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Triple cluster rises to 49,901, with 674 persons testing positive for COVID-19

Jan 19 (FT) The triple COVID-19 cluster that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons yesterday expanded to 49,901 patients, with 674 persons testing positive for the virus. 627 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster tested positive for COVID-19, along with 45 arrivals from Cyprus and two arrivals from the UAE. The country’s total COVID-19 patient count yesterday rose to 53,750, which, in addition to the triple clusters, includes 1,747 returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and more..

Borrowing costs reach historic lows: Governor

Jan 19 (DN) The Average Weighted Lending rate has hit a historical low due to the policy by the Central Bank. Central Bank Governor Prof. W D Lakshman assuring investors that a low rate regime would continue along with other policies that incentivise investment in the economy. Prof Lakshman said, “Interest rates are at historic lows and the policy is to maintain that regime. The objective of the economy is to sustain investment. In Sri Lanka, we have a long history of high-interest rates. more..

Stats: England's winning streak in SL, and captain Root equals Cook, Strauss

Jan 19 (CI) 5 - Successive wins for England in SL. The streak started in April 2012, in the second match of the series - an eight-wicket win in Colombo which helped them level the two-Test series 1-1. On their next tour, in 2018-19, they swept SL 3-0, before the seven-wicket win today. 1 - Instance of England winning more consecutive matches in a country overseas - they won the first eight Test matches they played in South Africa, from 1889 to 1899. England also won their first five Tests in Bangladesh. more..

Sri Lanka skipper admits woeful batting costs test

Jan 19 (Reuters) SL stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal admitted a woeful batting performance in the first innings cost his team the first test against England at Galle International Stadium. England won the test by seven wickets on the last day on Monday to record a fifth successive test victory in SL. The home team won the toss and were looking to put a large total on the board but their batsmen contrived to give away their wickets in an opening day performance that drew widespread derision from an array of cricketing personalities. more..

Badminton: National coach resigns after inquiry finds him guilty on misconduct

Jan 19 (ST) After an inquiry has recommended stern action against national badminton coach Shimal Aponso for his involvement of allowing, leading and encouraging three players to consume alcohol during the Lanka Shuttle Challenge 2020 — a franchise tournament played last month, he has tendered his resignation. An inquiry was initiated following a complaint made by Sudath Janapriya — the father of 16-year-old Kaviru Janapriya — alleging that the said coach has influenced more..

One Mile Challenge among top attractions in Sports Ministry’s new initiative

Jan 19 (Island) One Mile Challenge, a road running event, is among a series of talent identification competitions which is set to attract the interests of track enthusiasts when the Sports Ministry launch a new initiative Pubudamu Kreeda Tharu. Pubudamu Kreeda Tharu is a competition based talent identifying initiative which will be conducted in each district. The programme is aimed at identifying and developing talent for various sports. more..

Demolition of the Mullivaikkal monument: Fires doused, embers linger

Jan 19 (TM) The controversy that surrounded last week’s demolition of the Mullivaikkal monument at the Uni of Jaffna, built to memorialise the war dead, was indicative of the fragility of the country’s reconciliation process. The initial demolition led to a chain of events which included a protest, involvement of armed forces, a plea to international govts, and finally the reconstruction of the monument. Erected in 2019, 10 years after the end of the country’s 26-year civil war, more..

Infrastructure facilities in our schools

Jan 19 (Island) We are all ever so proud of our Free Education System. Mainly due to the foresight of politicians of the past, such as Dr C.W.W. Kannangara, and perhaps many others in the education sphere as well, our system of education has provided distinctive opportunities for all children in our land, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, ethnicity and wealth. The far-sighted vision of our education system is to provide optimal educational facilities to each and every child of the Sri Lankan nation. more..

Editorial: Macho Neanderthals

Jan 19 (Island) Some female local govt members have come together to form a front against discrimination and harassment they face in their councils. They have called upon all female representatives throughout the country to sink their political differences and join forces to safeguard their rights. This initiative deserves encouragement and assistance from everyone. It is heartening that female councillors have decided to go public with their grievances instead of suffering in silence. more..

රසායනික පොහොර නැතුව වවලා ලංකාවට...

Growing nuts or going nuts

Jan 19 (ST) What in the names of all the deities is going on? And in this resplendent isle too! It is bad enough that envious eyes are cast in our direction hoping to grab a few chunks of what was once our sacred land to plant a port here and coal plant there. Of course there is no need to mention a few bakshees here, more yuan there and slippery rupees somewhere else that make the wheels of financial machinery turn as smoothly as Shanghai silk to the touch. Such traditional practices have been put to the test for decades more..

Managing COVID-19: A lay perspective

Jan 19 (ST) One year after the appearance of the COVID-19 virus, the world has come to terms with the fact that the virus is not likely to go away in the near future and will be around for some time longer. In such a context Govts the world over including our own have to work out how to manage the virus while at the same time opening up the economy. The considerations that apply to the more economically advanced countries will obviously not apply to the less affluent ones when striking the correct balance between these two objectives. more..

President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne retires after a celebrated career

Jan 19 (SO) President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne wore many hats. Starting as a State Counsel at the Attorney General’s Department in Feb 1989 he has come a long way, passing many a milestone in his celebrated career to retire on Jan 15, 2021. He was invited to be the Director General (DG) at the CIABOC when everything there was in turmoil. President’s Counsel Jayamanna became the DG immediately after Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe, mired in controversy exited in 2016. more..

Not all detainees are equal: Class, ethnicity and the prevention of terrorism act

Jan 19 (GV) Kanagasabai Thevathasan is a 64-year-old prisoner I met while I was at the Human Rights Commission of SL. Twelve years have passed since he was arrested, more than ten of which he has spent in prison. Thevathasan began fasting unto death on 6 Jan 2021, which he called off on 16 Jan for three weeks after promises were made by the prison authorities to speak with the relevant authorities to expedite his cases. Thevathasan is currently appealing his conviction under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), more..

Human-Elephant conflict must end

Jan 19 (CT) As humans and elephants are equally valuable it is imperative that the human-elephant conflict that has reached high levels today has to be ended sooner than later. Prez Rajapaksa promised people in Medirigiriya last Saturday that he will bring a permanent solution to the Human-elephant conflict soon. The Asian elephants of yore lived from the Euphrates and Tigris to the Yangtze-Kiang. The elephants in Asia are now restricted to SL, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, more..

Public smell a Rat in RAT charges in Ratnapura

Jan 19 (CT) The role played by doctors, nurses and other health professionals for the well-being of patients and the general public, in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, is truly commendable. However, if someone who represents the same field by pledging to serve the people makes the COVID- 19 or its victims an additional source of income, it is a great injustice to the people, as well as a disgrace to those in the sector they serve. more..

Hafeel Farisz’s lesson

Jan 19 (CT) I can’t remember how I met Hafeel Farisz. It must have been my writing. There was a time when I wrote on nearly everything and anything. I still do, but back then the brakes were missing; I just went on, unrestrained. One of the delights of writing nonstop is that it puts you in touch with people from nearly every shade of life. They send you their comments about the columns you’ve typed, encouraging you to continue and advising you on where to slow down and show restraint. more..

Colombo ETC embers glowing; Bureaucratic incompetence?

Jan 19 (CT) Crucial infrastructure projects remain in the focus of many sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and financial conglomerates. Dubai Ports World has a $ 3 billion looking for investment across Indian Ocean logistics sector. UAE Investment companies have signed up with China Development Bank for a $ 10 Billion joint venture. A tech town is in the offing near the UAE port of Jebel-Ali with an investment of $ 600 million from Alibaba to develop mobile apps and Robotics. O more..

Covid-19 forced cremation of Muslims discriminatory: HRW

Jan 18 (NRW) Sri Lanka’s requirement to cremate anyone who dies from Covid-19 goes against public health guidance and discriminates against the Muslim community, Human Rights Watch said today. The govt’s spurious argument that burial in accordance with Islamic tradition poses a public health risk stigmatizes, oppresses, and causes immense distress to a vulnerable minority. SL govt has claimed that burying people more..

Brokers welcome near-pure retail play in Friday’s Rs. 12.4 b turnover

Jan 18 (FT) Friday’s Rs. 12.4 billion turnover, the highest in a year, at the Colombo stock market is being credited by brokers to near-pure retail play, as investor sentiment gathered more momentum, spearheaded by high-net-worth individuals. Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) on Friday also saw the all-time highest intra-day gain (ASPI at 7,762) before closing up near 4%, or 291.34 points to 7,734. The benchmark index is now at the highest level since 2012 and Friday’s gain more..

Joe Root thanks fan who waited in Sri Lanka for 10 months to watch Test series

Jan 18 (CT) England managed to trump Sri Lanka in a stunning fashion by 7 wickets in the first Test of the two-match series at Galle International Stadium to register their fourth consecutive Test win in the island nation. Apart from the outstanding performance shelled out by the visiting team both with the bat and the ball, the Test match was in the news for the dedication and love shown by a cricket enthusiast Rob Lewis towards the English players. Lewis waited for as many as ten months more..

First innings was an unacceptable batting performance: Arthur

JJan 18 (CB) After England's seven-wicket win in Galle to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, head coach Mickey Arthur termed SL's first innings outing as unacceptable. Sri Lanka had the toss advantage after opting to bat against an England side that had come to their shores with little preparation. However, bowled out for a meagre 135, SL were outplayed with both bat and ball, handing over that advantage to England quite timidly. more..

Female LG members to fight abuse at the hands of their male counterparts

Jan 18 (Island) Female local govt members are planning to sink their political differences and form a front against what they call unfair male domination in their councils. Addressing the media at Thalawatugoda on Saturday Maharagama Urban Council SLFP Member Chandrika de Zoysa said that their male counterparts did not allow them to speak at council meetings. “This is a problem not limited only to the Maharagama UC. Female members are treated likewise in all MCs, UCs and PSs. more..

With Joe Root at the helm, have England fans ever had it so good?

Jan 18 (CI) England supporters have never had it so good. Yes, the lockdown is rubbish. And yes, as the pandemic continues to ravage the UK, you can almost imagine plague-ridden Londoners of the 1660s looking on and sighing: those millennials are having it tough. There's no disputing that life in general is pretty grim right now. But on the cricket pitch, at least, this England team is achieving things which their predecessors could scarcely imagine. Victory in Galle means more..

Jonny Bairstow, Dan Lawrence seal emphatic seven-wicket win on final morning

JJan 18 (CI) England have won the first Test in Galle by seven wickets. In the end, it was straightforward enough. Resuming on the final morning with 36 more runs required to win, it took England just 9.2 overs to wrap up victory. Jonny Bairstow settled any nerves that may have been lingering by rocking on to the back foot and cutting Lasith Embuldeniya for four in the second over of the morning, while Dan Lawrence picked off more..

Parliament to convene tomorrow after Covid testing clears MPs

Jan 18 (EN) Committee on Parliamentary business has decided to convene Parliament on Jan 19 and 20 at 10 a.m. following the COVID-19 cases reported from the House last week. A total of 943 PCR tests were conducted in the parliament out of which 32 tests were done on MPs while the rest consists of Parliament staff, affiliated offices and security including the police. While all the 32 MPs tested negative, he said 9 others tested positive for COVID-19 which includes 4 staff members, more..

20 arrested for illegal excavations which would have posed danger to Samanala dam

Jan 18 (Island) Twenty persons were arrested last week for illegally excavating calcite deposits at Pallebedda Koswetiya Kanda as their action could pose a danger even to the Samanalawewa dam by triggering massive earth tremors. The properties of calcite make it one of the most widely used minerals. It is used as a construction material, abrasive, agricultural soil treatment, construction aggregate, pigment, pharmaceutical and more. It has more uses than almost any other mineral. more..

Colombo unfazed by possible Western hostility at UNHRC session

Jan 18 (DE) Gotabaya Rajapaksa govt is unfazed by the possibility of Western nations taking a hostile stance at the March session of the UNHRC in Geneva. In sharp contrast to the past, SL Tamil leaders (mainly from the Tamil-majority Northern Province) have united and presented a joint charter of demands to the UN. For the first time, disparate and mutually antagonistic leaders like R. Sampanthan, C.V. Wigneswaran more..

India and Sri Lanka bridge gaps

Jan 18 (CT) Thanks to the visits of the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval last year and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar this month, India and Sri Lanka have bridged gaps and cemented ties based on mutual understanding on key bilateral issues. Understanding has emerged maritime security, economic development, Eastern Container Terminal (ECT), COVID-19 containment, tourism revival and even devolution of power to Provincial Councils. The latest and the most striking more..

GL enters into self-isolation

Jan 18 (AD) The Minister of Education, Prof. G.L. Peiris, has entered into a period of self-isolation, sources say. This is after being identified as a contact of State Minister Piyal Nishantha who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Earlier today, State Minister Piyal Nishantha was confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus following a rapid antigen test. State Minister Nishantha is the 4th Member of the Parliament to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infection. more..

FSP sees something sinister in President attempting to simplify rules and regulations

Jan 18 (Island) The commission appointed by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa purportedly to simplify existing laws and regulations was his latest attempt to neutralise institutions that acted as a countervailing force against the state and private actors, Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said. Jayagoda said such action will have a devastating impact on the general public. more..

CSE’s ASPI sets new all-time high – among the best performing indices globally

Jan 18 (AD) All Share Price Index (ASPI) of the Colombo Stock Exchange reached its all-time high index tally today closing the 10th trading day of 2021 on 7922.66 points. The previous highest points figure recorded was 7811.80 points on 14 Feb 2011. ASPI gained 188.09 points today recording the eighth highest points gain in CSE’s 35 year history. The S&P SL20 index which features the largest and most liquid stocks listed on the exchange also continued its upward momentum crossing more..

Decision to re-open schools in WP after two weeks: Minister

Jan 18 (DM) The decision to fully functioning of all schools in the Western Province (WP) will take place after two weeks, Minister G.L Pieris said. When speaking to the media today, the minister said the Govt hopes to bring the COVID-19 vaccine in the first week of February and would start giving it in the second week of the same month. "It is the main objective, and it is time to start all schools in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts after discussing with the relevant authorities," more..

Video: Sri Lanka ready to welcome 2,500 tourists per day

Jan 18 (AD) SL is reopening its airports for foreign tourists from Jan 21 with the expectation of bringing a maximum of 2,500 travelers to the country per day, according to Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga. He emphasized that every possible step has been taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from the tourists arriving to the community and vice versa. He said that the relevant health guidelines have been prepared more..

New Constitution to Parliament before end of 2021: Prof. Peiris

Jan 18 (Island) Minister Prof G.L. Peiris revealed on Saturday at Getambe Rajopawanaramaya that a draft of the new Constitution would be presented to Parliament before the end of 2021. During a conversation with Venerable Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala Nayaka Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Rajaopwanaramaya on Saturday afternoon, Prof. Peiris said that adequate time would be given the stakeholders to discuss, comment and make suggestions to the draft of the Constitution. more..

FITIS hosts virtual conversation with telco leaders in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (FT) FITIS, the apex body of the ICT industry in SL has brought together all telco leaders in SL to a common platform to discuss and deliberate the ingredients of contactless economy, maintaining connectivity, keeping up with the growing digital demands in the new normal. Thelco leaders speaking at this session are Airtel Sri Lanka CEO Ashish Chandra, Dialog Axiata CEO Supun Weerasinghe, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Technology Officer Pradeep De Almeida, more..

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