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Colombo's wetlands float to top of flood prevention plan

May 24 (Reuters) On the surface, Colombo looks like any other fast-growing South Asian city, with buildings stretching as far as the eye can see and skyscrapers rearing up along its coast. But beneath the concrete, Colombo hides a wilder and wetter past. Before it became the nerve center of SL politics and business, the city was a region dotted with wetlands and about 30 km of canals that helped absorb & disperse the massive rains more..

Key events to put spotlight on ASEAN as Sri Lanka’s next big opportunity

May 24 (FT) Two key events on 11 June will put a spotlight on ASEAN as the next big opportunity for a progressive Sri Lanka, with valuable insights from several international and local experts. The Daily FT, in association with the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association, and in strategic partnership with HSBC, will hold an invitees-only CEOs breakfast forum, followed by a public forum on 11 June (Monday) at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The twin events are aimed at highlighting more..

Viyath Maga Convention: Intellectualism & Intellect

May 24 (CT) Daily Mirror of 16th May, carried the Report of the Annual Convention of the Viyath Maga, under the heading Sri Lanka should seize the opportunity, in the context of the shift of Global economic centre to Asia. One may think the title Intellectualism and Intellect paradoxical. Most truths appear paradoxical. I think an explanation is necessary, here. Intellectualism is accumulating and storing knowledge in the mind; Whereas, Intellect is a tool of the mind. more..

Wimal Weerawansa

Impact of adverse weather

May 24 (DN) The prevailing adverse weather in the island has claimed 11 lives and made thousands displaced in 12 districts. It is unavoidable for Sri Lanka to get affected by natural disasters especially by monsoonal rains due to its geographical location in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lankans have both wet and dry weather in line with climatic and monsoonal changes but the cost of these natural disasters are unbearable and indigestible because of our economic conditions of our country. more..

Editorial: Clutching FTA crutches

May 24 (Island) The yahapalana govt is apparently labouring under the delusion that a sure-fire way of propping up the ailing economy is to ink FTAs with as many countries as possible. Its desperation seems to know no bounds. It came to power, promising to perform economic miracles and create a Utopia of sorts. But, it has become an economic cripple looking for free trade crutches to steady itself. The yahapalana govt’s latest attempt, to enter into an FTA with Singapore, has run into more..

Across the seas to a distant past

May 24 (ST) Several British cannon stand imperially, at the entrance to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Maritime Museum on Chaithya Road, adjoining the Colombo Port. A lesser-known attraction of Colombo, now onto its 15th year, the museum, housed in an old Dutch warehouse is dedicated to the history and evolution of the ports of the island. Maintained by the SLPA, the museum opened during the war years (2003) and more..

Unity best Unity best sooner

May 24 (DN) It is an understatement to say that the SLFP is in crisis. It is a peculiar predicament that the party finds itself in, given that it is in power and its leader, Maithripala Sirisena is Executive President and Head of State of the country. Ironically though, President Sirisena does not appear to have the same degree of control over the political party he heads. SLFP has seen and survived much political turmoil in its history, most notably in the ’80s when there was a leadership squabble between more..

Chinese Roulette in Paradise Isle

May 24 (GV) Donald Trump first became a household name in the US for a book he claimed as his own but didn’t write – The Art of the Deal. Recently he learned a real life lesson in the art of the deal from a consummate master of the art of the deal – the Chinese. Last month Mr. Trump’s administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese technology giant, the ZTE, banning it from using American technology in making its phones. Chinese govt responded by agreeing to loan more..

'I am frustrated with the UNP leadership'

May 24 (CT) UNP MP Ranjith Aluwihare says that he is extremely frustrated with the leadership of the UNP. “No justice is being done. We cannot bear to see positions being given to newcomers and those who joined from other parties.” Q: Are you the newest rebel of the UNP? A: I am not a rebel, but I was silent for some time. People voted for me with the belief that some post will be given, some relief would be granted, more..

Winning the battle of the Fifth Domain

May 24 (CT) While the nation commemorated the 9th anniversary of the eradication of terrorism from our soil, news reports revealed that an entity calling itself as the Tamil Eelam Cyber Force commemorated the occasion by hacking numerous Govt and corporate web portals on 18 May. Notable targets included the Embassy of Sri Lanka in China, Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, and Batticaloa Municipal Council. In a nutshell, the message referred to more..

Parks that hardly see children play…

May 24 (CT) As I passed a children’s park the other day, memories of how I spent my childhood with my ever annoying brother flashed before my eyes. It was fun, especially during school holidays. The nostalgic feeling was powerful enough to arouse an apple sized lump in my throat, and I figured it was that time of the year, vacations that contributed more to the feeling than the actual scene. However, together with our cousins, we would raid the park down our road every evening and more..

Video: 10 dead, nearly 85,000 affected by severe weather

May 23 (AD) Disaster Management Center (DMC) says that nearly 85,000 people in 14 districts have been affected due to the heavy monsoon rain and strong winds across Sri Lanka. Meanwhile the death toll due to the severe weather condition has also risen to 10, DMC said in its latest update. A total of 84,943persons belonging to 18,542 families are affected by the prevailing disaster situation in the country. more..

Fulfill promises instead of having debates: Namal to Mangala

May 23 (DM) JO MP Namal Rajapaksa urged Minister Mangala Samaraweera to focus on fulfilling promises he had made to the people before inviting former Prez Rajapaksa for a political debate. MP in a tweet said “With respect, how can you be focusing on political debates in the midst of devastating floods the people in SL are facing? For the past three years, you have been so focused on criticizing Mahinda Rajapaksa that you have forgotten to fulfill promises made to the people,” more..

U.S. and SL govts discuss disaster preparedness ahead of monsoons

May 23 (USE) U.S. Ambassador to SL Atul Keshap, USAID Sri Lanka Mission Director Reed Aeschliman, and Dr. Michael Ernst from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) met with Minister Duminda Dissanayake to discuss Sri Lanka’s preparedness ahead of the monsoon season. Topics also included past and ongoing U.S. financial and technical assistance for disaster preparedness, management, and recovery. “I am proud that in 2017 USAID/OFDA provided more..

Australian, UN to help Sri Lanka prepare to face natural disasters

May 23 (SL) The Australian Govt, WFP and UNICEF have signed a 3-year partnership (2018-2020) with a funding of AUD750,000 (around Rs. 89 million), to ensure stronger preparedness and faster, more integrated responses to natural disaster emergencies in SL. UNICEF said that 96 per cent of disasters in SL are caused by climate, such as flooding, landslides, extreme winds and drought. SL was ranked the fourth most climate change more..

Turkey to provide food aid to 5,000 Sri Lanka Muslims

May 23 (AA) The Turkiye Diyanet Foundation (TDV) will distribute 5,000 food packages for iftar, a fast breaking meal, in Sri Lanka for three days, the foundation’s deputy chief said on Wednesday. In the first day of the aid campaign, TDV, the charity body of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, organized distribution events in Kinniya, Kiran, Vellenkulam, Naduoothu, Muttur and Topur regions of Kaluppu province. Speaking at the event in Kinniya, Abdurrahman Cetin, more..

Rs 60 mn paid to migrant workers as insurance compensation

May 23 (AD) During the first four months of this year, a total payment of Rs 60 million has been granted as compensation, under the insurance compensation scheme for migrant workers, says Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE). Rs 34.41 million have been claimed for deaths of migrant workers due to accidents and illnesses. This compensation is valid for workers who passed away while employed abroad or passed away within 3 months of return to SL due to an illness. more..

Common candidate in the making

May 23 (DM) A certain civil society group is said to be looking for a suitable person to be fielded as the common candidate at the big poll due in less than two years. A foreign diplomat too is behind this group. However, the Green bucks have not taken to this idea though they have already ruled out their leader as a candidate. Meanwhile, most party seniors too have come around to the view that their second in command is the ideal choice. more..

National policy lacking for FTAs: Dayasiri

May 23 (NR) UPFA MP Dayasiri Jayasekera says the absence of a national policy for SL when signing international trade agreements is a serious concern. He made this statement in Parliament when the regulation under the Strategic Development Projects Act was taken up for debate. He said the main issue faced when signing trade agreements is the lack of proper framework adding throughout the country's history a national policy pertaining to signing trade agreements was never laid down. more..

Comfortable attire allowed for expectant teachers from tomorrow

May 23 (AD) Education Ministry has decided to provide opportunity for expectant teachers to attend the school in an appropriate dress. The decision has been taken as per a concept of Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam under the theme For the respectful mission of teachers. Doctors have informed the Education Minister about the necessity of providing convenient clothes for pregnant teachers. Hence the minister had issued directives to relevant authorities to accelerate more..

Compensation announced for victims and flood-affected homes

May 23 (AD) State Minister Palitha Range Bandara says that a compensation of Rs 1 million each will be offered for those who have died while engaged in occupations during the current disaster situation. Meanwhile a sum of Rs 10,000 is planned to be provided for each house affected by the floods for cleaning activities. He stated this during a discussion held today regarding disaster management and post-disaster management more..

Sri Lanka without SEC chief while awaiting presidential nod

May 23 (EN) Securities and Exchange Commission is currently operating without a chairman while approval is awaited from the Presidential secretariat, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Ranel Wijesinghe, an accountant, has been nominated by Samaraweera to chair the SEC. "Usually we refer our appointments to the Presidential secretariat," Samaraweera said. "It is just a procedural delay, that is all." There has been speculation that officials at the Prez Secretariat had been blocking more..

Sri Lanka to build 40,000 concrete prefab houses for war refugees

May 23 (EN) Cabinet had approved proposal to build 40,000 prefabricated houses for war refugees in the N&E using concrete panels. Houses will be 650 square feet each. Govt had earlier proposed to build steel prefabricated houses, which was opposed by civic groups in the area who said such houses were unsuitable for the climate. Minister D M Swaminathan had instead proposed the building of 40,000 houses under a plan to build 65,000 houses using concrete panels. more..

President to appoint committee to review S'pore FTA: GMOA

May 23 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena had agreed to appoint an economic committee headed by Chief Economist Prof. Lalith Samarakoon to look into the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) inked with Singapore, GMOA said. GMOA Spokesman Dr Samantha Ananda said that President Sirisena had guaranteed to appoint said committee during a discussion held on Tuesday with the GMOA-membership over the FTA with Singapore. more..

Video: Kaduwela-Biyagama Bridge restricted for traffic

May 23 (DM) The vehicular movements along the Kaduwela-Biyagama main bridge were restricted due to a high risk situation, Road Development Authority (RDA) today said. RDA Project Engineer said the vehicular movements were restricted because of the soil erosion along the Kelani River Bank connecting to the bridge. “However, one lane is open for vehicular movements,” he said. Meanwhile, the Police requested motorists to use alternative routes to avoid traffic. more..

Primary sections of schools in several education zones closed until Monday

May 23 (AD) Primary schools and primary sections (Grades 1 to 5) of all other schools in Deniyaya, Udugama, Matara, Mulatiyana, Akuressa, Tangalle, Walasmulla and Galle Education Zones will be closed until May 28 to prevent the spread of a viral flu. Therefore they will reopen for studies on May 30 as May 29 is a Poya holiday. On Monday (21), Provincial Education Minister Chandima Rasaputhra announced that Grades 1 to 5 of all schools in the Matara, Mulatiyana, Akuressa, Tangalle, more..

Video: An ex-President shouldn’t debate with a Minister: JO

May 23 (DM) JO MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage today said they won’t allow former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to go for a debate with Minister Mangala Samaraweera, but other JO MPs were ready to debate with the Minister. Addressing a news briefing, the MP said Mr Rajapaksa was a respected country leader and therefore, he shouldn't be allowed to go for debates with Ministers. more..

SLFP defectors to meet MR this evening

May 23 (NR) The group of 16 SLFP parliamentarians, who recently defected from the govt, are due to meet former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at 5 this evening. The group will meet the former President at his official residence in Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo. Speaking to NewsRadio with regard to the discussion, MP Chandima Weerakkody said the group intends to seek the former Presidents advice pertaining to both the SLFP and the country's future political activities. more..

Avant Garde FR petition hearing on 8th June

May 23 (NR) The Fundamental Rights petition filed by the Chairman of Avant Garde Nissanka Senadhipathi before the Supreme Court calling for an order to be issued for the prevention of his arrest will be taken up once again on the 8th of June. The three member Supreme Court bench accordingly called for respondents to file preliminary objections against the petition on the said date. An investigation into the floating armoury at the Galle Port is being conducted by the CID. more..

British rugger players death: Police question trishaw drivers

May 23 (DM) Fort Police questioned several trishaw drivers in connection with the deaths of two British rugger players, after a visit to a nightclub in Colombo. Police are hoping to identify and arrest the trishaw driver, who is believed to have given brown sugar narcotics to the ruggerites, while they were on their way to the night club in Kollupitiya. British rugby player Thomas Howard (26) and 27-year-old Thomas Baty passed away while more..

New regulations on employing foreign nationals soon

May 23 (DN) New regulations stipulating procedures to be followed when employing foreign nationals will be submitted for Cabinet approval within two weeks, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. He made this observation speaking on the FTA with Singapore, while moving two orders under the Strategic Development Act for debate in Parliament yesterday. He said new Regulations proposed under the Immigration and Emigration Act will address the professionals’ & other stakeholders’ concerns more..

Startup boot camps inspire young entrepreneurs in Jaffna

May 23 (FT) Sri Lanka’s supply of entrepreneurs is relatively short, and it’s only hindering the economic growth of the country. Only 2.8% of the Sri Lankan population are business owners (as compared with 10-20% in comparable countries around the world). Congruently, 45% of the population earns less than $5 a day according to the World Bank, showing a need for further economic development, including through developing startup companies that will provide employment and innovation, more..

ජනතාවට පටවන බදු බර

Maldivian arrested with Heroin worth 24mn

May 23 (NR) A Maldivian national has been arrested at the Katunayake International Airport, in an attempt to leave the island in possession of 2.39 kgs of Heroin valued at over 24.4 million rupees. The arrest was carried out by the Police Narcotics Bureau. Initial investigations have revealed the suspect has visited the island 16 times since the year 2016. The suspect who was attempting to return to the Maldives was arrested concealing the stock of Heroin in his luggage. more..

Close stable doors before horses flee!

May 23 (CT) The recent spread of a viral flu among preschool and school children, predominantly in the southern parts of the country, has taken the nation by storm when the country is quite literally being hit by the likes of a storm in the form of the South West Monsoon. This outbreak is defined by the relevant authorities as a seasonal influenza virus infection and is not exclusively within the southern parts, but also reported from all over the country. However, given that the number of casualties reported more..