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Make the ocean great again: Bigger role by girls and women

Jun 8 (DM) Decades ago, the famous singing duo Nina and Frederik wrote an immortal song relating to the ocean. It goes like this, “Listen to the ocean, echoes of a million sea shells, forever it’s in motion, moving to a rhythmic, unwritten music that’s played eternally”. Words such as these revive memories of a beautiful ocean, especially for islands like Sri Lanka, as the United Nations’ today marks World Oceans Day, amid a warning by the General Assembly Prez, that decades of overuse more..

President demands suspension of PSC on terror attacks

Jun 8 (FT) In a rushed special Cabinet meeting lasting over an hour yesterday, President Maithripala Sirisena strongly opposed the Parliament Select Committee on the Easter Sunday attacks continuing its hearings, calling it a political witch hunt against him. An angry Sirisena accused some of the members of the PSC, MPs Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, and more..

PM discusses new counter terrorism law with UN

Jun 8 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday discussed with a top UN delegation, Sri Lanka’s plans to introduce a Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) in place of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). They agreed that Sri Lanka needed foreign assistance, and funds required for the project could be released from the Treasury. The UN delegation comprised Masood Karimipour (UNODC), Hanaa Singer (UN Resident Coordinator), Leila Ezzarqui, Adria De Landri, and Gita Sabharwal. more..

Batticaloa private campus project put on hold

Jun 8 (ST) A project to construct a private campus in a 20-acre Batticaloa land provided by the state to the Ameer Ali Foundation has been put on hold on a directive of District Secretary M. Udayakumar. He said the project had been put on hold following complaints that the land had been allocated for the campus despite the area’s people not having land for resettlement. In 2017, the land was allocated to the foundation headed by State Minister Ameer Ali to build a campus with foreign funding. more..

Govt defends ECT agreement with India, Japan

Jun 8 (FT) Govt yesterday told Parliament that ownership of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port will be held by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), and that Japan and India would only collaborate to develop the terminal. According to the Govt, majority ownership of the ECT will remain with the SLPA. The proposed joint venture company will allow SLPA to own 51% of the stake, while the remainder will be more..

Emergency: Siddarthan defends TNA stand

Jun 8 (Island) TNA MP Dharmalingham Siddarthan said that the alliance was unhappy about the military adopting far harsher security measures in the Northern and Eastern areas in the wake of re-imposition of emergency regulations, hence the decision to call for a division. Vanni District MP representing the PLOTE said so when The Island sought an explanation from him as to why the TNA had voted against emergency against the backdrop of the NTJ suicide bombers more..

JVP worried over possible coffin shortage

Jun 8 (FT) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake cautioned President Maithripala Sirisena against banning timber mills, pointing out entrepreneurs engaged in small carpentry businesses would suffer, and the ban could even lead to a coffin shortage. Questioning the possible use of aluminium-based coffins and their linked health concerns, MP said: “We foresee a considerable health issue. We use wood coffins to bury the dead. I would like to know if it is safe to use aluminium coffins to bury, more..

Opposition demands halt to signing agreements with foreign countries in secret

Jun 8 (Island) SL’s agreements with foreign countries on matters related to the economy and national security should be presented to Parliament and approved by a two-thirds majority, the opposition demanded. MP Dinesh Gunwardena told parliament that the govt had signed an agreement to hand over a corridor from Trincomalee to the Colombo Port to the US without even informing it to Parliament. "The other thing is handing over terminals in more..

Dialog 5G Mobile service demonstrates South Asia’s fastest mobile speeds

Jun 8 (DN) Dialog Axiata, showcased download speeds in excess of 1.4Gbps using a commercial 5G mobile handset, highest speed that has been achieved via a mobile handset in South East Asia. Mobile 5G services were demonstrated on the 3.6Ghz trial spectrum that the TRC allocated for 5G pre-commercial trial. This announcement follows Dialog’s demonstration of a fully standards based 5G mobile service for the first time in South Asia in Mar 2019, and the first standards based 5G more..

Sri Lanka shares experience in addressing sexual and gender based violence

Jun 8 (MFA) Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana was in Oslo on 24 May 2019 to participate as a panellist at the international conference on Ending Sexual and Gender based Violence in Humanitarian Crises (SGBV). He was invited to the conference by the Govt of Norway. Speaking at the high level panel on Setting the Standards for Prevention of and Response to SGBV: progress in addressing operational challenges, chaired by UNFPA Executive Director Natalie Kanem, more..

JO questions bid to play down NTJ attacks on Tamils

Jun 8 (Island) JO MP Shehan Semasinghe says sufficient attention hadn’t been paid to the now proscribed National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) targeting the Tamil community in Easter attacks. Well over a month after the Easter Sunday carnage the govt was yet to give a breakdown of the victims as per the ethnicity, lawmaker Semasinghe said. He alleged that a deliberate attempt was being made to depict the April 21 bombing campaign more..

NES progress reviewed with core team

Jun 8 (DN) The Export Development Board (EDB) Advisory Committees of the focus sectors of the National Export Strategy, reported their sector progress, issues and targets for the year 2019 at the Core Team meeting chaired by Minister Malik Samarawickrama, on May 30, at the Ministry. National Export Strategy for Sri Lanka 2018-2022 was formulated under the guidance of the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade and with other Govt & private sector stakeholders more..

Dutch tourists eager to visit Sri Lanka

Jun 8 (GDI) The number of tourists from The Netherlands travelling to Sri Lanka has begun to pick up, following the relaxation of the travel advisory by the Dutch Govt last Friday, 31.05.2019. In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on 21 April 2019, many countries, including The Netherlands issued travel advisories to their citizens advising them to visit Sri Lanka, only if necessary. This resulted in a sharp decline in tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. more..

Heartbreak hotel all over Sri Lanka

Jun 8 (ST) The armchair view from Colombo’s Taj Samudra of the Galle Face Green and the blue waters of the Indian Ocean is breathtaking. Kings with their consorts, heads of state with their grandiose limousines, politicians, bureaucrats and food-loving Sri Lankans with a penchant for Indian cuisine have crossed the wide entrance day in and day out. Last week, it was closed. Behind the iron gates lay coiled more..

Ven Gnanasara Thera allowed foreign travel

Jun 8 (CT) Colombo Additional Magistrate Kanchana de Silva, temporarily lifted the overseas travel ban imposed on Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, who has been charged with obstructing a Police Officer from doing his duty. When the case was taken up for hearing yesterday, the lawyer representing the monk requested the Court to temporarily lift the overseas travel ban imposed on his client, as he was scheduled to attend a convention in Japan shortly. more..

Nadeesha clocks seasonal best for Bronze

Jun 8 (CT) Quarter-miler Nadeesha Ramanayaka clocked a seasonal best 53.18 seconds to win the Bronze medal as Sri Lanka finished with three medals, during the second leg of the Asian Grand Prix held at Chongqing, China, yesterday. Nadeesha, the Asian Championship finalist, with a personal best of 53.03 seconds, could not find her last year’s form during the early season in 2019; but she returned to a seasonal best during the first leg of Asian Grand Prix on Tue clocking 53.24s more..

Citizen movement for principled politics

Jun 8 (FT) With the hopes of bringing the public together to press for change, a few businessmen have brought forward a people’s mandate, requesting all patriotic citizens of SL to participate in signing it to press the Govt for more transparency and accountability. The mandate, carrying six propositions, is aimed at compelling politicians to take notice of the changes people are pushing for, & to indirectly make use of it as a referendum. more..

Sri Lanka showcases logistics sector at world's leading fair in Munich

Jun 8 (Island) Sri Lanka's leading companies were promoting the country at the world’s leading logistics fair in Munich, Germany (June 4-7) as a strategic geographic location for the global logistics industry along the main east-west sea route in the Indian Ocean. This is being done with a view to developing the Port of Colombo as a logistics and distribution hub providing all services and facilities for integrated connectivity, beyond transshipment. High-ranking representatives of the SL Port Authority, more..

SLIIT pursues cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs

Jun 8 (Island) SLIIT, recognised as SL's premier non-state university, in a pioneering effort is offering students the opportunity to pursue the science of living organisms and its practical application through the launch of a BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology. Overall, SLIIT’s Faculty of Humanities and Sciences new BSc (Hons) Biotechnology offers the first ever solely local Bio degree to help students discover the fascinating world of biological and biomedical sciences and earn a degree presenting more..

Microplastics a key factor in Sri Lanka’s plunging fish stocks, survey shows

Jun 8 (MB) Plummeting fish stocks and crisis-level volumes of plastic pollution should spur SL to adopt new regulations and mechanisms to prevent further contamination of the seas around it, experts say. The call comes in the wake of findings from a 2018 survey — commissioned by National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) and supported by Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and carried out on Norwegian research vessel more..

Itinerary symbolism: on PM Modi's Maldives, Sri Lanka visit

Jun 8 (Hindu) In a reaffirmation of New Delhi’s Neighbourhood First policy, PM Narendra Modi’s first visit abroad is to the Maldives and SL, while S. Jaishankar wraps up his first visit abroad as Foreign Minister to Bhutan. Leaders of several neighbouring countries were invited to Mr. Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. This is the first state visit by Mr. Modi to Male, which he had visited briefly for the swearing-in of President Ibu Solih in Nov 2018. A series of agreements are expected during the visits, more..

'ASFS is made up of sports-loving people who are driven by passion, not money'

Jun 8 (DN) The newly formed Association of Sports Federations Society (ASFS) is a complimentary organization to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of SL and the Ministry of Sports and not positioning itself as a rival body in governing sports in the country, says former SL oarsman Rohan Fernando. “This (ASFS) is not a replacement for the National Olympic Committee. We are not going to be a rival to the Olympic committee. We are not going to overpower the Olympic committee. more..

Farbrace's mantra: Kusal as floater, Mathews at No. 4

Jun 8 (CI) Sri Lanka should move Angelo Mathews up the order and get back to playing their cricket on the front foot, according to former coach Paul Farbrace. After a washout in their match against Pakistan at Bristol, Sri Lanka find themselves sitting third on the table - for 24 hours or so, at least - with three points from three games, and Farbrace suggested they still had the capability to make an impact on the World Cup. more..

Come buy my wares; on Instagram of course

Jun 8 (ST) Methma Jayawardhana runs a business in which she might never meet her customer, even though her products are customised, intricate and deeply personal. The young entrepreneur is a graduate of the University of Moratuwa and founder of the brand Loha. “The main intention of Loha is to reach passionate jewellery wearers through bespoke jewellery designing,” says the 25-year-old. “Listening to their rough ideas, favourite inspirations, stories and finally summarizing more..

Policy shifts in Colombo-US relations

Jun 8 (CT) US Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan will not be coming to Sri Lanka on his way back to the US, after attending the 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, where he gave China a stinging rebuke saying that the US will no longer tip-toe around China’s behaviour in Asia. Would that also include Sri Lanka? Obviously. A fortnight ago, SL Defence Secretary Tilak Marapana met his US counterpart in Washington Mike Pompeo to tell him, with Prez Sirisena’s not-so-warm more..

New Battle for Media Freedom

Jun 8 (Island) There is much more than a warning finger directed towards journalists and the media. The country that revoked the Criminal Defamation Law in 2002 is moving under the shadow of the Easter Sunday tragedy and the politics of ethnic and religious hatred, to bring in special amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to restore the anti-democratic features of Criminal Defamation legislation. more..

Editorial: Cop’s tale

Jun 8 (Island) IGP Pujith Jayasundera, currently on compulsory leave, dropped a bombshell, on Thursday, while testifying before the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), which is probing the Easter bombings and allied issues. He revealed an abortive attempt by Prez Sirisena to make him the fall guy. He said the President had asked him to take the blame for the security lapses that had led to the Easter carnage, resign and accept a diplomatic post, or lose both his job and pension. more..

Celebrating World Environment Day – Sri Lankan style

Jun 8 (Island) The World Environment Day fell on 06 June and the SL govt celebrated this day by launching a special tree planting programme led by President Maithripala Sirisena at a function held at the BMICH premises. At this function, Prez Sirisena was reported to have said that he would ban the import of machinery including chain saws used for felling trees. He has further said that he will not allow opening of new carpentry sheds, and ask saw mill owners to close down saw mills more..


Losses of squeezing Kandy

Jun 8 (ST) One day in early April, Luxman Siriwardena, Executive Director of the Pathfinder Foundation and I were at Peradeniya University. As we left Colombo early morning, we could avoid the traffic flows on Kandy road, and were able to reach Peradeniya University in four hours. But the return trip on the same day afternoon took more than five hours. Perhaps today we are living in a particular time period which is characterised by the most difficult traffic jams and more..

Fake Napoleons and a Hot Summer

Jun 8 (CT) Would it be fake if we said that the planned SOFA agreement between the U.S. and Sri Lanka envisages the deployment of U.S. forces on Lankan soil with exemptions from liability to prosecution under SL law for any crime committed by one or more of those individuals? That clauses written into SOFA militate against the country’s sovereignty? Would we be wrong if we said that the Govt has been complicit in directly or indirectly helping create situations in which persons more..

Train travellers’ lament: Increase number of trains and give us a fair deal!

Jun 8 (CT) A mere 350 trains serve over three million passengers a day - a rather startling revelation from the point of view of a train traveller who has to weather the storm to ensure he or she gets to work on time. Cramped up space is the order of the day with able bodied men shoving their female counterparts to get a better edge on the train. Now that female compartments are operational, men lament that since the number of trains has more..

Gross negligence, manslaughter, criminal negligence and Easter Sunday bombings

Jun 8 (ST) Five children got into the CH & FC poll for training. They became sick immediately. They developed difficulty in breathing and were rushed to the National Hospital on May 12. Four were treated and discharged and one child was kept in the ICU. The pool attendant was charged by the Police and the Magistrate remanded him. Overdose of chlorine is said to have caused the problem. Luckily, no child died. On April 19, 2018 an employee of a rubber factory fell into an ammonia tank. more..

Post Easter attacks: Conspiracy to demonise & alienate Muslims – toxic!

Jun 8 (CT) The drama and media circus which surrounded the fast unto death campaign of Ven Athuraliye Rathana Thero, the robed UNP MP, outside the Sri Dalada Maligawa, demanding the removal of Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, and two Governors was interesting in many counts, apart from causing grave concern for the besieged Muslim community. Interesting, because Ven. Thero has shown up after a long silence in the political field; he was in deep slumber, even when more..

Recovering from the socio-economic impact of the Easter Sunday attacks

Jun 8 (Roar) The Easter Sunday terror attacks have dealt a serious blow to the economy of the country. Some of the impact has already been quantified: The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka has estimated that the tourism industry stands to lose USD 1.5 billion in revenue this year. State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne said he expected economic growth to dip to 3%. (A poll conducted by Reuters with ten economic more..

Identity politics & Intelligent democracy

Jun 8 (CT) We, the homosapiens, have individual elements and collective elements. Individual elements are the characteristics an individual possess which are relevant and necessary to interact with another homosapien to establish peace and carry on with the noble meaningful functional purposes that may fit for your life or, simply respecting individual sovereignty. The collective elements are the identities that could manifest within you so that you may belong to a group. more..