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Who are we?

May 18 (FT) Faced with a tragedy of the scale we have just witnessed, I don’t believe it’s enough to ask how it happened, or what happens next. We must ask a much more fundamental question, which is, who are we? The easy answer is to say we are Sri Lankans, united as citizens of a country. But I think we must go beyond that. During my teenage years, I was fortunate enough to come into contact with Bala Tampoe, Secretary-General of the CMU, a leading trade union at the time, and more..

Let sanity prevail

May 18 (FT) 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, and 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..

Eastern Governor in the hot seat?

May 18 (SO) Shops and other businesses in the Eastern town Trincomalee and its suburbs Kantale, Thambalagamuwa and Serunuwara remained shuttered on Friday. The streets were nearly empty. The traders of the towns had expressed support to a hartal called by a group that called themselves the East Protection Organisation while SLPP Pradeshiya Sabha Member Wijayawickrama Lamahewa also continued with Satyagraha more..

Pursuing peace talks with the TNA

May 18 (CT) Perhaps, the saddest aspect of govt dysfunctionality, which became clear to me in the aftermath of the presentation of the Darusman Report, was the frivolous manner in which the team, the President had appointed, negotiated with the TNAA. In May 2009 Mahinda Rajapaksa had signed a joint communiqué with the UN Secretary General in which it was noted that “Govt expressed its commitment to ensure the economic and political empowerment of the people of the North more..

Tourism through foreign eyes

May 18 (CT) The tourism industry received a sledgehammer blow after the Easter Sunday massacre by Islamist terrorists when a considerable number of innocent Catholics at morning mass perished, along with nearly 50 foreign tourists in two five-star hotels. Following this tragic incident, the tourism industry has become a burning issue for the Govt, as their fervent hope of expecting millions of tourists by 2020, were dashed. City Hoteliers Association confirmed about hotel more..

Living with loss: The family of Fouzal Ameen faces an uncertain future

May 18 (Roar) Fifteen-year-old Ajmal stands with a dazed look, his eyes red from crying. He is surrounded by a group of men who are angry. Their raised voices are filled with grief as they cry out: “He was innocent and he was killed. Were we attacked because we called out the extremists among us? Is that the punishment we deserve?” Still a child among adults, Ajmal stands at a distance, not seeming to comprehend any of the clamour more..

Self-Interest, An Ostrich & A Sri Lankan

May 18 (CT) If self-interest were an export commodity, it would do to Sri Lanka what petroleum has done to oil exporting Middle East countries would have made Sri Lanka exceedingly wealthy. Petroleum, also known as black gold, has done wonders to the economies and ruling classes (monarchs) of some aforementioned countries (not to forget its byproduct – funding Wahhabism the world over). However, unlike petroleum- which is a finite commodity, self-interest has to be more..

Follow the money & The truth will out!

May 18 (CT) Nearly two weeks ago, the Police Spokesman announced that CID sleuths had uncovered a staggering LKR 7 billion in assets belonging to the National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ), the group responsible for the Easter Sunday attacks. It included LKR 140 million in cash. Since then, more and more assets and cash have been discovered. Therein lies the real story of the rise of the NTJ, its links to ISIL and other groups, the manner in which these dastardly attacks more..

Video: Soldier in Nattanidiya video not at fault: Army Commander

May 17 (DM) Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake said yesterday the soldier who was seen in a CCTV video as having made a hand gesture to a mob during a violent incident that occurred in Nattanidiya in Thummodara last Monday, and was found to be not at fault. He explained that the soldier had not invited the mob but had fixed the strap of the firearm. He said the Army had launched an investigation into this incident and that they confirmed this after watching the video several times more..

A decade without justice for Sri Lanka’s Tamils

May 17 (TD) Amid the continued international attention on the aftermath of the April Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, this month is also an important reminder of the legacy of Sri Lanka’s civil war, with May 18 marking the tenth anniversary of the end of the conflict on May 18, 2009. But though media accounts today tend to focus on this as an endpoint for the country’s civil war, it is critical to keep in mind that for many of SL’s Tamils, the search for elusive justice continues even today, more..

India offers full support to Sri Lanka to deal with threat of Jihadi terrorism

May 17 (NOA) India has offered its full support to SL in dealing with the common threat of Jihadi terrorism saying any threat to SL is seen as a threat to India. This was stated by High Commissioner of India to SL Taranjit Singh Sandhu after meeting the top Buddhist clergy in Kandy today. Addressing the media after his meeting, the High Commissioner said India stands firmly and strongly with Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the attacks on April 21st in which many innocent lives were lost more..

National Vesak festival to commence today

May 17 (NR) The national Vesak festival is set to be marked at the Thotagamuwa Ranpath Rajamaha Viharaya, Thelwatte, Hikkaduwa today and tomorrow. The event organised under the auspices of the Mahanayaka Thera is scheduled to commence at two this afternoon. President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe are also due to attend the event. Measures were taken to restrict the National Vesak festival that was initially scheduled to be in place for an entire week, more..

Number of Vesak dansals hits record low

May 17 (DM) For the very first time in history, the number of dansals during Vesak will be limited to 92. Although some 6,000 dansals were registered last year, the number stands at 92 this year according to the Association of Public Health Inspectors. In the Colombo city alone, there were 150 dansals last year, but this time it is limited to four. Secretary to PHI Association Mahendra Balasuriya said there was also a notable decline in Vesak zones, pandals and religious rituals like observance of Sil. more..

Not raided, employee taken into custody at an undisclosed location: Virtusa

May 17 (DM) With reference to recent news reports, Virtusa Ltd. made a clarification and said its facility was not raided but a single employee was taken into custody while at an undisclosed location. “It was reported that our office was raided. This is not accurate. We invited the police to conduct a sweep of our facilities, just as other local businesses have recently done as part of routine activities. It was also reported that one of the suspects was an intern at our company dating back to 2013. more..

Sri Lanka mulls 25% ownership limit in finance companies

May 17 (EN) Central bank will be introducing a 25 percent ownership limit in licensed finance companies (LFCs) following stakeholder consultations on the plan. "The master plan is intended to bring down the ownership limits to 25% within a timeframe of 5 years," Dept of Non-Bank Financial Institutions Director W Ranaweera said. Under special circumstances, ownership limits can be increased to 30%. Planned sanctions for non-compliance will include suspension of more..

Police seize 21 bags of Amonia Nitrate

May 17 (DM) Twenty-one bags of Ammonia Nitrate which had been hidden inside a cage at the Asgiriya Police kennel unit was seized yesterday by the Kandy police. During investigations, the police were informed that the ammonia nitrate was used as coconut fertilizer. However, a senior military official said it was one of the chemicals used in the manufacture of explosives. Police had seized the stock of chemicals on information received by two senior police officials of the Kandy police headquarters. more..

Businessman with alleged NTJ links arrested

May 17 (Island) Police investigations have revealed that millionaire businessman and Mabole resident arrested for his alleged links to the proscribed Islamic extremist terrorist outfit National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) is the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) organiser for Wattala. It was also revealed that the suspect Mohamed Rizwan maintained close links with drug lord Makandure Madush now in custody while the latter was hiding in Dubai. The police believe that Rizwan was an accomplice of Madush. more..

Govt pulls advertising from Hiru, Derana

May 17 (EN) SL's state institutions are halting advertisements private television channels, Minister Mangala Samaraweera has said, alleging that they were contributing to communal disharmony. "Any media institutions trying to make a business out of racism and human blood will be strongly opposed," he said. Samaraweera was speaking to chairpersons of state banks at the finance ministry, video of which he uploaded more..

German Ambassador calls on Opposition Leader

May 17 (AD) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has briefed German Ambassador to SL Jörn Rohde on the current situation of the country. The duo has held a discussion at the Office of the Opposition Leader last evening. The German Ambassador has emphasized that the situation in the country should be restored forthwith. The govt has been informed in this regard and the Opposition has offered to extend maximum support to ensure the security of the country, Opposition Leader told ambassador. more..

Court allows to detain two suspects linked to Zahran for 72 hours

May 17 (AD) Kebithigollewa Magistrate’s Court today granted permission for police to detain for 72 hours and question the two suspects arrested in Horowpathana over their alleged links to terrorist leader Zaharan Hashim.Noor Mohammadu Abdul Rasool and Kana Mohamed Mijam, identified as a Principal and an Acting Principal of two Muslim schools in the area, were arrested last night by the STF at Paththewa, Horowpathana. They are believed to have maintained close links with more..

MPs to urge govt to bring in series of legislation

May 17 (DM) A group of MPs, from both the govt and the opposition, are planning to urge the govt to introduce a series of legislation to de-radicalize Muslims holding extremist views, regulation of Madrasas and the amendment of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to deal with the current situation. Minister Champika Ranawaka told a function in Suriyawewa, Hambantota yesterday that the PTA should be amended to broaden more..

Distressed yacht towed to safety by Navy

May 17 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) helped rescue a foreign yacht in distress off the shores of Rumassala, Galle yesterday (15). Upon receipt of a distress signal, the Navy promptly dispatched two naval craft to bring ashore a foreign yacht named Mango One that was in distress off the shores of Rumassala, following an engine failure. Accordingly, the SLN safely escorted the yacht and its passengers who are en route to Thailand, via Sri Lankan waters. more..

'Expo Dubai 2020 to help in achieving Sri Lanka's Vision 2025'

May 17 (Island) Transforming Sri Lanka into the hub of the Indian Ocean, with a knowledge-based, highly competitive and social-market economy is the objective of the Vision 2025 policy document of the govt. Making the transition to a export, FDI and tourism oriented country is the only option for Sri Lanka to create better jobs for the youth of our country and to graduate to a higher income economy. Expo Dubai 2020 will contribute to achieving the Sri Lanka’s Vision 2025 by more..

Sri Lanka establishes diplomatic relations with Nicaragua

May 17 (MFA) Upon the signing of the Agreement by H.E. Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and Mr. Jaime Hermida Castillo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Nicaragua to the United Nations on 15th May 2019 in New York, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Govt of Nicaragua decided to establish Diplomatic Relations more..

Singer Group posts Rs. 58.5 billion revenue for 2018/2019 - a 10% growth over PY

May 17 (Island) Singer Group reported revenue amounting to Rs 58.5 billion for the twelve-month period 2018/19, compared to Rs. 53.1 billion for same period in the prior year with a growth of 10% whilst compared to Rs 65.1 billion revenue during the fifteen month period of 2017/2018 as appears in the published Financial Statements. For the 2018/19 financial year, Group encountered multiple challenges including a prolonged drought and sluggish market conditions which lasted more..

Lasantha’s Daughter slams Army reinstatement of death squad leader

May 17 (CT) “Prabath Bulathwatte‘s reactivation in a prominent post will not only pose a serious threat to and have a chilling effect on those army officers and other witnesses who had the righteousness to speak up against Mr. Bulathwatte’s alleged wrongdoing, Lasantha Wickematunge’s daughter, Ahimsa Wickrematunge. Prabath Bulathwatte‘s reinstatement was announced on May 11 by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake in an interview with news broadcaster Ada Derana. more..

Anura Kumara Disanayake

The crisis and constitutional violations

May 17 (FT) Sri Lanka was in a deep and complex crisis even before the outbreak of the Easter Sunday attacks. Now, in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks, the country has plunged into a deeper and bigger crisis, which is more complex than it was before. The economy of the country was on a downward trend heading for virtual bankruptcy even before the Easter Sunday bomb attacks. Now the downturn of the economy has aggravated further, reaching a level which is two to three times more..

China Equation

May 17 (CT) This newspaper reported on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping had told President Maithripala Sirisena to root out terrorism in whatever way possible and ensure that national security is guaranteed in the island-nation. China too has its own form of Islamist terrorism. But being a totalitarian regime, it’s seemingly easier for Beijing to crackdown on terrorism, which, Sri Lanka a democracy cannot do. Additionally, Govt’s official website reported that Xi agreed to provide more..

Two suspects with close links to Zahran arrested at Horowpathana

May 17 (AD) Two persons, who are believed to have 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 arrested in Horowpathana. The arrest was made by the Special Task Force at Paththewa in Horowpathana last evening. The arrestees, Noor Mohammadu Abdul Rasool and Kana Mohamed Mijam, were identified as a principal and more..

US reiterates strong support for Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism

May 17 (EN) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged strong support to SL to fight terrorism when he met the island’s Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana in Washington Thursday. “The Secretary reiterated the United States’ condemnation of the attacks that Sri Lanka suffered last month, which also killed five Americans, and strong U.S. support for Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism,” a U.S. Embassy statement said. more..

SLFP submits 11 proposals to strengthen national security

May 17 (DN) UPFA General Secretary and MP Mahinda Amaraweera said that a set of 11 proposals prepared by SLFP members to introduce new laws required to ensure national security and strengthen peace, harmony, and friendship between different communities and races will be discussed at the Parliament’s Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security to be convened in Parliament today. He said the objective of introducing more..

EPF enters stock market with blood in the streets

May 17 (EN) Sri Lanka's 2.3 trillion rupee state-managed Employees' Provident Fund, has returned to the Colombo Stock Exchange, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said with the benchmark index hitting seven year lows. "The EPF has bought shares in one company last week," Governor Coomaraswamy told EconomyNext. The governor said that EPF policy does not allow him to disclose the new investment. more..

Iran-funded Uni in Badulla: Dilan Perera Allegedly radicalising Tamils

May 17 (CT) MP Dilan Perera alleged that another local education institute branch is being funded by the Al-Mustafa International University in Iran to radicalise non-Sinhala communities to rebel against the Sinhala community. Perera claimed this particular institute is located in the Badulla District and is under the supervision of Badulla District MP Aravinda Kumara, who has attended all the ceremonies held by the institute. more..

TNA takes up Pulmoddai land dispute with Prez, PM

May 17 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan has sought the immediate intervention of President and PM to settle a simmering land dispute in Pulmoddai in the Trincomalee district. The following is the text of MP Sampanthan’s letter: A Monk lives in the area known as Arisimalai within the Pulmoddai Grama Sevaka Division, and within the Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretary’s – Division in the Trincomalee District. more..

What they left behind: Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombing victims

May 17 (Reuters) In SL’s capital, Colombo, a lane that used to be alive with the sound of children playing is silent. An entire family, including three children, died in an explosion at St Anthony’s Church on Easter Sunday, one of a series of coordinated attacks by suicide bombers that killed more than 250 people. The youngest of the child victims was only 11 months old. Bevon, 9, and Clavon, 6, also died in the April 21 blast. more..