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US, Lanka agree to expand defence ties

May 20 (Island) US and SL have agreed to expand military-to-military cooperation, the govts announced in a joint statement issued following high level talks in Washington. In accordance with the overall US-SL relations, the US has offered to continue to expand counterterrorism and maritime and border security cooperation with SL. Statement followed talks between Minister Tilak Marapana and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo more..

Opposition to increase ex-MPs’ pensions

May 20 (Island) Employees Centre for Protecting Pensions spokesperson Dhammika Munasinghe, strongly condemned a move to increase former MPs’ pension by Rs 15,000 at a time the govt was trying to abolish the state pension scheme. He said that the media had recently revealed the move. The statement urges the working class to join hands to oppose govt plans and regain pension rights. A proposal to increase former lawmakers’ pension had been submitted to the cabinet, more..

Minuwangoda clashes: Police to arrest Opposition politician

May 20 (DN) Police investigations have revealed that an Opposition politician had been involved in a clash that occurred in the Minuwangoda town and the surrounding areas on May 13. According to a senior police officer, investigations have revealed that the politician had organised some rallies in the area since May 9. The politician had been in Minuwangoda for more than three hours during the recent clashes and that information had been received that he was involved in the attack on more..

Video: National War Heroes’ Day: remembering the fallen

May 20 (DM) The National War Heroes’ Day commemoration ceremony was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena, this evening (19). The event titled Uththama Pranaama 2019 was attended by the family members and the relatives of the war heroes who had fallen victim to the prolonged warfare of three decades. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Opposition Leader more..

Import levy on big onions hiked

May 20 (AD) The govt has decided to increase the import levy on big onions by Rs 20 per kilo. Minister of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development P. Harrison stated this addressing the media yesterday. Accordingly, the revised import levy on big onions following the increase will be Rs 40. The step was taken to in consideration of the local big onion farmers, Minister Harrison commented further. more..

Report on Batticaloa campus in early June

May 20 (GDI) The Subcommittee on Education, an extension of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resource Development will submit its report on the controversial Batticaloa campus to Parliament in early June. The Chairman of the Subcommittee, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, said they have completed the investigations and would finalise the report by the end of this month. “We hope to table it in Parliament early June,” he said. The members of the subcommittee visited more..

Parliament employee with NTJ links arrested

May 20 (Island) The Kurunegala police have arrested a senior translator attached to Parliament for his alleged involvement with the now proscribed National Thawheed Jamat (JMT), which is responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage. Investigators took the suspect into custody from his residence at Rajagiriya. Police made the arrest after informing Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of the suspect’s alleged involvement with NTJ. more..

Udaya confident Mahinda will vote for NC

May 20 (Island) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa would certainly vote for the no-confidence motion (NCM) to be moved against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen over his alleged involvement with those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage, JHU leader Udaya Gammanpila said. He said so when The Island asked him why Rajapaksa had refrained from signing the NCM. MP Gammanpila pointed out that Rajapaksa hadn’t signed NCM against Ministers Ravi more..

No-Confidence against Minister Bathiudeen: UNP MPs want Conscience Vote

May 20 (CT) A group of UNP MPs has decided to present a proposal to PM requesting him to allow them to exercise their right of conscience in using their votes for the No-Confidence Motion against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. Some UNP Ministers, including the Catholic Ministers, have already had discussions and agreed to vote positively when the no-confidence motion against Minister Bathiudeen is taken for a vote in Parliament. Meanwhile some UNP Muslim Ministers say that this more..

Army hands over terror suspect known to Rishad to TID

May 20 (Island) A person, whose arrest in connection with the Easter Sunday bombings prompted Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to make inquiries about him from Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, has been handed over to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). Army headquarters yesterday confirmed the handing over of the suspect taken in by troops to the TID. In the wake of Lt. Gen. Senanayake’s revelation more..

Principal & vice principal with alleged links to Zahran remanded

May 20 (AD) The principal and the vice principal of two Muslim schools, who were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of having close links with the ringleader of the series of attacks on Easter Sunday and the leader of National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) Zahran Hashim, have been further remanded. The two suspects were produced before the Kebithigollewa Magistrate’s Court yesterday and ordered to be remanded until the 28th of May. They were arrested by STF at Paththewa in Horowpathana area. more..

CCC urges corporate leaders’ help to revive economy

May 20 (CT) SL’s premium business chamber, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce urged the business leaders to use their influence to build peace among themselves and provide the leadership to revive the economy hit by the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. Chamber appealed to its membership to act as catalysts to establish unity in the communities. “The educated people have greater potential to inspire all persons to work for the greater good of our country. To remain silent, is to let others destroy SL,” more..

Video: No war crimes were committed during last phase of war: Mahinda

May 20 (AD) FBI officially designated the LTTE as the deadliest terrorist organisation in the world in Jan 2008 and such was the nature of the terrorism that was conclusively brought to an end on the 19th May 2009 with the confirmation that its leader V. Prabhakaran was dead, says Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa. He stated this delivering a speech at his official residence on Wijerama Mawatha to mark more..

President visits Gnanasara Thera at Prison Hospital

May 20 (DM) Prez Sirisena has met BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thera at the Welikada Prison Hospital on Saturday. President had visited the prelate at the Prison Hospital after attending a ceremony held at the Welikada Prison to grant a presidential pardon for 762 inmates. However, Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thera was not among the list of persons who were granted presidential pardon. MP Thilanga Sumathipala, NP Governor, Suresh Raghavan, more..

Video: Cyber attack on several Sri Lankan websites including Kuwait Embassy

May 20 (AD) Nearly 10 websites containing the domain names .com and .lk have come under a cyber attack, the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) said. Embassy of Kuwait in SL has also fallen victim to this cyber attacks, according to the SLCERT. SLCERT added that measures have been taken to curtail the situation. Preliminary investigations have uncovered that the databases of the websites in question have been subject to changes owing to the attack, more..

Sri Lanka's price controlled drugs raised 14.4% as central bank busts rupee

May 20 (EN) SL's controlled drug prices were have been raised 14.4% as the central bank busted the currency from 153 to 182 during 2019 with reckless monetary policy generating two liquidity shocks. National Medicinal Drugs Authority, paid for by taxes taken from the people, has decreed that prices of 48 controlled drugs would be allowed to be raised 14.4%. NMRA was based on a proposal by Senaka Bibile, a Marxist, more..

Risk-sensitive economic planning critical for post-disaster revival: envoy

May 20 (DM) Risk-sensitive economic planning and coherence between climate and disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies are vital in building resilient societies and economies as envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), SL’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez said. Sri Lanka is taking a number of initiatives towards this end, he added, highlighting national measures to establish an online damage and loss assessment system for more..

HRCSL urges public not to harass women in hijab

May 20 (SO) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has urged the public to abstain from troubling, harassing and insulting Muslim women during their day-to-day activities. In a statement, Chairperson of the Commission Dr. N.D. Udagama said the Commission had received complaints by women alleging that they were stopped from entering public places and buildings. Women wearing the hijab and abhaya (both not banned in Sri Lanka) were thus harassed, and more..

Sri Lanka can recover from attacks if normality restored quickly: CB Governor

May 20 (EN) SL can contain damage from last month’s suicide bombings and ensure a quicker economic recovery if it improves security and prevents further unrest, although the budget deficit will widen, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. “Clearly, there’s likely to be an impact on the govt budget,” he said. “On the revenue side, the VAT reduction on tourism will have an impact. But tourism is only 5% of total VAT receivables more..

Govt requests parents to send children to school

May 20 (SO) The Education Ministry requests parents to send their children to school from Tuesday (21) as the Govt has taken all necessary steps to ensure the security of schools islandwide. At present, the situation in schools is turning out to be normal. The students of a few leading schools in Colombo didn’t attend school during the past few days due to the unnecessary fear created among them, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said yesterday. more..

SLT group’s SMART City project starts in Polonnaruwa

May 20 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom Group further extended its contribution towards the national development by expanding its services under the Pibidemu Polonnaruwa district development project commenced with the patronage of Prez Sirisena. Several large-scale ICT projects and a large number of other initiatives serving the Polonnaruwa District were vested in the public at an official ceremony held at the Regional Telecom Office & Chandra Manadapaya- Polonnaruwa on 12th May more..

Terror strikes killjoy in Pettah’s retail trade

May 20 (ST) Colombo’s retailers, already suffering in a downbeat market, have experienced a sharp drop in sales in the wake of the April terror attacks, but what happened earlier last week has crippled them even further, adding weight to calls for support for the small businesses and retail shops. The police arrested some people recently after racist mobs attacked Muslim-owned shops in one of the towns where Catholic churches more..

The end of something

May 20 (Island) A decade after the end of the war, Sri Lanka is visibly, and far more than what’s acknowledged or reported openly, reeling from violent conflict. The anti-Muslim riots last week – of a scale, scope and speed of destruction that dwarfed Digana just over a year ago – coupled with the increase of everyday racism and attacks in Negombo, after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, have kept the country on tenterhooks. The responses are revealing. more..

Editorial: Curiouser and curiouser!

May 20 (Island) Prez Sirisena’s predilection for making a public display of his compassion is only too well known. Having released 762 prisoners, on May 18, on account of Vesak, he waxed eloquent on the virtues of forgiveness and compassion, recalling that he had even pardoned an LTTE cadre convicted of conspiring to kill him and offered to help the latter with a self-employment project. Some of the television channels which telecast his speech, showed the Prez pardoning more..

Sri Lanka Football must unite for the Good of the Sport!

May 20 (ST) The traumatic incidents of the last few weeks that lashed our nation from that fateful Easter Sunday morning, has grim messages for all sections of our society. By that token, Football is a sport that embraces all races of our nation and has, over the years, united us like few other disciplines have done. From Slave Island in the City, to little Rome in Negombo, to the picturesque cities of Kandy and more..

Sri Lanka’s political disconnect muddles foreign policy

May 20 (Island) In the aftermath of the IS-linked Easter bomb attacks that left the country riven, Sri Lanka’s govt representatives at the highest level were seen going in different directions – both literally and figuratively speaking. President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday (May 13) suddenly left for Beijing to attend a conference on Asian civilisations. The following day (14) Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana left for Washington DC with another delegation. more..

Let a million Vesak lights dispel the forces of darkness

May 20 (Island) Sri Lanka is the fortuitous recipient, even beneficiary, of two enlightenments. The first is bodhi - the Buddha’s awakening, or enlightenment. It is also the much older of the two, divinely pre-ordained to some, and spiritually and ritually cherished by millions of Sri Lankans. The second, European enlightenment, came from the west through colonial conquest and ironically with an admixture of Christianity and secularism. Everything came from elsewhere more..

Can Sri Lanka ever achieve lasting peace

Let sanity prevail

May 20 (DN) To those of our generation it will appear that Sri Lanka is in a near permanent state of conflict; now hidden, now open, citizen against citizen, brother against brother. There are interruptions to the theme of violence, these breaks are mistaken for peace. In fact, this is the time for feverish preparations, indoctrination, gathering of weapons for the next round of blood-letting. With the passing of years, the challengers change, they age, giving way to younger malcontents; more..

The hidden hands behind anti Muslim riots

May 20 (SO) It is a well-worn cliché that, a disaster occurring once may be regarded as a misfortune; when it occurs again, it looks like carelessness. That is quite an apt way to describe the comedy of errors regarding the country’s security situation that is being staged in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings that left more than two hundred and fifty persons dead. That the bombings were preventable, if only someone had thought it fit to act on the warnings that were apparently available more..

Bureaucratic bungling creates problems for foreign journalists

May 20 (ST) Before he opted for a career in diplomacy, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha was a media man. So, he knew that like promoting foreign policy objectives of his country, projecting the real image in a crisis situation is as important. This is why, after the April 21 Easter Sunday carnage, he urged Customs Director General P.S.M. Charles to allow camera crews from reputed international TV channels into SL more..

The Birth, the Enlightenment and Nirvana of Gautama the Buddha

May 20 (ST) Morning had broken. The dawn the world and the heavens had for epochs waited to break upon the land, had finally come to pass. And on that Vesak full moon day over 2500 years ago, in the year 623BC, the rising sun sheds its tender early morn light to reveal the scene of a royal litter emerging from the gates of Kapilavasthu, the capital of the Shakyas, in northern India. At the centre of this royal convoy, borne upon a golden palanquin, sits the queen of the domain. more..

As evil returns to Sri Lanka’s streets, who is responsible?

May 20 (ST) There is much good sense in the assertion by Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church this Friday that despicable communal violence by organised mobs against Muslims in the North Western Province and Minuwangoda a few days earlier was not only politically instigated but also a deliberate attempt to turn public focus away from the shock and horror of the Easter Sunday butchery of worshippers and tourists. And the serious question asked by the Church is repeated by countless more..

A trio under scrutiny following anti-Muslim attacks

May 20 (SO) Three weeks after the April 26 attacks mobs rampaged through the towns of Minuwangoda and Kuliyapitiya attacking Muslim owned houses and businesses. Violence eventually left one person dead. Despite the Easter Sunday attacks the country had till then been relatively calm except for some isolated incidents casting a shadow of doubt on the possibility of sudden occurrences of mob violence in the areas. more..

Shattered dreams; A decade after the end of the war!

May 20 (CT) In May 2009, a bloody war of more than a quarter-century for Tamil Eelam, fought by the LTTE, one of the world’s most ruthless militant movements, reached its bitter end. Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) thereby achieved what none of his predecessors managed before: to rout the Tigers, who controlled nearly a fourth of the island, and destroy their ranks as a conventional army. While previous govts were playing for a draw, MR govt was playing for a win. more..

Afghan refugees face Jaffna’s hostility: These Sri Lankans are crazy

May 20 (CT) Abbas Ahmadi, an IT specialist, was rather high in the Afghan provincial civil service. He is of Hazara ethnicity and persecuted by the majority Pashtuns who ironically dominate the ruling faction as well as the rebelling Taliban. The Hazaras are in part the descendants of Genghis Khan and therefore are regarded as Asiatic. Says Abbas that they, the Hazaras, have suffered a lot more than the Tamils of Sri Lanka, having lost 80% of their fertile lands. Abbas was asked three times by more..

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