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Medical insurance for family members of Buddhist monks

Jan 8 (EN) State-run Sri Lanka Insurance has started a medical insurance scheme for family members of Buddhist monks, which will provide hospitalization and diagnostic testing cover. Style Nagaraja Shakyaputhra Gnathi medical insurance, it will provide medical cover to the mother, father and brothers and sisters of a Buddhist monk. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over the first policies to a group of monks at the official resident of Temple Trees, his media office said. more..

Maha season: Paddy Board to purchase 300,000MT

Jan 8 (CT) Minister of Agriculture, Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the Paddy Marketing Board will make its largest purchase of 300,000 metric tonnes of paddy during the Maha season. He added that this programme, which would cost over Rs 16.5 million, will involve over 840 farmers, and the paddy required for ten months from February 2020 will be produced during this Maha season. Aluthgamage, speaking at a Media briefing, said the purchase will be from paddy farmers who have received more..

Don’t endanger entire nation for benefit of a few: Karu

Jan 8 (Island) The country was facing the danger of being hit by the third wave COVID-19, as some individuals in high position were concerned about furthering their own interest Chairman of the National Movement for a Social Justice (NMSJ) Karu Jayasuriya said. He said that the NMSJ had no intention of disrupting or criticising the govt’s activities during the pandemic situation. However, as a country that respected more..

Joe Root, Ollie Pope reach warm-up fifties but some batsmen have work to do

Jan 8 (CI) A conclusion on whether England enjoyed a good or bad first day of action on their trip to Sri Lanka depends, perhaps, on whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty person. Certainly several of England's bowlers enjoyed an encouraging day. At one stage his opening spell, James Anderson was on a hat-trick, while Ollie Robinson and Jack Leach also impressed. But as Team Buttler slipped to 48 for 6, albeit on a surprisingly green surface, it became clear more..

Three arrested while trying to flee to Italy, USA with fake visas

Jan 8 (DM) Three Sri Lankans have been arrested by the Immigration and Emigration officials at the BIA this morning while attempting to flee to the United States and Italy using fake visas. The three suspects aged between 23 and 27 had come to BIA to a board Qatar Airways flight. Two suspects came to the Katunayake airport with the intention of flying to Italy via Doha, while the other, a 27-year-old resident of Jaffna was planning to travel to Doha, from there to London, and then to USA. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Assassinated SL editor’s daughter seeks UN investigation

Jan 8 (EN) The daughter of slain editor Lasantha Wickrematunge has petitioned the United Nations asking it to investigate his assassination 12 years ago Friday as a local police inquiry remains stalled. Ahimsa Wickrematunge filed a complaint with the UNHRC alleging that the Sri Lankan authorities have failed to carry out a meaningful investigation and bring those responsible to justice. This is the first time that the late Sunday Leader Chief Editor’s family has sought to invoke the more..

All 11 inmates of Mahara Prison died from gunshot wounds

Jan 8 (TM) All the 11 inmates who died in the clash at the Mahara Prison have died from gunshot injuries, it was revealed in the Wattala Magistrate’s Court today. The case pertaining to the recent clash at the Mahara Prison was taken up in Wattala Magistrate’s Court today. The panel of experts appointed by the court had reported to the court that the 11 detainees had died due to fatal injuries sustained in the shootings that day. The post-mortem reports of eight previous detainees more..

Akila Dananjaya given go-ahead to resume bowling

Jan 8 (CB) Akila Dananjaya will be able to resume bowling in international cricket after his bowling action was found to be legal following remedial work and reassessment, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced today. Dananjaya's last international appearance for Sri Lanka was in August 2019, with the spinner being banned for a year for an illegal bowling action after being reported during the Test series against New Zealand. more..

Muslim leader accuses govt of attempt to radicalise youth by denying burial

Jan 8 (EN) A leading Civil Society activist from the Muslim community is calling on members of his community to do their best to prevent the radicalisation of their youth due to the enforced cremation of Muslims who die of Covid 19. Hilmy Ahamed, Vice President of the Muslim Council of SL issued a plea this week to Muslim parents to talk to their children and pray that there will be a solution. “There is no doubt in my mind now that this whole cremation denial is a ploy to radicalize our more..

Free quarantine for all expatriate workers hereafter: Namal

Jan 8 (DM) While refuting to reports that Sri Lankan expatriate workers have to undergo compulsory paid quarantine in Hotels, Minister Namal Rajapaksa said yesterday that all the Sri Lankan expatriate workers would be provided with free quarantine facilities at the govt quarantine centres hereafter. He told parliament that the Health Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 were making arrangements in this regard on the advice of President Rajapaksa. more..

Repatriations continue in a people centric and transparent manner: Foreign Secretary

Jan 8 (MFA) Foreign Ministry will continue facilitating repatriations without any financial burden on Sri Lankans, Foreign Secy Jayanath Colombage asserted responding to misinformation in the public domain. He made it clear that the role of the Missions is strictly confined to organizing repatriation flights for returnees who are tested on arrival, offered all logistical support and are quarantined at Govt facilities free of charge. more..

Franchise: Intentions, Operation & Results

Jan 9 (CT) The franchise (suffrage) is an entrenched right in our Constitution. SL was the first country in Asia to grant Universal Adult Suffrage (or franchise). Many countries imposed restrictions, in particular excluding females. This led to the Suffragettes movement in Europe, demanding that women too should have the Vote. Historically, the concept of representation must have originated and evolved through centuries, in line with the complexities of governance and the growth of population, more..

SL fails to see the value of street vendors

Jan 9 (DM) Street vendors are a common phenomenon wherever you go, not only in this country but even in the developed world. I was amazed to see street vendors even in Switzerland in the early part of 2020. The street vendor culture that prevails in Singapore is a classic example of the power of street vending. The most famous New York City where over 10,000 people make a living by street vending is simply wonderful & mix cuisine they provide is simply out of this world. more..

The MiG deal: Why my father had to die

Jan 9 (GV) When I first heard the phrase MiG deal as a kid in 2007, I never expected that less than two years later, the printing of those two words in my father’s newspaper would lead to my standing over his open grave on the darkest day of my life. It has long been clear to me, and to all those familiar with the evidence, that had my father not exposed the MiG deal in The Sunday Leader, he would still be alive today, more..

Goblins and real challenges of 2021

Jan 9 (DM) Multiple challenges in multiple fronts await the nation in the year 2021. The economic fallout of weakened public finances would be more intimidating than the previous year. After the downgrade of sovereign credit ratings to junk, the creditworthiness of domestic financial institutions is currently being lowered by the international rating agencies. The Govt has to pay $ four billion in foreign loans and interest payments this year against foreign reserves of $ 5.6 billion. more..

SL stands for Sheep Loom: Obedience above intelligence

Jan 9 (CT) The pearl of the Indian Ocean is a small but proud nation, that has been known throughout history for our natural beauty, hospitality, wonderful tea, pearls and gemstones. Small island of Ceylon also boasts a literacy rate of above 90% by 2018 (UNESCO), free education up to undergraduate level, and a crop of graduates that proud parents and politicians alike like to describe as outperforming global standards. Of course what media and reports try to hide in misguided more..

Army’s LRRP ambush of LTTE’s military intelligence chief

Jan 9 (DM) A news report in the Dailymirror last August stated that the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) of the SL Army’s Special Forces has been ranked the third most dangerous Special Forces in the world by the military US Navy SEALs was ranked as the most dangerous Special Forces Unit in the World, while the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Russia was second. more..

Why Sri Lanka must allow home quarantine

Jan 9 (CT) A glaring reality that we all have been deliberately side-stepping for some time now is that the rising number of coronavirus cases in the country might mean that soon our healthcare system may run out of hospital beds to accommodate the patients. When the pandemic hit SL early last year, unlike many other countries in the region, we were well-prepared to manage the number of cases. With our exemplary healthcare system, well-trained healthcare workers, along with effective more..

Editorial: Usurpers

Jan 9 (Island) The SLFP is no stranger to internal disputes and crippling breakaways. Its history is full of such instances which have cost it dear electorally. Its prolonged stay in the Opposition from 1977 to 1994 was due to internecine clashes among its leaders including the members of the Bandaranaike family. Its intraparty rivalries have surfaced again. The SLFP is in a dilemma. We thought SLPP MP and former Prez Maithripala Sirisena was its undisputed Chairman. more..


Quaking fears caused by tourists from Covid infected Ukraine

Jan 9 (Island) Cass was well aware we were in the second wave of Covid-19 infection with a Ukrainian pilot bringing in a more ferociously spreading variant which spread to the Brandix factory and Peliyagoda fish market, but she managed to muster hope that the dawn of 2021 would usher in a decline of the wave and also rejuvenate those who govern us and those of the Presidential Task Force to regain the strength they exhibited when the pandemic first came to SL, of course minus Dr Jasinghe, more..

TNA should support Northern empowerment, or they will be history: Dr Suren Raghavan

Jan 9 (DN) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) while not being supportive of the development in the North also has several internal battles. If the TNA does not support current development initiatives and if they continue with these internal issues, TNA will be history very soon. I have had several discussions with three murties of TNA, Sumanthiran, Mavai Senathirajah and R. Sampanthan and I feel they don’t have a genuine agenda to develop or support Northern empowerment. more..

'I don’t think Sri Lankans can be realistically ruled by force'

Jan 9 (DM) Twelve years after the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the founding editor of The Sunday Leader, on Jan 8, 2009, his killers remain at large. But over the last few years his daughter Ahimsa Wickrematunge has become a household name through her activism and litigation to seek justice for the killing of her dad. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Ahimsa reminisced about the heydays of media freedom more..

Govt refuses to answer question on special treatment for Udayanga

Jan 9 (Island) The Opposition asked the govt whether it would provide all diplomats with the same facilities as SL Ambassador to Ukraine Udayanga Weeratunga. The latter refused to answer the question. SJB MP Chaminda Wijesiri said that Weeratunga had now been given accommodation at Temple Trees after his services to the country. Weeratunga’s present address is No 3, Temple Trees, Kollupitiya. Will a career diplomat such as Ravinatha Aryasinha be given same benefits more..

Herath has the potential to break the national record: Vithanage

Jan 9 (Island) The men’s steeplechase witnessed a new champion after a long time at the recently conducted 98th National Athletics Championships. Eranda Udaya Bandara Herath who has been playing second fiddle to R.M.S. Pushpakumara for some time now, emerged from the shadow of the many time champion to claim his maiden title as he produced his personal best. “It is a satisfying feeling to win the title against the champion,” said 25 yr old Herath in an interview with The Island. more..

Shreshan, Sarangi, two others to get scholarships

Jan 9 (CT) Two jumpers, Sarangi Silva and Shreshan Dhananjaya, together with two other athletes to be selected, will receive overseas training scholarships after their impressive performance at the recently concluded 98th National Athletics Championship 2020. Shreshan and Sarangi will receive six months training scholarship in Qatar provided by National Olympic Committee of SL (NOCSL), while the other two athletes will be more..

No corruption or fraud in repatriation process: Namal

Jan 9 (DN) Govt will definitely not allow any corruption or fraud to take place in the repatriation of SL migrant workers and if this happens, he will definitely oppose it as a Govt Minister, said Minister Namal Rajapaksa. Opposition raised concerns in Parliament regarding the repatriation process and alleged that there is serious corruption with regard to the process where SL migrant workers are being exploited. Refuting reports that SL expatriate workers have to undergo compulsory paid more..

The ECT Deal

Jan 9 (CT) The Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar arrived on 5 January 2021, to have bilateral talks with Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Indian Foreign Ministry said Dr. Jaishankar came on the invitation of Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Ceylon Today reported cabinet Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella saying discussions would center on the East Container Terminal (ECT) to be handed over to India’s Adani Group. more..

'Govt readying for project-led growth boost'

Jan 9 (FT) Giving the economy a rosy diagnosis, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal assured Parliament that SL’s growth prospects were positive, underscored by a stable currency and sound debt repayment capacity, adding the Govt was readying to start investment projects with construction permits and other support to be given soon to revive key sectors. He told Parliament the Govt is in the process of putting delayed more..

Not only Muslims, but all communities lost funeral rights: Tharaka Balasuriya

Jan 9 (DM) It is not only Muslims who had lost funeral rights but all communities in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya said. He told Parliament that even SL Catholics do not get to bury their dead in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.” Muslims in SL should not trigger racism using this issue,” State Minister said. “According to Jewish customs, dead bodies are kept for seven days before burial. However Israel had enacted a regulation under which more..

Foreign Minister Gunawardena seeks to re-open employment opportunities in Korea

Jan 9 (MFA) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena held discussions concerning the revival of foreign employment cooperation between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Korea with the Korean Ambassador in SL Woonjin Jeong on 4 Jan, at the Foreign Ministry. While appreciating Republic of Korea’s partnership in providing employment opportunities for SL nationals in Korea, Foreign Minister further sought the assistance of the Korean Govt to recommence receiving new employees from SL more..

Liquor license fee waiver for hotels?

Jan 9 (TM) Upon a request made by hoteliers in the country, the SL Govt is considering waiving off the annual fee for hotel liquor licenses for the year 2021. Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the request is currently with the Ministry of Finance and the relevant Cabinet proposal will be made in the upcoming weeks. Hotel Association of SL (THASL) had made this request from the Dept of Excise recently, as hotel liquor licenses more..

Dhammika Prasad, for one last go in Tests?

Jan 9 (Island) Dhammika Prasad was probably a name that was fading in the local cricket circuit, but after a number of injuries to the Sri Lankan fast bowling contingent, there is a buzz around a comeback for the veteran seamer. SL’s front line seamers have all suffered injuries in the recent past, resulting in Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha all missing the second and final Test against the South Africans in the New Year. This meant Asitha Fernando was handed a debut more..

Speaker extends gratitude to South Korea for donating $ 3m worth of PCR test kits

Jan 9 (FT) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane extended his gratitude to the Govt of South Korea for donating $ 3 million worth of PCR test kits to be used in SL and to the Korean Embassy for declaring the Stay Strong campaign to strengthen SL’s anti-COVID campaign. He said this highlights the importance of int'l cooperation in reducing the impact of an international crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. He said this while addressing a meeting of the SL-Korea Parliamentary Friendship more..

Pilots slam UL management for failing to implement COVID-19 protection measures

Jan 9 (FT) In a stinging statement, the Airline pilots’ Guild of SL (APGSL) yesterday slammed the SriLankan Airlines management, insisting that despite repeated efforts, they had blatantly disregarded putting in place measures to protect staff and provide much-needed resources to continue their duties without fear of COVID-19 infections. Below is the full statement: It is with utmost disappointment and revulsion that more..

Asia Securities says all clear for a stronger GDP growth trajectory in 2021

Jan 9 (FT) Leading stockbroking firm Asia Securities Ltd. has maintained that all signs point to a strong GDP growth trajectory in 2021. The latest Economic Outlook report titled Balancing the Priorities – The New Normal forecasts a GDP growth of 5.4% for 2021, driven by improved investor sentiment and consumer demand, an accommodative monetary policy environment, and a pickup in global demand. Asia Securities’ report on 27 March 2020—the first such report to forecast the impact of Covid-19 more..

Work-to rule by pilots cause severe disruptions to SriLankan flight operations

Jan 9 (Island) A work-to-rule campaign by the Pilots Guild of SriLankan Airlines has caused disruptions to the airline’s operations. The pilots are protesting against lack of a dedicated treatment facility for members who test positive for COVID-19 as a number of Sri Lankan staff members, including a pilot, have tested COVID-19 positive. The airline has said, in a media statement, it has requested such a facility from the relevant authorities and is hopeful that its request would be granted. more..

Total COVID-19 patient count exceeds 47,000

Jan 9 (FT) Total number of COVID-19 patients detected in the island yesterday exceeded 47,000, with the detection of 525 COVID-19 patients. 524 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of patients linked to the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons clusters to 43,547. An overseas arrival also tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. more..

ComBank introduces e-slips mobile app

Jan 9 (Island) Cash and cheques can now be deposited paper-free into current or savings accounts at Commercial Bank of Ceylon, following the launch of an innovative new app that generates e-slips. This is the first app to be launched in SL for cheque deposits, and significantly enhances customer convenience in the new normal environment, the Bank said. Commercial Bank e-Slip app enables customers to create electronic deposits on their smart phones in respect of more..