Sri Lanka - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka lifts coronavirus lockdown, says 'no community spread'

Jun 28, 2020 - 8:05 PM

Authorities plan to reopen Sri Lanka's borders on August 1

Sri Lanka to reopen for tourism in August, with multiple coronavirus tests

Jun 06, 2020 - 7:00 PM

Sri Lanka will implement strict guidelines for tourists when it allows arrivals again starting August 1

Tourists wearing protective face masks to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in Wuhan, walk along Galle Face Green promenade in Colombo on January 29, 2020. - Sri Lanka confirmed its first case on Monday -- a 43-year-old Chinese tourist from Hubei province. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

Traps snare 3 endangered leopards in Sri Lanka

Jun 03, 2020 - 7:22 PM

Sri Lanka's Wilderness and Wildlife Conservation Trust calls for all snares to be banned, and those who set them to be prosecuted

ENDANGERED. A dead endangered leopard is seen at a private cashew plantation in Neluwa, about 145 km southeast of the capital Colombo, on June 2, 2020. Photo by STR/AFP

Sri Lanka to reimpose selective lockdown after virus cases spike

May 28, 2020 - 6:50 PM

Authorities will impose lockdowns on days when crowds are likely to form

SELECTIVE LOCKDOWN. Commuters get off a train after arriving at Fort Railway station in Colombo on May 26, 2020 as authorities eased the 24-hour curfew as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus after 67 days. File photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

No kissing the bride as Sri Lanka lifts weddings ban

May 22, 2020 - 11:00 PM

Under new guidelines, there should be no more than 100 guests, all of whom must stay a meter apart and wear masks – including the happy couple

3 women crushed to death in Sri Lanka stampede for $8 handout

May 22, 2020 - 11:15 AM

'People are desperate. When they heard about today's donation, over a thousand turned up,' says member of parliament Mujibur Rahman

AFTERMATH. Policemen stand guard next to footwear scattered outside a warehouse, where three women were crushed to death in a stampede while waiting to receive a cash donation, in Colombo May 21, 2020. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Facebook apologizes for role in 2018 Sri Lanka unrest

May 13, 2020 - 5:20 PM

Facebook says in a statement to Bloomberg News, 'We recognize, and apologize for, the very real human rights impacts that resulted'

FACEBOOK. In this file photo illustration a Facebook App logo is displayed on a smartphone on March 25, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia. File photo by Olivier Douliery/AFP

Sri Lanka extends lockdown as virus cases spike

Apr 26, 2020 - 7:41 PM

The government extends the lockdown order until May 4

LOCKDOWN. A policeman uses a megaphone to warn the lockdown violators during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the coronavirus, in Colombo on April 11, 2020. Photo by Ishara Kodikara/AFP

Sri Lanka falls silent for Easter attack victims

Apr 21, 2020 - 11:17 PM

The coronavirus pandemic forces the Roman Catholic leadership to call off elaborate services to honor the 279 people killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

ONE YEAR. A relative pays his respect at a graveyard for St. Sebastian's Church bomb blasts victims in Negombo on April 21, 2020, to mark the first anniversary of the attacks. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Sri Lanka makes cremations compulsory for virus deaths, angering Muslims

Apr 12, 2020 - 10:11 PM

Muslims make up 10% of the population in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka heads for snap polls as Rajapaksa tightens grip

Mar 01, 2020 - 2:34 PM

The opposition faces a formidable challenge as it prevents Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from having sweeping powers to govern the country

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) leaves a polling station after casting his vote during the country's presidential election in Colombo on November 16, 2019. Sri Lankans voted on November 16 for a new president in what could mark a comeback for the Rajapaksa clan, lauded by supporters for crushing the Tamil Tigers but condemned by critics for war crimes, corruption and cosying up to China. Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

Virus slows China's major projects in Asia

Feb 28, 2020 - 11:30 PM

Many Chinese workers who left for the Lunar New Year holidays have not returned. Deliveries of supplies and equipment are also disrupted.

In this photograph taken on February 24, 2020 a Chinese labourer works at a construction site on reclaimed land, part of a Chinese-funded project for Port City, in Colombo. - From an artificial island in Sri Lanka to a bridge in Bangladesh and hydropower projects in Nepal and Indonesia, China's trillion-dollar Belt and Road plan is stuttering under the effects of the deadly coronavirus. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY 'HEALTH-VIRUS-DIPLOMACY-TRADE-CHINA-SASIA' FOCUS BY POORNIMA WEERASEKARA

Sri Lanka calls on U.S. to reconsider barring army chief

Feb 16, 2020 - 8:37 PM

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena says Colombo was 'disappointed' with the decision

Sri Lanka's Army chief Shavendra Silva (R) oversees a military operation to revive abandoned rice paddies, as part of a nationwide effort to improve agricultural productivity, near Colombo on January 14, 2020. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

U.S. bans visits by Sri Lanka army chief over war crimes

Feb 14, 2020 - 11:25 PM

'The allegations of gross human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible,' says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

BANNED. Sri Lanka's Army chief Shavendra Silva (R) oversees a military operation to revive abandoned rice paddies, as part of a nationwide effort to improve agricultural productivity, near Colombo on January 14, 2020. Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

Sri Lanka to probe aircraft deal after Airbus settlement

Feb 02, 2020 - 10:12 PM

Investigators accuse Airbus of failing to prevent persons associated with the company from bribing directors or employees of the airline to 'obtain or retain business or advantage'

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 21, 2018 shows a logo at the Airbus A380 assembly site in Blagnac, southern France. - European aerospace giant Airbus said on January 28, 2020 it had reached "agreement in principle" with the French, British and US authorities over corruption investigations. "These agreements are made in the context of investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption as well as compliance with the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations," Airbus said in a statement. (Photo by PASCAL PAVANI / AFP)

China coronavirus outbreak: How governments have reacted

Feb 02, 2020 - 12:47 PM

From border closures to flight bans, here are some of the steps states have taken to limit the spread of the virus

OUTBREAK. Passengers grab their luggages as they disembark a Turkish cargo plane at the Etimesgut military Airport in Ankara on February 1, 2020, after being repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak. Adem Altan/AFP

Project fear: Misinformation spreads China virus panic

Jan 31, 2020 - 9:44 AM

Misleading bat soup videos, vastly inflated death tolls, quack remedies, and vaccine conspiracies compound public fears and stoke racial stereotypes

FALSE REPORTS. Singaporeans check their phones during their commute. AFP photo

The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?

Jan 24, 2020 - 8:34 AM

(10th UPDATE) Here are the countries that have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus

PROTECTION. A woman holds a child wearing a facemask as they queue at the West Kowloon rail station in Hong Kong on January 23, 2020. Photo by Philip Fong/AFP

Double trouble: Too many show up for Sri Lanka twins record attempt

Jan 21, 2020 - 3:23 PM

Organizers of Sri Lanka's try to break the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of twins are overwhelmed by unexpectedly large crowd

TOO MANY. Sri Lankan twins dancers perform during an event attempting to break the world record for the biggest gathering of twins, in Colombo on January 20, 2020. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachichi/AFP

Sri Lanka shakes up intelligence agency after Easter attacks

Dec 09, 2019 - 7:07 PM

It is the first time that a military officer has filled the position, and the appointment comes 3 weeks after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected president promising better security

Sri Lanka's new president picks brother as Prime Minister

Nov 20, 2019 - 9:46 PM

Mahinda Rajapaksa, a two-term president himself, is due to be sworn in as premier on Thursday following the resignation of Ranil Wickremesinghe

THE RAJAPAKSAS.  Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (2L) and his brother, former Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa (2R) wave at supporters during a campaign rally in Homagama on November 13, 2019. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Symbolic swearing-in for Sri Lanka's new president

Nov 18, 2019 - 5:36 PM

Having spearheaded the brutal end of the Tamil separatist war a decade ago, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a divisive figure but popular among his own majority Sinhalese-Buddhist community

NEW PRESIDENT. Sri Lanka's new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa gestures during his swearing-in ceremony at the Ruwanwelisaya temple in Anuradhapura on November 18, 2019. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

'Terminator' Rajapaksa storms to victory in Sri Lanka election

Nov 17, 2019 - 1:54 PM

(UPDATED) Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the younger brother of the charismatic but controversial ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa

POLL WINNER. Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) leaves a polling station after casting his vote during the country's presidential election in Colombo on November 16, 2019. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Gunmen fire on buses carrying Muslim Sri Lankan voters

Nov 16, 2019 - 10:15 PM

Such tactics are nothing new in Sri Lanka, which emerged from a horrific civil war only a decade ago

ELECTIONS. Supporters of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa celebrate the closing of the voting in Baddegama on November 16, 2019. AFP photo

Rajapaksas eye comeback in Sri Lanka presidential election

Nov 16, 2019 - 11:06 AM

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of political heavyweight Mahinda Rajapaksa, may be elected into office

Sri Lankan voters queue up to cast their ballots at a polling station during the country's presidential election in Colombo on November 16, 2019. - Sri Lankans began voting on November 16 in a tightly fought presidential election where former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa's family is seeking a return to power after five years. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

Outrage as Sri Lanka president pardons killer of Swedish teen

Nov 10, 2019 - 3:04 PM

'Monstrous act by a failed president,' says a Twitter user condemning the pardon issued by outgoing Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena

OUTRAGE. Outgoing Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena pardons convicted killer Jude Jayamaha. AFP file photo

Sri Lanka election chief censors state TV ahead of polls

Nov 03, 2019 - 4:20 PM

This comes after the Independent Television Network aired a program that the election commission says had harmed the opposition frontrunner, who is also the brother of ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse

Sri Lanka faces costliest election, longest ballot paper

Oct 08, 2019 - 7:32 PM

Thirty five candidates are running in the November 16 poll, the highest number in any single ballot

COSTLIEST ELECTION. Sri Lankan troops keep watch and hold back party supporters outside the election commissioner's office in Colombo on October 7, 2019 shortly after candidates contesting for next month's presidential election handed in the nomination papers. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Sri Lanka's Rajapakse clan steps up new bid for power

Oct 07, 2019 - 10:37 PM

Gotabhaya Rajapakse is frontrunner in the campaign for the November 16 election, even though his bid is widely seen as a front to get Mahinda back into power

ELECTIONS. Gotabhaya Rajapakse (R), the former secretary to the ministry of defense and brother of Sri Lanka's opposition leader and former president Mahinda Rajapakse (L), waves to supporters in Colombo on October 7, 2019, after filing his nomination papers to contest the upcoming presidential election. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Sri Lanka president abandons reelection bid

Oct 06, 2019 - 6:06 PM

Two of ex-president Mahinder Rajapakse's brothers have paid deposits to be candidates

OUTGOING PRESIDENT. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena speaks at an event. File photo by Nicolas Asfouri/AFP

Sri Lanka orders fresh probe into Easter suicide bombings

Sep 22, 2019 - 6:32 PM

The commission will have wide judicial powers to gather evidence on those responsible for the bombings, and to probe security and intelligence lapses

EASTER ATTACKS. In this file photo, security personnel stand guard near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 24, 2019, 3 days after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Sri Lanka court rejects Easter bomb murder charge against officials

Jul 09, 2019 - 11:51 PM

Police Inspector General Pujith Jayasundara and former defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando are represented in court after being arrested last week on charges their negligence led to the attacks

EASTER ATTACKS. A general view of St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 29, 2019, a week after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. File photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Sri Lanka president vetoes military deal with U.S.

Jul 06, 2019 - 9:59 PM

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena thumbs down a deal that would allow US troops access to the country's ports. Its strategic port in Hambantota is on a 99-year lease with China

SIRISENA. In this file photo, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena gestures after being sworn in at Independence Square in Colombo on January 9, 2015. File photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

Sri Lanka police chief arrested over Easter attacks failures

Jul 02, 2019 - 8:11 PM

An official says Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara and former defense secretary Hemasiri Fernando were at different hospitals undergoing treatment when detectives arrested them

EASTER ATTACKS. Security personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the church was hit in series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. File photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Police chief faces crimes against humanity charge over Sri Lanka attacks

Jul 01, 2019 - 11:31 PM

'Their negligence amounts to what is known under international law to be grave crimes against humanity,' says Attorney General Dappula de Livera

EASTER BOMBINGS. Security personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the church was hit in series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. File photo by Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Top Sri Lanka defense official faces charges over Easter attacks

Jun 24, 2019 - 11:49 PM

Hemasiri Fernando should be investigated for his failure to prevent or minimize the attacks, says Attorney General Dappula de Livera

Sri Lanka President seeks to roll back his political reforms

Jun 23, 2019 - 7:56 PM

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena says the 19th amendment to the constitution 'has triggered instability' and led to a power struggle

FOR PEACE. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena vows to do anything to combat jihadists. File photo by Nicolas Asfouri/AFP

Sri Lanka extends emergency in surprise move

Jun 22, 2019 - 2:03 PM

There is no immediate word from the government on why President Maithripala Sirisena changed his mind on relaxing the tough laws imposed after the Easter Sunday attacks

Sri Lankan soldiers secure an area near St. Anthony's Shrine after a car explosion in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. - The death toll from bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka rose dramatically April 22 to 290 -- including dozens of foreigners -- as police announced new arrests over the country's worst attacks for more than a decade. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

Sri Lanka to charge police for 'lapses' over Easter attacks

Jun 20, 2019 - 11:25 PM

Nine police officers will face 'criminal investigations' for failing to act on warnings ahead of the April 21 bombings on 3 churches and 3 hotels carried out by Islamic State-backed jihadists

AFTERMATH. Sri Lankan security personnel and police investigators look through debris outside Zion Church following an explosion in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. File photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachichi/AFP

Bombed Catholic church in Sri Lanka attacks reopens

Jun 13, 2019 - 12:10 PM

Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith leads reconsecration of newly restored St Anthony's and says there were doubts whether the island could pull itself out of crisis after the coordinated suicide bombings on April 21

REOPENS. File photo of Sri Lankan navy personnel carry on repair works on the facade of St Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on May 2, 2019. Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

India's Modi makes unscheduled stop at bombed Sri Lanka church

Jun 09, 2019 - 8:55 PM

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a detour to St Anthony's shrine on the way to President Maithripala Sirisena's office

Sri Lanka Muslim ministers resign en masse over Easter bombings

Jun 03, 2019 - 11:21 PM

The resignations of 9 government legislators come after a Buddhist monk lawmaker supporting President Maithripala Sirisena demanded the sacking of 3 top Muslim politicians

EASTER BOMBINGS. In this file photo, Sri Lankan security personnel and police investigators look through debris outside Zion Church following an explosion in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019. File photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Police chief blames president for failing to prevent Sri Lanka attacks

Jun 02, 2019 - 5:05 PM

Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara cites 'serious communication gaps' between intelligence agencies and security arms of the government, all which fall under Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena

TRAGEDY. Sri Lankan security personnel walk through debris following an explosion in St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the capital Colombo, on April 21, 2019. Photo by STR/AFP

Sri Lanka to relax emergency in a month – president

May 27, 2019 - 8:50 PM

'The emergency was declared to deal with the immediate security situation. However, it will not be necessary to extend this any further,' says Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena

STATE OF EMERGENCY. In this file photo, Sri Lankan navy personnel carry on repair works on the facade of St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on May 2, 2019, after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. File photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP

Sri Lanka detain nearly 100 in anti-Islamist swoops

May 26, 2019 - 7:27 PM

Some 3,000 military personnel are deployed in and around the capital as well as other key towns for cordon-and-search activities

UNREST. Sri Lankan security personnel stand guard after clashes erupted between Christian and Muslim communities in Negombo on May 6, 2019. Photo by STR/AFP

Sri Lanka extends emergency a month after suicide bombings

May 22, 2019 - 10:21 PM

Sri Lanka's president issues a proclamation saying that the emergency will continue for another 30 days, citing 'public security'

SECURITY. In this file photo, Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside the church premises following a blast at the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, Colombo on April 21, 2019.  File photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

Fake news rampant after Sri Lanka attacks despite social media ban

May 22, 2019 - 1:21 PM

Social media, aside from being a communication tool, becomes a means to spread confusion and vitriol as the island struggles to come to terms with one of the worst terror attacks in its history

GUARD. Security personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 22, 2019, a day after the church was hit in series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Sri Lanka DNA tests confirm Easter attacks ringleader was hotel bomber

May 22, 2019 - 7:34 AM

A Sri Lanka police spokesman says the government's main forensic laboratory matched Hashim's daughter's DNA with the remains of one of the bombers at the hotel

TRAGEDY. Sri Lankan security personnel walk through debris following an explosion in St Sebastian's Church in Negombo, north of the capital Colombo, on April 21, 2019. Photo by STR/AFP

Safe for Catholic schools to reopen – Sri Lanka army

May 21, 2019 - 2:59 PM

Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake says security forces would ensure schools were not targeted by Islamic militants responsible for the April 21 bombings

SCHOOL DUTY. Sri Lankan bomb disposal squad officers use a sniffer dog to check for explosives at a school in Colombo on May 5, 2019, ahead of the reopening of all public schools after an extended Easter holiday. Photo by Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP

Sri Lanka president vows to eliminate jihadist threat

May 19, 2019 - 10:27 PM

'With experience from a war that lasted over 3 decades, we are now compelled to meet a completely different threat,' President Maithripala Sirisena says