International

Facebook bans Israeli firm over fake election posts

Views - 6 Saturday, 18 May 2019 00:00

LONDON (AFP): Facebook, facing criticism for enabling disruption of elections worldwide, said it was taking down hundreds of accounts linked to an Israeli political consultancy. The social media platform said it was banning the Israeli company, Arch


US slaps sanctions over Russia rights despite revived ties

Views - 7 Saturday, 18 May 2019 00:00

WASHINGTON (AFP): The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on five Russians over abuses including the killing of a prominent opposition leader, days after top-level talks seemed to ease tensions between the powers. The State Department highli


Modi chooses woman facing terrorism charges as election candidate

Views - 5 Saturday, 18 May 2019 00:00

BHOPAL, India (Reuters): For nearly a decade, Pragya Thakur was known mostly as the saffron-clad Hindu ascetic shuttling in and out of Indian courts, flanked by police, facing charges under an anti-terrorism law for plotting a bomb attack on Muslims.


Oil rises for a third day amid escalating Mideast tensions

Views - 9 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

TOKYO (Reuters): Oil prices rose on Thursday for a third straight session, as the risk of conflict in the Middle East stoked fears of supply disruptions, negating an unexpected rise in US inventories. Brent crude futures were at $ 72.16 a barrel at 0


Tanker attacks near UAE expose weaknesses in Gulf Arab security

Views - 9 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters): Attacks on Saudi tankers and other vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates this week expose vulnerabilities in the security of a key oil-shipping route amid rising tensions between the United States, Iran and Gulf Ar


Saudi-led warplanes pound Yemen rebels after pipeline attack

Views - 8 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

Sanaa, AFP: Saudi-led coalition warplanes bombed Yemeni rebel targets including in the capital on Thursday following insurgent drone strikes on a key oil pipeline that Riyadh said were ordered by its arch-rival Tehran. The new bombardment came after


Malaysia first-quarter GDP growth faster than forecast, but central bank warns of risks

Views - 8 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters): Malaysia’s economy grew faster than expected in the first quarter supported by a recovery in the agriculture sector, but the central bank warned of downside risks to full-year growth. Bank Negara Malaysia said the economy gr


Australian former PM Bob Hawke dead

Views - 5 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

SYDNEY, AFP: Australia’s longest-serving Labour Prime Minister Bob Hawke died Thursday aged 89, his wife announced. “Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian -- many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era,” his second wife B


Malaysia arrests suspected militants over IS plots

Views - 4 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

KUALA LUMPUR, AFP: Three militants inspired by the Islamic State group have been arrested in Malaysia, accused of planning attacks on non-Muslim places of worship in the country and neighbouring Indonesia, police said Thursday. The suspects are thou


New York Mayor de Blasio joins 2020 race

Views - 5 Friday, 17 May 2019 00:00

New York, AFP: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday he will seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, despite a panning by US media and polls which suggest he faces a tough fight. De Blasio becomes the 23rd prospective Democratic chal


Asia stocks rebound from 3-1/2-month lows as trade fears ease

Views - 7 Thursday, 16 May 2019 00:00

TOKYO (Reuters): Asian stocks rebounded from a 3-1/2-month low on Wednesday as a slight softening in rhetoric from US President Donald Trump eased worries about the US-China tariff war, and on expectations that Beijing could unveil more economic stim


Iran’s Zarif warns of risk from ‘extremist’ individuals in US government

Views - 4 Thursday, 16 May 2019 00:00

NEW DELHI (Reuters): Iran’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that “extremist individuals” in the US government were pursuing dangerous policies, amid a war of words with Washington over sanctions. Mohammad Javad Zarif was in New Delhi for talks


Brexit rebels tell Theresa May: Your EU divorce deal is dead

Views - 6 Thursday, 16 May 2019 00:00

London (Reuters): Brexit-supporting rebels in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s party said on Wednesday they would vote down her European Union divorce deal when she brings it back to Parliament early next month. Brexit had been due to take plac


‘First ray of hope’ as German economy returns to growth

Views - 5 Thursday, 16 May 2019 00:00

Berlin (Reuters): Germany’s spluttering economy returned to growth in the first quarter as consumers spent more freely and construction activity picked up, but the government said the outlook remained clouded by trade disputes. Gross domestic produ


As trade war bites, China’s Xi preaches openness

Views - 3 Thursday, 16 May 2019 00:00

BEIJING (Reuters): China has a glorious history of being open to the world and it will only be more open, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, in his first public address since trade tension with the United States spiked last week. China and the U


China says agreed with US to keep talking over trade war

Views - 10 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 01:04

Beijing/Washington (Reuters): China and the United States have agreed to keep talking about their trade dispute, the Chinese government said on Tuesday, as US President Donald Trump said he thought recent discussions in Beijing would be successful. T


Brazil investigators get access to banking records of president’s son in graft probe

Views - 6 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 01:02

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters): A Brazilian court will allow investigators to examine the banking records of President Jair Bolsonaro’s senator son and his former driver in a money-laundering investigation, two sources with knowledge of the situation tol


Senior Conservatives tell May to ditch Brexit talks with Labour

Views - 6 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 01:00

LONDON (Reuters): British Prime Minister Theresa May was told by senior members of her own party on Tuesday to abandon talks to find a Brexit compromise with the Opposition Labour Party as pressure mounted on her to name a date for standing down. Nea


Asia’s spot oil prices rise to multi-year highs on tight supply

Views - 11 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 00:59

SINGAPORE (Reuters): Prices of Middle East and Russian spot crude grades sold in Asia hit multi-year highs as Asian oil buyers snapped up cargoes amid tighter supplies, trade sources said on Tuesday. US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, disruptions of


Malaysia’s first-quarter GDP growth seen cooling on weak demand, exports

Views - 7 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 00:56

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters): Malaysia’s economic growth pace likely slowed in the first quarter, due to tepid consumption and softer global demand as a result of the US-China trade war, a Reuters poll showed. The poll of 13 economists predicted the econ


China hikes tariffs on most US goods in $ 60 b target list

Views - 8 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 00:55

BEIJING (Reuters): China said yesterday it will adjust tariffs on a revised target list of $ 60 billion worth of US imports, with additional rates of 20% to 25% in retaliation for a US tariff hike on $ 200 billion worth of Chinese goods. A total of


Congress party vows to ‘clean up’ economic data gathering if wins election

Views - 4 Wednesday, 15 May 2019 00:55

NEW DELHI (Reuters): India’s main opposition Congress party will review how economic data is collected and interpreted if it wins a general election this month, a senior party official said, amid doubts over the reliability of official data. Econom


New Zealand begins inquiry into Christchurch’s mosques massacre

Views - 5 Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

WELLINGTON (Reuters): An inquiry into Christchurch’s mosques shooting massacre began hearing evidence on Monday, as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern prepared to co-host a meeting in France that seeks global support to tackle online violenc


Japan’s coincident index suggests economy may be in recession

Views - 5 Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

TOKYO (Reuters): Japan’s coincident indicator index declined in March and the government cut its assessment of the economy, a sign it may already be in recession as the US-China trade war and weak external demand hurt activity. Worries about the ec


Pakistan reaches accord with IMF on $6 b bailout

Views - 7 Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

ISLAMABAD (Reuters): Pakistan has reached an accord with the International Monetary Fund over a three-year, $6 billion bailout package aimed at shoring up fragile public finances and strengthening the slowing economy, officials said on Sunday. Pakist


‘No laughing matter’: India’s Modi mocked for tech gaffes

Views - 7 Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

NEW DELHI (AFP): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been roundly mocked for suggesting that radars are affected by clouds and boasting that he sent an email attachment years before the technology to do so was invented. Modi, who is currently fi


Malaysia foils IS-linked plot, seizes explosives

Views - 4 Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

KUALA LUMPUR, AFP: Malaysian police said Monday they have arrested four militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) group who were in possession of explosives and planned to attack non-Muslim places of worship. The suspects – a Malaysian who led th


UK PM May’s party slumps to fifth place as pressure mounts for her to go

Views - 4 Tuesday, 14 May 2019 00:00

LONDON (Reuters): British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives have fallen to fifth place in an opinion poll ahead of the 23 May European parliamentary election as pressure grows for her to set a date for her own departure. Nigel Farage’s B


Gunmen storm luxury hotel in Pakistan port city of Gwadar

Views - 7 Monday, 13 May 2019 00:00

ISLAMABAD (AFP): At least one person has been killed after three gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Gwadar, the centrepiece of a multi-billion dollar Chinese infrastructure project, the military said Saturday. The gu


ANC keeps power in South Africa but scandals cost it votes

Views - 5 Monday, 13 May 2019 00:00

PRETORIA (Reuters): The African National Congress easily won South Africa’s general election on Saturday but its share of the vote fell, reflecting anger at corruption scandals and racial inequalities that remain entrenched a generation after the p


Today's Columnists

17 things ‘Avengers: Endgame’ teaches us about the state of our superheroes

Friday, 24 May 2019

Art imitates life. Even movies do. Maybe especially so. In these lean times, there’s nothing like a little laughter to stop the press, stem the blood pressure, ease that stress in life. So here goes. Trust you’ll take these tongue-in-cheek. Or pe


Sri Lanka needs urgent surgery!

Friday, 24 May 2019

Sri Lanka was on the slippery slope of a serious crisis, heading for a great disaster of the State, even before the outbreak of Easter Sunday attacks. Now, in the aftermath of the ruthless Easter Sunday attacks, the country’s crisis has become exac


Who built the Matara/Beliatta railway line?

Friday, 24 May 2019

In 2019, after 70 long years of independence, Sri Lanka succeeded in adding to the rail network left behind by the British when we extended the southern line from Matara to Beliatta, a distance of less than 20 miles. While the network left in place b


Occupational prestige further propagates a divisive society

Friday, 24 May 2019

Occupational prestige is regarded by society as an individual’s social standing based on the occupational position in the hierarchical social structure of an aggregate of occupations. Accordingly, the general public perceive certain occupations hig


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