caused by the Coronavirus. The world has been suffering this pandemic for 2 years. It is difficult to find a time in the last century when more..

Mahapola Trust Fund’s subsidiaries marred by financial irregularities

May 1 (ST) Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund established four decades ago in 1981 by the then Education Minister Lalith Athulathmudali to assist the needy university students is marred by financial irregularities under its subsidiary National Wealth Corporation Ltd during the last 10-15 years. COPE has come across these financial misappropriations of the Mahapola Scholarship Trust Fund with a net worth of Rs.12 billion incurring a massive loss of Rs.673 million for the state more..

Man who opposed closure of road for Gen. Wei’s convoy released on bail

May 1 (CT) Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya yesterday released on bail a suspect, who was charged with obstructing the Police officers on duty at the Borella Junction during the recent visit by the Chinese Defence Minister. Magistrate, before releasing the suspect on surety bail of Rs 50,000, also sternly warned him on his conduct and asserted that although he lived in Australia and obtained more..

TISL invites MPs to signal a culture of accountability by disclosing assets

May 1 (Island) Transparency International SL (TISL) has written to all MPs to publicly disclose their asset declarations for 2020/2021. Issuing a press release, the TISL said it calls on the MPs to follow the example set by 12 Parliamentarians of the previous Parliament, from various parties, who came forward to unilaterally publish their asset declarations in the public domain, marking a significant shift towards a culture of electoral accountability. TISL said it also encourages all elected officials at more..

CERT to introduce e-learning of cybersecurity

May 1 (TM) SL Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), tech arm of the Technology Ministry, is planning to launch e-learning on cybersecurity to enhance knowledge and develop highly skilled professionals, in both the private and public sectors, to detect and battle cyberattacks. SL CERT, Projects, Research & Policy Department Project Manager Pubudu Withanage stated that his dept first proposed this project last year. “This started prior to my position as Project Manager. more..

Controversial Hiru interview with SLSI DG: Unedited YouTube video self-explanatory

May 1 (Island) Hiru journalist Panuka Rajapaksa said that he had been quite surprised when the CID recorded his statement on Apr 28 in respect of an interview telecast on April 3 with Director General, SL Standards Institute (SLSI), Dr. Siddhika Senaratne, who acknowledged the SLSI suppressed the identities of those selling contaminated food items. Stating that Hiru had fully cooperated with the police investigation, more..

Sri Lanka-Oman bilateral cooperation in food sector mooted

May 1 (FT) Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman Ameer Ajwad met with Oman Food Investment Holding Co. (SAOC) CEO Saleh M. Al Shanfari and had a productive discussion on the promotion of bilateral trade in the food sector between Sri Lanka and Oman. They also explored new areas for mutual cooperation in the food sector and agreed to connect B2B links between Oman Food Investment Holding Co. (OFIC) and food sector companies in Sri Lanka. more..

May Day message of the JVP

May 1 (LT) Working masses should come forward to spearhead the struggle to create a new society. The 1st of May, Int'l Workers’ Day, is when the working masses throughout the world display their militancy and unity. May Day is not a mere holiday given to the masses by liberal capitalist rulers to rejoice. It is the day to commemorate the militancy of the working masses and their sacrifices. May Day was based on the massive struggle carried out by workers in Chicago in 1886 demanding more..

233 Lankan workers died by suicide abroad

May 1 (CT) Statistics obtained from SLBFE show that between 2011 and 2021, out of 2,822 deaths of Sri Lankans reported in 40 countries, 233 were suicides. There are a total 40 countries where SLBFE-registered migrant workers have been employed in the last 10 years. These statistics of the registered migrant workers show that the highest number of suicides had occurred in Saudi Arabia and it stands at 99 during the same period. more..

PM's May Day Message

May 1 (DN) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa issuing a message to mark May Day appreciated the commitment and efforts of the working people towards achieving socio-economic development even in the face of an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Message: “It is with great pleasure that I extend my best wishes to all working people on this Int'l Workers’ Day. “The International Workers’ Day, which was started to win workers’ rights, is the greatest day of the working people. more..

Prez's May Day Message

May 1 (TM) Prez today issued his May Day message stating that as promised to the people, the govt has safeguarded national security and sovereignty. “Similarly, we have ensured that no harm would befall to our national legacy and heritage. Steps are being taken implement policies for the growth of local industries and agriculture-based economy. A clear, well-defined economic plan has been formulated and being implemented to eradicate poverty, which is the biggest burden more..

Medical Specialists: Only 28 hospitals have liquid oxygen tanks

May 1 (Island) Noting that the best way to deliver oxygen to a patient’s bedside is to have piped oxygen distributed from a central liquid oxygen tank, rather than using cylinders, the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) has said that SL only has 28 such liquid oxygen tanks installed in hospitals. The sizes of those tanks ranged from 3,000 to 20,000 litres, but only two had 20,000 litre tanks. more..

Sri Lanka aims to be first in world to eliminate chemical fertiliser usage

May 1 (DM) In a move to shift towards a more sustainable economic growth path, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced this week his goal to make Sri Lanka the first country in the world to do away with chemical fertilisers. While concerns have been raised by businesses on the possible implications that could arise from the move, Rajapaksa asserted there would be no turning back on the decision made and he would take up the challenge to implement the same. more..

Hundreds gather outside Kilinochchi courts to obtain bail for family members

May 1 (Island) Over 300 people gathered opposite the Kilinochchi Court on Thursday to obtain bail for their family members, arrested by the police for violating COVID-19 health guidelines. As those who had gathered outside the court too were violating health guidelines, PHIs and the Police had to warn them. Police arrested about 70 people for violating the Covid-19 protocol. On Thursday three COVID-19 cases were reported from Kilinochchi for the first time. more..

Sri Lanka declares worst economic downturn in 73 years

May 1 (AFP) SL announced Friday that its economy shrank 3.6% last year due to Covid-19 pandemic, making it the worst downturn since independence from Britain in 1948. The unprecedented recession compared with a 2.3% GDP growth in 2019, Central Bank said in its annual report for 2020. It hoped the economy would rebound in 2021 and record an optimistic 6% growth on the back of improved local manufacturing and services. more..

Sri Lanka in Geneva

May 1 (FT) It should be clear to anyone who followed the headlines from SL in March that the country has continued its downward spiral on the stage of global affairs. The yardstick that reveals this trend is the number of votes the Govt was able to muster over a resolution during the human rights sessions in Geneva. Only 11 of the 47 members of the UNHRC were convinced by SL’s case and voted for it this year. This is quite a diplomatic fall from grace, and it raises questions if the country more..

Inspirational rulers

May 1 (FT) Recently I read a news item that appeared in the Daily FT reported by Reuters which said that the Norwegian Police had fined its PM Erna Solberg for breaking COVID-19 social distancing rules when the Premier organised a family gathering to celebrate her birthday. The fine was Norwegian Crowns 20,000 ($ 2,352), as said by Police Chief Ole Saeverud at a news conference. The words which are echoing in our ears and unbelievable in a SL context are that the two-term Premier more..

මගේ අත්අඩංගුවට ගැනීම කුමන්ත්‍රණයක්: අසේල සම්පත්

Singapore bars long-term pass holders, visitors from Sri Lanka

May 1 (ST) All long-term pass holders and short-term visitors who have been in Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the last two weeks will no longer be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, Education Minister Lawrence Wong announced yesterday. This move, which kicks in from 11.59pm today, also applies to those who had transited through these countries, as well as to those who had obtained prior approval for entry to Singapore. more..