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BIA new terminal construction: Agreement to import workers next week

Nov 24 (TM) The Airport and Aviation Services SL (AASL) is expected to enter into a labour agreement on 30 November with the workers who will be imported to commence the construction of the long overdue second terminal (Terminal II) at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). The ground-breaking ceremony was held on Wednesday (18) and the construction is set to commence on the same day the agreement is signed, AASL Chairman Maj. Gen. (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri said. more..

SLAITO rattled by moves to amend Tourism Act

Nov 24 (DM) The country’s inbound tour operators expressed concerns over the govt’s move to amend the Tourism Act, which would eventually lead to the private sector players having no involvement in influencing or taking part in the industry decision making process. SL Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) said the budget proposal to merge SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), SL Convention Bureau (SLCB) and SL Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM), more..

Regressive impact possible from COVID insurance fund and retirement age hike, warns biz community

Nov 24 (FT) The dual policy proposals to increase the private sector retirement age to 60 and imposing a 0.25% levy on turnover of companies belonging to selected sectors to set up a COVID-19 insurance fund could have regressive impact on the labour sector, top industry officials warned recently. Several participants of the Budget 2021 Forum including Access Engineering PLC Chairman Sumal Perera, Hemas Holdings Group CEO Kasturi Wilson and 99X Technology CEO Mano Sekaram were of the view that more..

Two LNG power projects get underway

Nov 24 (ST) The groundwork towards commencing two LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) power plants involving an American and a local company has been laid by the govt weeks before highlighting it in budget 2021, official sources said. Budget 2021 revealed that two LNG plants are to be added to the national power grid while a new plant will also come up at Kerawalapitiya. US-based M/s New Fortress Energy has been given the green-light to supply LNG power with the cabinet of ministers okaying it by considering more..

SLC look for positives

Nov 24 (ST) Lanka Premier League (LPL), which will kick-off in four days, turned out to be a newsmaker machine during the weeks preceding the opening ceremony on Nov 26 than it could be for the 21-day tournament. As many in SL expected, the LPL had more negatives running up to where it is now, but the organisers of the inaugural Twenty20 cricket extravaganza – Innovative Production Group (IPG) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) – stand firm optimistically expecting the positives to come by. more..

Govt gazettes and Jothi’s cassettes

Nov 24 (Island) The present govt has so far published more gazettes than the total number of cassettes released by H.R. Jothipala (Jothi) during his lifetime, as someone has rightly said, but most of them have not had the desired impact, at all. The recent one stipulating maximum retail prices (MRPs) for some varieties of rice is a case in point. Minister Baundula Gunawardena has recently told the media, in Dambulla, that the consumer should exercise patience and wait until the commencement of the next harvesting season more..

Budget unlikely to boost growth: Moody’s

Nov 24 (FT) Despite the business-friendly focus of Budget 2021 it is unlikely to boost output, increase public revenue or ease debt sustainability, int'l ratings agency Moody’s said, warning it will instead increase spending, adding to fiscal pressures and was a credit negative. Moody’s said the Budget, presented on 17 Nov by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, calls for Rs. 3.6 trillion ($ 19.5 billion, 23.7% of 2020 forecast GDP) in expenditure, a 26% increase from its estimate for 2020. more..

PM Modi congratulates Prez Rajapaksa on the first anniversary of assumption of Office

Nov 24 (HCI) Indian PM Narendra Modi congratulated the Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the first anniversary of assumption of Office, Indian High Commission said in a statement, with the Indian PM noting how bilateral relations had strengthened since last November. PM Modi noted that the India-SL relationship had expanded into new areas and was strengthened in the past year. PM Modi underlined that the strong collaboration between the two countries in the midst of challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic symbolized more..

Lion Brewery export earnings rise in H1 despite profit decline

Nov 24 (TM) SL’s largest beer producer Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC has seen its export earnings rise significantly, despite a major loss of overall profits during the first half (H1) of the 2020/21 financial year (FY). “Whilst business in the local market was adversely affected due to the pandemic, it was satisfying to record a significant growth in exports. Currently, Lion beer is exported to 25 countries, and volumes increased by 19% during the first half whilst profits rose by 32% in this segment of the business,” more..

'People’s hopes have been dashed with this budget'

Nov 24 (CT) SJB MP, economist Dr. Harsha de Silva, says. in an interview, Budget 2021 has failed to consider the plight of the people who are facing the brunt of the pandemic. Q: Govt’s Budget for 2021 was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance. Commencing the debate for the Opposition you described it as a weak budget. Why did you criticise it? A: I think this particular budget was written while residing on another planet. Not planet Earth. more..

Retirement age extension can revive plantation sector

Nov 24 (SO) In the EU member states, the general retirement age is 65 years. Spain, Germany, and France are about to raise their retirement age from 65 to 67 years, while the goal is 68 years in Britain and Ireland. Increasingly, the retirement age is being linked to life expectancy. The OECD country with the oldest retirement age in Mexico, where men work until 72.3 years on average and women work until 68.7 years. In the UK, onecan claim state pension when he reaches the state pension age of 66. more..

Kelani Valley Railway: Proposal for a shorter alternative route

Nov 24 (Island) The writer’s article on the above which appeared in The Island of 09.11.2020 brought some responses among which is reference to the Megapolis Transport Master (MTM) Plan released in Nov 2016, prepared by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development under the former regime. This Master Plan has forecasted future demand for transport in the Western Province up to 2035 and proposed ways and means of meeting the demand by road, rail and water transport systems. more..

Face the Nation

Reducing the health budget in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is difficult to comprehend

Nov 24 (ST) One of the compelling reasons for ending the three decade old civil war between the LTTE and the Govt was the enormous drain on the country’s resources as a result the armed conflict. At one point the annual amount of resources spent on the war was equal to the annual remittances sent by the migrant workers. In other words the civil war was being financed by the migrant workers who were sweating it out away from their homes and loved ones out of sheer economic necessity. more..

A most exemplary Prelate

Nov 24 (CT) Passing Away of the Most Venerable Aggamaha Panditha Napane Pemasiri Maha Thera, the Mahanayake of the Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya, on 17 Nov, at the age of 98 years, after living a long life of fruitful service to the Buddha Sasana and to Mankind, was an irreparable loss to the world in general and to Sri Lanka in particular. He was born on 2 Jan 1922 in the village of Napana in Patha-Dumbara in the Uda Gam Paha Korale in the Dumbara Valley spreading from Katugastota to Mahiyangana. more..

Import restrictions: A necessary evil?

Nov 24 (TM) While some economists agree with the imposition of import controls and restrictions, importers and traders alike have criticised the method by which the ban was imposed, charging that a more calculated and detailed methodology was needed to ensure the other economic activities of the country operated smoothly. The govt decision to ban imports of what it termed non-essential items was taken to limit foreign exchange outflow in order to meet debt obligations. more..

Hard lessons for Sri Lanka from Ethiopia Why ethnic federalism is never a solution?

Nov 24 (DM) In December last year, Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister and Africa’s youngest won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in courting peace with former foe, Eritrea and thus ending the Horn of Africa’s longest-running war. Barely a year since then, Ethiopia is back in the thick of another war, that has already sent 20,000 refugees across the border to Sudan, and reports of ethnic massacres are trickling in. Grave enough, but these personal tragedies are mere footnotes of more..

Are adequate precautions taken by authorities

Nov 24 (DM) COVID-19 pandemic has created a hellish situation for the students across the world. In a country like Sri Lanka where poverty and poor access to technology prevail among a sizeable segment of the population, attendance to schools or pursuing distance learning, is a task of Himalayan proportions. It is against this backdrop that the govt has decided to re-open schools that had been closed in the light of the second wave of the COVID-19 in Sri Lanka on Monday (yesterday). more..

When the polluter has to pay

Nov 24 (CT) Years of legal battles and environmental concerns against the destruction of over 3,000 hectares of the Wilpattu Forest Complex for human habitancy was brought into limelight over the past week when the Court of Appeal (CoA) sought to impose the burden of reforestation on the destructors. Forest Complex adjoining Wilpattu National Park, Northern Sanctuary of Wilpattu National Park, Maraichukkaddi/Karadikkuli Reserve Forest (Kallaru forest) standing west of Wilpattu blocks II more..

Let’s lockdown the pandemic of enforced disappearances: Continuous struggle for justice

Nov 24 (CT) On the 6th of Feb 2007, the UN adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. The convention foregrounds the need to ensure justice for victims, and the responsibility of States for guarantees of non-recurrence for disappearances which is a crime against humanity. The UN has declared 30th Aug as the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, to avert the recurrence of enforced disappearances, more..

Curfew, 5000 A Month, Compensation; Why care about constitutional change?

Nov 24 (CT) Over the past five decades, we have had two Constitutions (1972 and 1978), a third that came close to adoption (the package of 2000), 19 amendments, and a whole lot of talk and writing around each. It is reasonable to infer Constitutional fatigue. The government has promised a new Constitution. It has the votes in a docile Parliament; and depending on the efficacy of its perception management efforts, it may have the votes to win a referendum. But now that a hyper-presidential system more..

Safe house used by bombers belonged to Rishad’s sister

Nov 23 (CT) A house in the Wattala area, belonging to the sister of MP Rishad Bathiudeen, had been used as a safe house by the suicide bombers who carried out the Easter Sunday bombings. This was revealed on 21 Nov when Bathiudeen testified before the PCoI. He is currently being held in the Magazine Prison and testified via Skype. Senior State Counsel questioned whether he was aware that a house in the Enderamulla area more..

Harin urges President to move fast on a digital future

Nov 23 (EN) Opposition MP Harin Fernando is saying that if Sri Lanka is to go forward as a digital country, first, there is a need for digital payment platforms but no such thing was mentioned in the budget speech. Speaking in Parliament, he said that when India is conducting transactions through WhatsApp, Sri Lanka is unable to even get Paypal its people. Fernando who was the Cabinet Minister of Telecommunication said that he was able to introduce Stripe online payment platform more..

Import tariffs slapped on over 4,700 items

Nov 23 (CT) Sri Lanka has slapped duties where applicable and/or other import charges on over 4,700 mainly imported items brought under free trade agreements (FTA)/special trade agreements (STA), effective from Tuesday (17), the Finance Ministry said on Friday. While the duties charged, where applicable is either 10% or 15%, other import tariffs/export tariffs charged, where applicable, range from a minimum of 0.05% to a maximum of 23.8%, respectively. more..

Cess imposed on 2,575 imported items

Nov 23 (CT) Finance Ministry, on Friday, announced cess covering some 2,575 imported items ranging from a minimum of 5% to a maximum of 70% in percentage terms and/or a minimum cess of two rupees per kg to a maximum of Rs 22,308 a kg with effect from Tuesday (17). Cess covers imported food items, ayurveda ancillary products, yarn and fabric, footwear & footwear ancillaries, vehicle spare parts, building accessories, among others. more..

Shahid Afridi misses flight to Sri Lanka, likely to miss two LPL matches

Nov 23 (CI) Galle Gladiators captain Shahid Afridi will miss at least the first two matches of his team's Lanka Premier League (LPL) campaign, after missing his flight to Sri Lanka on Monday. Afridi tweeted about missing his flight, which had been set for morning, and went on to say that he will be reaching soon to take part in the LPL. Although details of his next attempted flight to Sri Lanka have not been firmed up, Gladiators have said they hope he can arrive by Wednesday. more..

Cases of 6,334 suspects need to be expedited

Nov 23 (CT) Prisons Department has handed over to Minister of Prison Reforms Sudharshani Fernandopulle, a report containing information regarding 6,334 suspects connected to drugs, who have been identified as needing their court cases expedited. A report on information regarding a group of prisoners who have been remanded, on the accusation of having been in possession of a quantity of less than 2 grams of heroin and 5 grams of cannabis, has been sent to the Minister. more..

Six employees at Eheliyagoda Hirdaramani factory test positive

Nov 23 (TM) Hirdaramani management officials stated that six employees of the Eheliyagoda Hirdaramani factory has tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, following which the factory closed for disinfection. The release stated that the infected individuals are currently in stable condition and are following the required Ministry of Health procedures for quarantine and treatment. Five patients were detected on Saturday more..

Doctor arrested for shooting student with air-rifle

Nov 23 (AD) A doctor has been arrested by the Maharagamma Police for shooting a school student with an air-rifle. Reportedly, the student had entered the land where the doctor’s house was located to retrieve a ball he was playing with. However, the doctor had fired the air rifle at the student without any prior inquiry. The student injured in the incident is currently receiving treatment at Colombo South (Kalubowila) Teaching Hospital. The doctor has been arrested by the police over a complaint more..

Coronavirus: 204 fresh cases confirmed

Nov 23 (AD) Fresh COVID-19 positive cases were identified in Sri Lanka as the total number of cases reported from the Minuwangoda and Peliyagoda clusters reached 16,847. 204 more persons were tested positive for the virus. All the new cases are associates of the Peliyagoda Fish Market cluster, reports confirmed. With the new development, SL has confirmed 20,375 novel coronavirus infections to date. 14,497 of the confirmed patients have made complete recoveries from the virus. more..

Akila resigns as UNP General Secretary

Nov 23 (NR) Former MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has directed his letter of resignation as the General Secretary of the UNP to the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Kariyawasam informed of the move during the meeting of senior members of the UNP at the party headquarters Sirikotha this morning. A discussion is due to take place between Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe this evening. more..

Expert committee continues to recommend cremating COVID-19 victims

Nov 23 (DM) Health Experts Advisory committee which was appointed to study the possibility of burying COVID-19 victims continues to stand with the recommendation to cremate all coronavirus victims as of now but they continue to further review the situation with other countries, Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services, said. He said that following the govt’s recommendation that the matter should be reviewed two weeks ago the committee has more..

Abans Finance profit surges 130% to Rs. 63.6 m in 1H of FY2021

Nov 23 (FT) Abans Finance, a member of Abans Group, has recorded yet another solid performance during the 1H of FY 20/21 amidst the challenging economic landscape. Abans Finance said the company registered a net profit after tax of Rs. 63.6 million for the 1H of FY 20/21 period ended 31 Sept 2020, compared to Rs. 27.7 million recorded in the corresponding year, achieving a YoY growth of 130%. “The performance is attributable to the company’s technology driven recovery and more..

World Bank sees progress and new challenges in Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (FT) World Bank’s new Country Director for SL, Maldives and Nepal Faris Hadad-Zervos remains confident of SL overcoming its socio-economic challenges, taking strength from considerable strides thus far and the resilience amidst global and locals shocks including the COVID-19 pandemic. According to him, the future can ensure more sustainable and inclusive growth provided SL pursues credible reforms more..

COVID-19: Tendency of students being infected low: Health Ministry

Nov 23 (DM) While saying that the immune system of 60-70 percent of school students remains at a strong level, Director of Primary Care Services attached to the Ministry of Health Dr. Priyantha Atapattu said the tendency of school students being susceptible to Covid-19 is low. Addressing the media today, he said it was also important for the students to consume a meal in the morning comprising of red rice, leafy greens, vegetables and fish to further boost the immunity. more..

Warning for heavy rain, strong winds and rough seas

Nov 23 (AD) The low pressure area over Bay of Bengal has become a depression and lay centered at (8.6N,85.2E) to the east of Trincomalee coast about 425km away, Dept of Meteorology said. It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 24 hours. It is expected to be move northwestwards and cross Tamil-Nadu coast during next 48 hours as a severe cyclonic storm. Under the influence of aforementioned system, possibility for intermittent showers or thundershowers and more..

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