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Ruwan appointed as acting Defence Minister until President returns

May 13 (AD) Non-Cabinet Minister of Mass Media and State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene has been appointed as the acting Minister of Defence until President Maithripala Sirisena returns to the country. President Sirisena left for China today to attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing, China. The Conference is themed exchanges and mutual learning among Asian civilizations and a community with a shared future. more..

Sivajilingam drops militant opposition to army

May 13 (Island) The army should not be completely withdrawn from the North as the presence of security forces was important to assure the safety of those living in a unitary state, chairman of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO,) M.K. Sivajilingam said, yesterday, addressing a media briefing in Trincomalee. He announced that they had decided to cancel the protest march which was to be held in remembrance of Tamil civilians who were killed during the last phase of the war. more..

Video: Student turnout at primary classes drops to lowest

May 13 (AD) The student turnout has dropped considerably despite reopening primary classes at govt schools today, Ministry of Education has stated. Additional Secretary of ministry Hemantha Premathilaka said, however, the teachers’ turnout had shown normalcy. According to principals of schools in the Central Province, the student turnout had been extremely low. In Ambalangoda area low attendance more..

Founders of NTJ will be revealed in due time: Thalatha

May 13 (AD) The persons who founded, expanded and funded the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) will timely be revealed, says Minister of Justice Thalatha Atukorale. Minister stated this yesterday (12) addressing the event held for the inauguration ceremony of the proposed project for carpeting the road from Gabbela to Kalal Ella-Ambalanwatte road in Ratnapura District with Rs 500 million funds. Commenting further Minister Atukorale stated that the incumbent govt assumed power when more..

ACJU wants action over attack on Mosque in Chilaw

May 13 (Island) All Ceylon Jammiyathul Ulama (ACJU) has requested the Defense Ministry, the IGP, and the Police Headquarters to look into the attack on a mosque in Chilaw. The Island learns that ACJU is closely working with the security forces. "We have a team including Moulavi Fazil Farook in this regard. We are confident that the security forces will do the needful in this regard." Following yesterday morning’s attack Police imposed a curfew in the Chilaw area with immediate effect more..

Airlines call for lower charges at airport to boost flights

May 13 (FT) With Easter Sunday terror attacks impacting tourist traffic, the airlines last week called for reduction or removal of charges slapped on their operations to Sri Lanka, failing which a scaling down was imminent. This concern and suggestions to rectify the precarious situation came up for discussion at the meeting between airlines and travel and tourism industry on Friday chaired by Minister John Amaratunga. more..

Police curfew for Rasnayakapura & Kobeigane

May 13 (AD) Police curfew has been imposed on Rasnayakapura and Kobeigane police divisions with immediate effect, the Police Media Spokesperson said. The curfew will be in effect until 4 am tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, police curfew has been imposed in Kuliyapitiya, Bingiriya, Dummalasuriya, and Hettipola Police divisions from 2 pm this afternoon until 6 am tomorrow. Police curfew was imposed last night at Kuliyapitiya, Bingiriya, and Dummalasuriya areas owing to more..

Educated youth leaving the shores of Sri Lanka: Is it brain drain or brain gain?

May 13 (FT) Many have expressed their concern about the rising incidence of educated youth leaving the country for employment in developed countries. This is specifically a relevant issue in a background of SL’s labour force falling as observed by the World Bank in its recently released SL Development Update 2019. On top of this, labour force participation in SL has historically been low with only about a half of the eligible people between the ages of 15 and above offering their services to more..

Anura Disanayake

SL not a Sinhala Buddhist country: Mangala

May 13 (CT) Sri Lanka is not a Sinhala Buddhist Country. It is the country of Sri Lankans, said Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera. “A majority in this country are Sinhala Buddhists. Also, there are Christians, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and followers of other religions. All of them have the right that we have as Sinhala Buddhists,” he said. He was speaking at a provincial council representatives’ meeting held at his office at Nupe in Matara. more..

Releasing of Ajanthan

May 13 (CT) On President Sirisena’s directive Ajanthan Kathirgamathambi who was arrested and grilled by the Police sleuths over the killing of two Police Constables at a checkpoint in Vavunathivu in November last year was released on Friday. Ajanthan was a former LTTE cadre and on his surrender to Security Forces he was rehabilitated and integrated with his family. He engaged in the work of a labourer looking after his wife and five children having a hand to mouth existence. more..

Ministers or MPs who support terror groups will not be protected: PM

May 13 (DM) Govt will not protect any minister or any MP who associates with terror groups, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM came out with this sentiment at a ceremony held in Elpitiya to distribute lands to the landless on Saturday. “Govt is not willing to protect any minister or an MP if they are associated with terrorist groups. If there are allegations against any Minister or against an MP it should be referred to police. more..

Sri Lanka expects quicker recovery in tourism: Minister

May 13 (EN) Sri Lanka's tourism minister said he expected the country's tourism industry to bounce back in as little as three months, with security authorities rapidly closing down a terror network, after holidaymakers avoided the island following co-ordinated bombings on Easter Sunday. "We will bounce back in the next three months," minister John Amaratunga told reporters in Colombo on Friday. more..

Salley claims one in two houses has swords

May 13 (CT) WP Governor Azath Salley claimed that at least fifty, out of every hundred, houses have swords, irrespective of which community the people of the household belong to and that this is a fact that has been accepted by even certain Buddhist leaders. He said, “only the initial discovery of swords in Slave Island was from a Mosque, whilst the remaining discoveries were framed to appear that the swords were more..

Sri Lanka Catholic hierarchy under threat

May 13 (CT) The entire Catholic Hierarchy in Sri Lanka has come under serious threat including the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith according to State intelligence reports; a senior official within the Archbishop House in Colombo warned He said that the Cardinal and the remaining 14 Bishops throughout the country have been alerted on a threat that has been provided by State intelligence agencies and more..

Thalatha refutes Gammapila’s claims that US influenced SL courts

May 13 (AD) Minister Thalatha Atukorale refutes the recent allegations by MP Udaya Gammanpila that the SL courts have been influenced by foreign diplomats. On 7th May, PHU Leader MP MP Udaya Gammanpila claimed, at the parliament, that an official from the Embassy of US for SL has exerted influence on the local judiciary during a workshop held in the US, which was attended by nine senior justices from SL. more..

Essential food importers, traders also want moratorium, financial support

May 13 (FT) Essential food importers and traders have become the latest to seek financial support from the Govt partly due to the impact of the Easter Sunday terror attacks as well as recent sharp devaluation. The Essential Food and Commodities Importers and Traders Association (EFCITA) which styles itself as the sole provider of the food security requirement of Sri Lanka, has made this appeal in a letter to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Residence visas for foreigners: SIS clearance needed

May 13 (ST) Clearance from the State Intelligence Service (SIS) will be required to obtain residence visas for foreigners, the Govt has decided. Accordingly, those applying for residence visas for any category will have to be cleared by the SIS in contrast to the existing system where the line Ministry and the Defence Ministry clear the visas. The move is among a series of measures being introduced by the Immigration Dept to tighten more..

'India to provide counter-terrorism, warfare assistance'

May 13 (IT) The army chief of Sri Lanka said that India would be providing Sri Lanka with counter-terrorism technology and capability to fight the growing menace of Islamic terrorism in the country. Speaking to India Today TV, army chief of Sri Lanka Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake said, "We have requested India for intelligence cooperation, bomb disposal assistance, cyber warfare assistance and assistance of training and equipment." more..

'Will bring NCM against Bathiudeen'

May 13 (CT) MP and President of the SL National Council (SLNC) Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thera, said he will definitely bring a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, in the coming week. Addressing a Media briefing, Ven. Rathana Thera yesterday said many allegations have been levelled against Minister Bathiudeen, but no one questions him or has proved it. more..

Rs.190 Million worth of priorities?

May 13 (DM) A supplementary budget of 190 million rupees for two bulletproof vehicles for the President and the newly-appointed Secretary of the Ministry of Defence has been passed in parliament! One of my neighbours made it a point to approach me during my morning walk to share this news. I certainly could not believe what I was hearing. But then again, this is SL. Rearranging the furniture in a sinking ship has been more..

Terrorism: Not to be managed, must be eliminated

May 13 (DM) A simple question needs to be addressed on the Easter Sunday Bomb Attack in Sri Lanka. Could our Govt pursue an intelligence based anti-terrorist drive to combat the ISIS linked terrorist groups without the bomb blasts happening? The answer is clearly NO. The local and international Human Rights Groups, Powerful Nations and even the Stakeholders of the bomb blast would have pounced on the Govt with such force that it would have crippled operations. more..

Aasiya Bibi and growing tolerance of intolerance

May 13 (DM) Aasiya Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic woman who spent almost a decade on death-row over blasphemy allegations in Pakistan, was finally allowed to leave for Canada. According to latest information received, Asia Bibi is now in Canada. Unfortunately her prison cell has a new resident: Yet another Christian woman condemned to death over blasphemy charges. Aasiya Bibi (also known as Aasiya Noreen) a Pakistani Christian woman who was accused & later convicted of blasphemy more..

Sri Lanka arrests Saudi-educated scholar over links with Easter bombings

May 13 (CT) SL authorities have arrested a Saudi-educated scholar for what they claim are links with Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of the Easter Sunday bombings, throwing a spotlight on the rising influence of Salafi-Wahhabi Islam on the island's Muslims. Mohamed Aliyar, 60, is the founder of the Centre for Islamic Guidance, which boasts a mosque, a religious school and a library in Zahran's hometown more..

Slow reaction of police cause unrest in Chilaw

May 13 (Island) The slow reaction by Chilaw police to disperse a crowd that had gathered near a Thowheed Jamath prayer centre in Wattakkuliya, Chilaw resulted in unrest and property damage yesterday. Earlier a group of youth had informed the Chilaw Police that some persons were inside the prayer centre that had been abandoned some time back. Since the police did not arrive there to investigate the complaint, crowd had attacked prayer centre, damaging it, an eyewitness said. more..

Tight Security today over possible terror strikes

May 13 (CT) Steps have been taken to tighten security across the country today (13), according to an unconfirmed information circulating in society, that there would be a possible terrorist attack in Colombo. According to the information, National Towheed Jama’at (NTJ) which is believed to be responsible for the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, has planned a series of terror strikes in Nawala, Wellawatta, Panchikawatta and Fort Railway Station between 9 a.m and 1p.m today. more..

Mosques attacked in Sri Lanka town after Facebook row, curfew imposed

May 13 (Reuters) Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores and a local man was beaten in the town of Chilaw on SL’s west coast on Sunday in a dispute that started on Facebook, sources said. Three weeks ago in SL Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches, killing more than 250 people. Since then Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints more..

Primary classes begin second term today

May 13 (DN) The Primary section of govt schools will begin today for the second term as scheduled. The commencement of the Primary section was postponed by a week due to security reasons following the Easter Sunday terror attack. Accordingly Grade 1 to 5 classes in all schools will commence today, the Education Ministry said. Security measures have already been taken to ensure the safety of students and staff by the security forces and the police. more..

Social media temporarily banned

May 13 (AD) The govt has imposed a temporary ban on social media platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook, stated Govt Information Dept. This measure has been taken owing to the false propaganda carried out by the social media and the unrest which had occurred in several areas yesterday. Curfew was imposed in the Chilaw, Kuliyapitiya, Bingiriya, & Dummalasuriya police divisions. The curfew in Chilaw was lifted at 4 am today (13) while the curfew in the other more..

Easter carnage: Errant officials and rulers must be removed: Cardinal

May 13 (Island) All officials who received prior information about the Easter Sunday bombings but did not take any action to prevent them should be removed along with the country’s leadership, Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said at the Sunday mass at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, yesterday. Mass was held to commemorate those killed in Easter Sunday attacks and invoke blessings on the injured. more..

Govt to restore normalcy with assistance of foreign security personnel: PM

May 13 (Island) A number of foreign security personnel continued to remain in the country and the govt would restore normalcy soon with their assistance, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "Foreign security personnel are in Sri Lanka because their citizens have been killed by the Easter Sunday bombings. We will obtain their help to secure the country," he said. Wickremesinghe said that some countries had issued travel advisories, warning their citizens not to visit Sri Lanka. more..

Easter Sunday attacks: Some Muslim ministers knew: Ranjan

May 13 (CT) None of the Buddhist or Catholic Parliamentarians knew about the Easter Sunday (21 April) massacre, but some Muslim Ministers must have known and hidden the information from others, claimed State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake. Addressing the media, in front of the Colombo High Court on 8 May, Ramanayake said that except for Ministers Harin Fernando and Mano Ganesan none of the others knew because if they knew they definitely would not allow this happen. more..

Alleged death squad leader reinstated in special team under Army Chief

May 13 (FT) The main suspect in the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr in May 2008, Major Prabath Bulathwatte, who also led the shadowy military intelligence unit suspected to have been behind the 2009 murder of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, has been restored to active service, Army Commander Lt. Gen Mahesh Senanayake said. Making the shocking revelations during a television interview more..

‘Sri Lanka Tourism to formulate US$ 100 mn insurance fund’

May 13 (DN) SL Tourism will soon formulate a US $ 100 million insurance fund to pay compensation to any tourist who suffer injury or death while visiting SL, said Minister John Amaratunga. He said that they will offer this tourism insurance scheme with SL Insurance. Amaratunge said that due to travel advisories from 38 countries in the aftermath of Easter Sunday bombings on April 21, tourists who visit Sri Lanka are not eligible to receive insurance from their respective countries. more..

CTU condemns govt. recruiting 3,850 UNP henchmen as sports instructors

May 13 (Island) Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU), yesterday, protested the appointment of 3,850 sports instructors to schools stating that those appointments had been given to UNP henchmen. It said that the basic qualification for that position was passes in six subjects at GCE O/L examination and at least the third place at a district level schools sports event, but all such criteria had been ignored, the CTU said. "The appointment letters are to be handed over today at Temple Trees more..

Crucial bankers meeting today over terror-hit tourism

May 13 (FT) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will chair a crucial meeting with the Central Bank and commercial banks CEOs today, to address concerns raised by the travel and tourism industry over the financial relief package announced last week and subsequent directive by the monetary regulatory. Easter Sunday terror attacks-battered tourism industry on Friday strongly opposed the apparent failure by the CB to more..

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