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Count spikes to 1,278 as 72 more test positive for COVID-19

May 26 (AD) Seventy-two fresh cases of the novel coronavirus have been identified in Sri Lanka. The new cases spike the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 1,278 cases. Earlier today, 24 coronavirus patients were identified and 19 of them were confirmed to be returnees from Kuwait who are undergoing the mandatory quarantine procedure while 05 of them were Navy personnel. more..

Video: Universities to reopen on June 15 for medical students

May 26 (AD) Universities will reopen on the 15th of June for the examinations of students of Medial Faculties, says the Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). A media briefing on resuming functions at universities, chaired by Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, is currently taking place at the Department of Government Information. Since mid-March, all universities remained closed as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 outbreak. more..

'Govt hiding a deal on the East Container Terminal'

May 26 (NR) SJB charges the govt of concealing the agreement with India pertaining to the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port. Former MP Ajith P Perera said information has been revealed of an agreement being reached between Indian PM Narendra Modi and Prez Rajapaksa over the terminal. Perera requested the govt to promptly reveal the truth to the people. He claimed that an agreement of US$ 1.1 billion has been purportedly agreed between the two leaders in a phone more..

Sports sector to recommence activities from June 1

May 26 (AD) Steps will be taken to resume the activities of the sports sector in Sri Lanka with effect from June 01, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. He mentioned this attending an event for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to donate medical equipment worth Rs 15 million including a brand new PCR test machine to assist the country’s efforts to re-strengthen Sri Lankan sports sector affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. more..

MONLAR: Rice millers did not buy paddy at Rs. 55 a kilo

May 26 (Island) The govt should empower and work with farmers’ associations, cooperatives and small mill owners if it wanted to find a permanent solution to annual rice shortages experienced by the people, Chinthaka Rajapakshe of Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) said. Rajapakshe added that during a televised meeting with large scale rice mill owners and govt officials, the former insisted that they had purchased paddy from farmers at Rs. 55 and that it was impossible more..

EC diminished President's power, flouted constitution: Sarath Silva

May 26 (CT) Former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva claimed that as the Commissioner General of Elections has been vested with supervisory powers, the latter should also be granted the power to conduct elections here. He claimed further that as per Articles of the Constitution, such powers could easily be handed over to the Commissioner General. He claimed that since the Election Commission's (EC) work could reach a crisis situation as it is at the moment, the need has risen to transfer more..

Kuwaiti govt shabby on Covid -hit Lankans?

May 26 (CT) SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) official said that it is so sad the way Kuwait govt is treating our workers who are toiling from morning to evening. "When our workers are infected with COVID -19, they want our workers to go back to Sri Lanka". Meanwhile, the Department of Immigration and Emigration said that a total of 63,879 Sri Lankans stranded overseas due to the impact of COVID-19 had been brought back more..

Singer slams MP Harin for Kavinda Video

May 26 (CT) Vocalist Iraj Weeraratna has reportedly told the CID that he can prove with evidence that he had received the controversial and damaging video that had gone viral on social media sites against former MP Kavinda Jayawardena, through former MP Harin Fernando. Weeraratna had told the CID that he would comply totally with their probe into the video incident and also issued a further statement to be carried on social media regarding the video. CID officers called on him at his residence more..

Hearing of FR petitions against General Election date to continue tomorrow

May 26 (AD) Supreme Court has adjourned further consideration of the Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the General Election date, until 10 am tomorrow. The petitions were taken up this morning (26), before Supreme Court’s five-member judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda. Seven parties including Attorney at Law Charitha Gunaratne, CPA, more..

Suspicion cast over Seychelles 35; JVP demands explanation

May 26 (EN) The govt must explain on whose directive 35 Seychelles nationals were brought to Sri Lanka and why they were allegedly prioritised over thousands of Sri Lankans stranded abroad, opposition JVP said. Former JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi said that there is a cloud of suspicion hanging over the sudden decision, given the African nation’s reputation as an investment destination for SL politicians’ black money. more..

SL coconut auction prices hit two year high

May 26 (EN) SL’s average coconut prices grew 8.2% to 50,970 rupees for a 1000 nuts at an auction on May 21, from 47,098 rupees a week earlier, a two year high, with taxes on imported vegetable oils hiked with import controls. The prices are the highest seen since April 2018, when the average for the month was 51,806 rupees for 1,000 nuts. At the auction the highest price was 56,100 rupees for a 1,000 nuts and the lowest, 42,000 rupees at the auction conducted by SLCDA on March 21. more..

UNP will win fewer votes than JVP: SJB

May 26 (EN) The UNP will win fewer votes than the JVP at the forthcoming parliamentary election, former MP Ajith P Perera said. Claiming that 99 percent of UNP supporters are now with the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) – the breakaway faction of the UNP that supported former opposition leader Sajith Premadasa’s presidential bid last year, Perera said SJB supporters will carry the new party bak to Sirikotha. Real UNPers who adhere to party principles established by former leaders more..

OMP handling 15,000 files, process slow, though not impeded in the wake of...

May 26 (Island) The Office of Missing Persons (OMP) set up by the previous govt, is ready to have a dialogue with any person, or an organization, willing to provide information, leading to track down missing persons. Chairman of the OMP, Saliya Pieris, PC, said so when The Island inquired from him whether his outfit had talked with Tamil Diaspora organizations, including the Global Tamil Forum (GTF). more..

Bandula still hopeful of building cricket stadium in Homagama

May 26 (DM) Minister Bandula Gunawardana said today that he is still hopeful of building the Homagama Int'l Cricket Stadium. He said that he was eager to have such a playground in his electorate of Homagama. He said he intended to raise financial donations from well wishers to proceed with the project. “When I was the Education Minister, I managed to get buses from Japan as donations to be given to the schools. I also got green boards as donations from South Korea more..

SLC suspends Shehan Madushanka

May 26 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket decided to suspend fast-bawler Shehan Madushanka from all forms of cricket, with immediate effect, the SLC said. “The decision was taken following the player was arrested by the Police and later sent on remand custody for alleged possession of illegal drugs. The decision to suspend will remain intact until a full inquiry is conducted by the SLC into the matter,” it said. Police found 2.7 grammes of heroin in the possession of Madushanka & 2.8 grammes from his friend. more..

Opposition warns of a Rice crisis

May 26 (EN) Opposition politician Dr Harsha de Silva is saying that the govt’s strategy of imposing price controls on rice and dismantling the cooperative of small rice millers will create a crisis in the market. de Silva said the cooperative that produced the Shakthi branded rice at a low price has been ordered shut. He said that “the Cooperative System in SL has been politicized, but it is not a bad word. Many very successful enterprises in more..

SJB asks Auditor-General to look into government’s unauthorized expenses

May 26 (EN) The opposition SJB has written to the Auditor General pointing out what they term as three instances of unconstitutional authorization of public expenditure/borrowing by the current govt. In a letter that was handed over to the AG Chulantha Wickramaratana today, three former MPs from the group said that unauthorized borrowing “is not only a serious breach of the public finance provisions of our constitution, it also sullies Sri Lanka’s reputation among creditors.” more..

Senadhipathi provides evidence before PCoI probing political victimization

May 26 (TM) Chairman of Avant-Garde Nissanka Senadhipathi provided evidence today before the Prez Commission probing incidents of political victimization under the previous regime. Senadhipathi was summoned by the commission today following a complaint he had lodged with the PCoI against several MPs of the former govt. Senadhipathi had filed a complaint with the PCoI alleging that former MPs Champika Ranawaka, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Rajitha more..

Video: Rare black panther found caught in trap in Sri Lanka

May 26 (AD) A rare black panther has been discovered after it was caught in a trap near a vegetable cultivation in Walamale of Lakshapana Tea Estate within Nallathanniya PD. Wildlife officers said that the black panther was found caught in a wire trap and wounded while police protection has been provided until veterinarians of Wildlife Dept arrive and tranquilize the animal and release it from the snare. more..

Study reveals marked decline in noise levels in Indian Ocean region during lockdown

May 26 (Island) A slump in shipping traffic during the lockdown has resulted in a marked decline in noise levels across the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) – which includes Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean – a study by Pune’s Maritime Research Centre (MRC) has revealed. Report said that the average noise levels in IOR fell from 103.6 decibels (dB) during March to 73.4 dB in May, revealed the study conducted by MRC along with Foundation for Underwater Domain more..

SLPP questions presence of Hoole’s daughter at EC office

May 26 (DM) SLPP said it had serious doubts whether the Elections Commission’s member Prof Ratnajeevan Hoole arrived in the election office along with his daughter, who was subjected to quarantine measures, as part of his modus operandi to get the Parliamentary Elections postponed. SLPP Chairman Prof G.L. Peiris said that the staff members of the election office protested the arrival of his daughter. He said Prof. Hoole’s daughter had been referred to quarantine measures upon more..

COVID-19 fallout: Support agriculture but not on old lines

May 26 (FT) Central Bank in its Annual Report for 2019 has published a box article on why and how SL’s agriculture should adopt new technology (pp 60-2). This is its informed response to the popular public opinion now pretty much in vogue in the country. That public opinion seeks to establish that Sri Lanka is an agriculture-based country from time immemorial, it should go back to its roots and re-establish agriculture, more..

Fall from His Lordship to the gutter

May 26 (FT) 8 Jan 2019 edition of The Conversation featured an article entitled What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction? Edgar Allan Poe, one of America’s greatest – and most self-destructive – writers, had some thoughts on the subject. Poe argues that knowing something is wrong can be the one unconquerable force that makes us do it. A half-century after Poe’s death, Sigmund Freud wrote of a universal and innate death drive in humans, which he called Thanatos more..

Pujith’s FR petition fixed for support on Sep9

May 26 (AD) The Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by IGP Pujith Jayasundara seeking a court order declaring the decision to send him on compulsory leave is unconstitutional has been fixed for support on Sept 9. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justices Murdu Fernando, S. Thurairajah and Yasantha Kodagoda took the petition up today. IGP Pujith Jayasundara was handed Compulsory Leave on 29th April 2019, over investigations on Easter Sunday attacks. more..

Dr. Harsha De Silva

New Indian High Commissioner calls on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena

May 26 (MFA) The newly accredited Indian High Commissioner to SL Gopal Baglay paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena at the Republic Building today. On his first working day as the High Commissioner after presenting Credentials on 14 May 2020, High Commissioner Baglay exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral issues with the Foreign Relations Minister during his call. Minister Gunawardena, welcoming the new High Commissioner, more..

Counting on rains from tax havens

May 26 (FT) There are clarion calls for tightening of belts to cope with the hard economic times unfolding in the post-pandemic era. The global economy and the flows of investment and funds will undoubtedly experience a reverse trend in the days ahead. World Economic Outlook report released by IMF recently predicts the most significant global downturn since the Great Depression, forecasting the global economy will contract by 3%. The drop will be particularly sharp in advanced economies, more..

Brief halt in flights from abroad

May 26 (CT) Chairman of the CAA, Upul Dharmadasa said that the repatriation of Sri Lankans from overseas was temporarily suspended from yesterday, due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases that have arrived in the island on earlier flights. He referred to the number of COVID-19 cases who had returned to the country from Kuwait due to the increased number of such cases (56 new tests confirmed cases from Kuwait more..

CSE extends trading hours from today

May 26 (Island) Consequent to the announcement made by the govt that the curfew will be effective only between 10.00 pm to 4.00 am daily in all districts with effect from 26th May 2020 and the requests made by industry stakeholders to extend trading hours, the CSE has decided to extend the trading hours from today as set out below: Pre-open session - from 10.30 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. Open Auction - at 11.00 a.m. Regular Trading - will commence after the Open Auction at 11 a.m. more..

Ceylon Agro-Industries to produce Castor oil

May 26 (DN) Turning a new leaf in the SL agriculture sector Ceylon Agro-Industries Limited, an associate company of Prima Lanka Limited will manufacture Castor oil, a vegetable oil pressed from Castor beans in Sri Lanka. Manager Ceylon Agro-Industries Limited Gamunu Jayasundara said that they hope to make lubricants for the motor industry from Castor oil. He said that they plan to build a processing plant in Ampara for this operation and have already encouraged farmers to grow Castor plants. more..

COVID-19 whammy over long weekend

May 26 (FT) The long weekend saw a worrying development of 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country propelling the cumulative figure to 1,182 apart from recording the 10th fatality. Of the 119 confirmed cases, 93 came yesterday and day before whilst on Saturday the number was 26. The majority of the new cases were returnees from Kuwait including the fatality, a 51-year-old woman who was completing the quarantine process more..

90 returnees from Kuwait among COVID-19 cases confirmed so far: Army Chief

May 26 (AD) A total of 157 Sri Lankans who returned from overseas have tested positive for COVID-19 so far, says the Commander of Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva. Out of this total, 90 positive cases were identified as returnees from Kuwait and 18 from Dubai, the Army Chief said this morning (26). In the meantime, 619 coronavirus patients have been detected from Sri Lanka Navy to date, he said, adding that the community infections count stands at 405. more..

Flight repatriating Sri Lankans from Qatar cancelled

May 26 (AD) The special flight scheduled to bring back stranded Sri Lankans from Qatar tomorrow morning has been canceled. A SriLankan Airlines charter flight was previously scheduled to leave the BIA at 5.45 am tomorrow to repatriate 273 Sri Lankans from Doha, Qatar. This is in the backdrop of 70 among 466 individuals who were repatriated from Kuwait on May 19 have tested positive for COVID-19. Further, one of the returnees succumbed to the virus earlier this evening (25) more..

Hotels to open for locals before foreigners

May 26 (TM) The Sri Lankan tourism industry will reopen its hotels to local tourists before it opens to international tourists, according to Hotels Association of SL (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte. He explained that the industry will have to first open up to the local market to help the hotels, especially with regard to resorts and hotels in Colombo, which usually depend on locals to patronise their restaurants and use properties more..

Dengue, rat fever on the rise

May 26 (SO) Covid-19 is under control and there is no reason whatsoever for the public to refrain from visiting state hospitals. Since Dengue and rat fever (Leptospirosis) can increase during this rainy season, people should visit their nearest state hospital to obtain medical treatment. All state hospitals have modern medical facilities and there is no need to travel long distances to reach a specific state hospital, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe said. more..

'Govt must keep promoting Ceylon Tea'

May 26 (CT) Although Ceylon Tea has managed to retain the highest price in the global market, it will continue to lose market share to competition, unless the Govt promotes the product without any interruption. According to Tea Smallholders Factories Chairman, Krishan Balendra, the Sri Lankan tea industry has been on a declining trajectory with a falling share of global volumes and reducing auction prices, albeit still retaining the highest prices globally. more..

 England in Sri Lanka