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BOC steps up support to nation building in COVID-hit 2020

Jan 8 (FT) The Bank of Ceylon (BOC) said it ended 2020 yet again as the undisputed industry leader, as it managed to extend billions of support to the economy and customers whilst maintaining profitability in a challenging year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Pursuing innovative fresh strategies, the Bank management said they rose to the occasion and faced the situation with vigor and vitality. more..

Wounded Sri Lanka shouldn’t be underestimated: Bairstow

Jan 8 (CT) Following a series of injuries which the National Team suffered in South Africa, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has not finalised the squad for the upcoming two-match series against England, though the England squad has been practicing in Hambanthota for a couple of days. Jonny Bairstow, who made a century in the last Test in Sri Lanka two years ago, said they shouldn’t underestimate Sri Lanka despite injuries. “We know how good Sri Lanka are, especially in their own conditions. more..

Cabinet clears path for gem mining on leased lands

Jan 8 (DM) The Cabinet of Minister has approved measures to seek the Parliamentary approval to liberalise the country’s gem mining licence scheme, enabling activity even on leased lands. As per the provisions of the Govt Gem Corporation By-Laws, imposed under the provisions of Government Gem Corporation Act No. 03 of 1971, the licences for the gem industry can only be obtained for lands with clear and individual ownership and individual or freehold ownership. more..

අද ලංකාවට හිමි වෙලා තියෙන දේ

BOI new DG assumes duties

Jan 8 (FT) Pasan Wanigasekara assumed duties yesterday as Director General of the Board of Investment of SL. In his address to the senior staff Wanigasekara shared his vision for the BOI: a dynamic and robust outfit that is armed and competent to compete internationally with all other countries that are vying for a share of the global FDI pool. He emphasised the importance of research-based, targeted marketing campaigns and canvassed the support of all staff members to more..

SL’s first sign language TV commercial

Jan 8 (Island) One of Sri Lanka’s most respected brands, Maliban initiated yet another first when the brand aired Sri Lanka’s first ever sign language TV commercial, in celebration of the World Sign Language Day on September 23. Understanding the pressing need to connect with the forgotten in society, Maliban, together with their creative partner TBWA\Sri Lanka, created this one-off TV commercial to raise awareness about the World Sign Language Day. Maliban created two commercials, more..

SriLankan Airlines calls on Pilots’ Guild to put country first

Jan 8 (FT) Sri Lankan Airlines yesterday called on the Airline Pilots' Guild (ALPG) to put the country first, whilst vehemently condemning their untimely and selfish actions. Issuing a statement, the national carrier said the Board and the Management of the airline are thoroughly disappointed that one segment of the Airline’s employees are intentionally undermining the efforts of the rest of the committed and valuable more..

Tea yields unlikely to recover to 2010-2015 levels: Forbes & Walker

Jan 8 (TM) Forbes & Walker (Pvt) Ltd. predicts that although the SL tea output is likely to recover in 2021, it is unlikely to achieve the highs registered from 2010-2015, and therefore the supply situation would continue to remain tight. Issuing a report on the tea industry’s review of 2020 and a preview for 2021, Forbes & Walker noted that from a Sri Lankan perspective, it is most likely that the SL rupee would weaken once the imports on non-essential items are relaxed, and in such circumstances, more..

Chess prodigy Susal de Silva dreams of becoming a Grand Master

Jan 8 (ST) Sri Lanka’s chess prodigy Susal Thewjan de Silva of Nalanda College is on track to achieve his dream of becoming a Grand Master in the sport. The 14-year-old lived up to his promise when he emerged champion at the SL Chess Grand Prix in addition to being second runner-up at the SL National Chess Championship 2020. Hailing from Anuradhapura where he attended D.S. Senanayake Model Primary School before being selected to Nalanda after passing the scholarship exam more..

Tax concessions: Recovering the lost billions?

Jan 8 (TM) Allegations have been levelled against the Govt by Opposition political parties over the alleged tax concessions recently granted for imported sugar and coconut oil, claiming that the tax game operated by the Govt has caused a loss of billions of rupees to state coffers. They further alleged that the concessions are being enjoyed only by the ruling party loyalists and not by the public, as the prices in the local market have not been more..

Apparel industry needs smooth supply chain movement

Jan 8 (DN) The apparel sector requires that supply chains remain open for manufacture and thereby protect livelihoods. MAS CEO Suren Fernando said the sector is finding it hard to maintain morale due to the stigma society places on the workers during COVID-19. He said, “I speak on behalf of the whole industry that we need open communication. We have to continue our business but that doesn’t come at the cost of health and safety. We genuinely care for our people. We want to protect their lives more..

Insurance industry musters 3.7% growth in 3Q

Jan 8 (DN) The insurance industry was able to achieve a growth of 3.7% in terms of overall Gross Written Premium (GWP), during the third Quarter of 2020, recording an increase of Rs. 5,231 million when compared to the same period in the year 2019. The GWP for Long Term Insurance and General Insurance Businesses for the period ending Sept 30, 2020, was Rs. 145,391 million. The GWP of Long -Term Insurance Business amounted to Rs. 72,297million (Q3, 2019: Rs. 63,913 million) more..

Total COVID-19 patient count rises to 46,780

Jan 8 (FT) The country’s total COVID-19 patient count yesterday rose to 46,780 with the detection of 532 new patients. Of the persons who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, 432 persons are associates of the Peliyagoda cluster, 93 from the prisons cluster, while seven were overseas arrivals. The triple cluster that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons has thus expanded to 43,023 patients. more..

Three SriLankan pilots test Covid-19 positive

Jan 8 (CT) Three SriLankan Airlines pilots have been diagnosed with COVID-19, informed sources at the national carrier said. Sources said, yesterday, steps had been taken to direct them for treatment, after they were diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday (6). Sources added, however, the trio had not contracted the virus during or after flights, but had been at their homes. Therefore, there was no threat to any of the other staff members. They also said regular surveillance more..

More workers of MAS Group factories test positive for COVID

Jan 8 (FT) Apparel giant MAS yesterday issued the following statement on the discovery of several employees infected with COVID-19 and steps taken to contain the spread of the virus recommended by Health authorities. “As the number of COVID-19 infections increase across the island, the management of MAS is paying close attention to its manufacturing facilities that have detected a number of employees with the virus. “Each of these facilities are working closely with their regional more..

Cardinal condemns tourism zone in Muthurajawala

Jan 8 (DM) Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith together with Ven Pahiyangala Ananda Thera expressed his displeasure over the alleged move to set up a tourism zone in Muthurajawala Park which is said to comprise a golf court and crocodile park. Cardinal said that a private company had fraudulently taken over the park which is situated in the conserved land and put up sign boards that claiming the land more..

Three more COVID deaths reported, death toll up to 222

Jan 8 (NR) Three more COVID-19 related deaths have been reported in Sri Lanka increasing the country’s death toll to 222. One individual was identified as a 53-year-old male, a resident of Mirithigala, who passed away while being treated at the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital yesterday. The cause of death has been determined as COVID-19 infection and epilepsy. Meanwhile the second individual was identified as a 62 year old male from Beruwala who passed away at IDH today (7). more..

Public Security Minister pledges to standby his men who perform their duty

Jan 8 (Island) Minister of Public Security, Sarath Weerasekera said that he would stand by policemen who performed their duty diligently. He made the statement addressing SSPs. “A large number of policemen have got into trouble by doing the right thing. Because of that most of the honest officers have become demoralised.” Minister said that there was no point in having a large police force if the crime rate increased. There were some countries where a person could walk on streets more..

Another Ukrainian flight lands at Mattala pending approval for new set of guidelines...

Jan 8 (Island) The fifth flight carrying Ukrainian tourists landed in the country’s second int'l airport at Mattala yesterday as the SLPP govt vowed to go ahead with what Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga called a pilot project of pivotal importance in the run-up to re-opening of the BIA. Minister said that in spite of some hiccups the pilot project was on track. The minister acknowledged the recent problems caused by the failure on more..

COPA to expose list of institutions that fail to pay due levy

Jan 8 (AD) The Committee on Public Accounts has come to a decision during its meeting held yesterday (6) to publicize all the institutions which have failed to pay the due levy by submitting a list of such institutions to the Media. Chairman of the Committee Prof. Tissa Vitharana instructed the Inland Revenue Department to submit to the Committee a list of institutions who have failed to pay the due levy within two months. Auditor-General W.P.C. Wickramaratne addressing the Committee more..

Finance Ministry instructed to submit report on sugar tax

Jan 8 (FT) Committee on Public Finance instructed the Finance Ministry officials to submit a report to the Committee on how the recent sugar tax revision has benefited consumers. Committee Chairman Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that although the tax on the price of imported sugar was revised to 25 cents from Rs.50 per kg through Gazette Notification No. 2197/12 issued by Ministry of Finance on 13 Oct 2020, the benefit of the tax revision has not been passed down to the consumers. more..

Sabry promises parliament will get copies PCoI reports

Jan 8 (Island) Justice Minister Ali Sabry yesterday promised to put in place a mechanism soon to ensure that Parliament would receive all presidential commission reports. He gave that pledge in response to a question raised by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, who pointed out that there had been many PCoI in the past, but none of their reports were available in the Parliament library. Kiriella said: more..

CSE changes tick size applicable to equity securities

Jan 8 (Island) CSE Board of Directors decided to change the tick size applicable to equity securities traded on the Automated Trading System (ATS). The necessary rule changes have been carried out by the CSE to facilitate this change with the approval of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). The change to the tick size will be in effect from the opening of trading today. To facilitate this change, the CSE was to cancel all pending orders at the ATS at end of trading on Jan 7. more..

Political and religious virologists and hydrogeologists

Jan 8 (FT) Govt has clearly messed up a simple matter which could have been resolved by firm executive action. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus pandemic in late 2019, the WHO guidelines with regard to the disposal of COVID-19 infected dead bodies were already out. It very clearly recommended either cremation or burial as a safe mode of disposal. When the WHO give guidelines, they do it with authority and certainty. There are highly trained and experienced professionals more..

රටට එරෙහි ආණ්ඩු අපි පෙරළණවා: GMOA

The right thing to do

Jan 8 (FT) Now Sri Lanka is in an unfortunate plight where the State, its socio-political system and economy are in complete collapse and the country is overwhelmed by dark shadows of bankruptcy and anarchy. The average living condition of people despite being oppressive still remains virtually tolerable. Yet, it is unavoidable that this situation will soon change for the worse; and consequently the society will lose its ability to function sensibly in proportion to the change. more..

Shehan Jayasuriya retires from SL Cricket

Jan 8 (CI) Top-order batsman Shehan Jayasuriya has called time on his Sri Lanka career, according to a release from the SLC. The 29-year-old left-hand batsman has taken this decision after choosing to relocate to the USA with his family. Jayasuriya represented SL 30 times in ODIs and T20Is, with a high-score of 96 against Pakistan in Karachi. He also played 80 first-class games between 2009 and 2020, averaging over 42. Jayasuriya most recently played in the Lanka Premier League more..

Former ETI Finance directors arrested

Jan 8 (AD) CID has arrested four former Directors of Edirisinghe Trust Investment (ETI) Finance Ltd. A directive was issued by Attorney General Dappula de Livera earlier today for the CID to arrest the former ETI Finance Director Board members – Nalaka Edirisinghe, Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Anjalee Edirisinghe and Asanka Edirisinghe – and produce them before courts. They have been taken into custody on charges of criminal more..

Tuition classes to be allowed resume from Jan. 25?

Jan 8 (AD) Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris says the government is considering the possibility of allowing tuition classes to resume from the 25th of January. He made this remark in response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa during today’s parliamentary sessions. Discussions in this regard will be held with the health authorities in order to allow tuition classes to operate again in compliance with a series of proper health guidelines, he noted. more..

19 without face masks test COVID-19 positive from 1,022 RATs

Jan 8 (DM) Nineteen persons tested positive with COVID-19 out of 1,022 Rapid Antigen Tests conducted on those who were not wearing face masks since January 5 up to date, DIG Ajith Rohana said. He said another 938 persons were also subject to PCR tests during the corresponding period and the results are pending. DIG said 357 persons have been arrested yesterday for not wearing face masks and 220 among them were subject to RATs, while 157 to PCR tests. more..

Decisions to be made in Sri Lanka’s hunt for the COVID-19 Vaccine

Jan 8 (DM) Around the world, govts are gearing up to roll out nationwide immunization campaigns. Others are scrambling to procure more doses of the vaccine for their citizens. Sri Lanka however, is yet to decide on the type of vaccine or vaccines that would be the most suitable to protect our citizens. Responding to a questioned raised in Parliament by MP Upul Galappaththi, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi briefed the lawmakers more..

Jaishankar meets Sri Lanka biz leaders, air-travel bubble, expanding FTA discussed

Jan 8 (EN) Visiting External Minister S Jaishankar had discussed starting an air travel bubble with India and expanding a free trade agreement during a meeting with Sri Lankan business leaders. India already had a air-travel bubble arrangements with more than 20 countries, India’s High Commission quoted him as saying. India was Sri Lanka’s largest source of foreign visitors before the Covid-19 pandemic. There was potential to enhance tourism between India and SL in view of proximity more..

JVP accuses govt of sticking to yahapalana deal with India and handing over ECT to...

Jan 8 (Island) The JVP accused the govt of planning to hand over the Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal to Adani Group of India despite protests. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the govt had run out of excuses as there were widespread protests against the move to hand over the ECT to the Indian company. “So, now they twist words when they answer questions on the issue. PM in Parliament the other day said the govt had not decided to sell the ECT to any foreign entity. more..

Sri Lanka sugar scam from midnight gazette, parliament committee calls for probe

Jan 8 (EN) A committee on public finance at Sri Lanka’s parliament has called for a probe on alleged huge profits made from sudden changes in trade taxes changed at midnight while the public is sleeping. Legislators have claimed that large profits have been made through a scheme involving tax changes in combination with import licenses that stopped competitors from clearing sugar after the tax was cut. more..

'Plantation wage hike will go before Cabinet'

Jan 8 (FT) Hoping to end the long-standing stalemate between Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and trade unions, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said he would present an alternative mechanism to raise the daily wage to Rs. 1,000 before the next Cabinet meeting. Cabinet paper is expected to be presented on Monday. RPCs, which are represented by the Employers Federation, trade unions and Labour Ministry officials met yesterday for the latest more..

Iron ore deposit excavations to begin

Jan 8 (CT) The Govt will conduct excavations in the Buttala and Chilaw areas, to mine the iron ore deposits found there and the Ministry of Environment along with the Ministry of Industries will utilise the deposits to benefit the Govt. A discussion was held in this connection between the two ministries at the Ministry of Environment. They have launched a joint programme to increase the country’s revenue by making best use of the country’s mineral resources. more..

CMC grants Rs 79 M tender to blacklisted firm

Jan 8 (CT) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has taken steps to grant a tender amounting to Rs 79 million, towards the distribution of school equipment, to a firm that has been blacklisted. The firm in question had previously quoted low bids for the tender two years ago and they had received the tender then as well. However, it had subsequently been found that some of the school equipment supplied by the firm, more..

Video: Enjoining order against MTV/Sirasa further extended

Jan 8 (AD) The Colombo District Court today further extended the enjoining order issued against MTV/Sirasa preventing defamation of George Steuart Health and its Chairman. The court further extended the enjoining order against MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited until the 13th of January 2021. The case was taken up before Colombo District Judge Hashantha Godawela today in order to inquire as to whether a permanent interim injunction will be issued in connection with the case. more..

New SL Envoy expresses intention to get Japanese investments increased in Sri Lanka

Jan 8 (TM) The newly appointed SL Ambassador in Japan, Sanjiv Gunasekara, has expressed his intentions to get Japanese investments increased in Sri Lanka, the SL Embassy in Japan said today. The Ambassador has also explained his strong intentions to increase employment opportunities in Japan, Japanese tourists to visit Sri Lanka and increase exports to Japan. Mr. Gunasekara, assumed duties on 6 Jan 2021, in Tokyo. Senior office bearers of the Embassy and representatives of more..

Video: CBK disappointed over SLFP’s situation, says she is still party’s chairperson

Jan 8 (AD) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has expressed disappointment over the current state of affairs of SLFP. Responding to questions raised by media persons, Chandrika Kumaratunga stressed that she is still the chairperson of SLFP, and also an advisor and a member of the party. Her remarks came after the event held at Galle Face Green in Colombo earlier today to mark the 122nd birth anniversary of more..