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State Minister Dayasiri undergoing treatment for COVID-19

Jan 9 (FT) State Minister of Batik, Handloom and Local Apparel Products Dayasiri Jayasekara is among the COVID-19 patients detected in the island and is currently undergoing treatment in Hikkaduwa. On a post published yesterday on his official Facebook page, State Minister said he voluntarily got tested given the spread of COVID-19 in the country. He went on to wish a speedy recovery to all those who have contracted the virus. Jayasekara got tested after being unwell for a few days. more..

Over 61,750 Sri Lankans repatriated, another 69,000 plan to return

Jan 9 (DN) Govt has repatriated more than 61,750 Sri Lankans who were destitute in various countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly 69,000 Sri Lankans from 137 other countries are expecting repatriation, Minister of Labour Nimal Siripala De Silva revealed in Parliament yesterday. He pointed out, “Of those, 41,452 SL workers from 15 countries are registered with the expectation of returning to Sri Lanka. more..

SL-born Dr. Kanagasundrem awarded MBE

Jan 9 (FT) Dr. Shikandhini Kanagasundrem (known by her maiden/professional name Dr. Shico Visuvanathan), has been recognised in the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours list with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), for outstanding services in Microbiology and Infection Prevention and Control, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic in the U.K. Dr. Kanagasundrem has worked at Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust, Essex, UK, as a Consultant Microbiologist more..

Dr. Palitha Abeykoon among special envoys

Jan 9 (CT) Senior Adviser to the Health Ministry, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, is among the six Special Envoys on COVID-19 appointed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide strategic advice and high-level political advocacy and engagement in different parts of the world. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases, Member of National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and former Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol. more..

Victim blackmailed and killed for refusing to part with Rs 1 mn

Jan 9 (Island) Sleuths investigating the recent abduction and the killing of 65-year-old Ven Uduwila Dharmasiri have recovered a file, a bank pass book and a diary belonging to the slain monk from a house situated in Makola North. Investigators are now looking for the owner of the house. Police found the monk’s body in a cemetery in the Kotadeniyawa police area about 48 hours after he left his temple at Kodikanda, more..

Three more COVID-19 deaths reported; death toll reaches 225

Jan 9 (AD) Three more Covid-19 related deaths in the country today (8) increasing the death toll due to the virus to 225. One of the victims is a 75-year-old male from Colombo 14 who was identified as Covid-19 positive and transferred from the Colombo National Hospital to the Rambukkana Hospital and then to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH). He had passed away at IDH earlier today (8) with the cause of death reported as shock caused by blood poisoning and Covid-19 pneumonia. more..

More credit facilities to small and medium scale rice producers: PM

Jan 9 (DN) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed officials to provide credit facilities to small and medium scale rice producers to support their businesses. PM made this directive while was participating in a discussion with representatives of the All Ceylon Small and Medium Scale Rice Growers Association held yesterday. PM also instructed the authorities to give priority to resolving problems of small and medium scale rice producers over large scale rice producers. more..

Tense standoff at Jaffna Uni as Govt destroys Mullivaikal Student Monument

Jan 9 (CT) Students staged a sit in outside the campus gates overnight on Friday after authorities demolished a monument dedicated to the victims of Mullivaikal, the final theatre of battle in the civil war, where thousands of civilians perished in May 2019. STF troops were brought in to guard the campus gates after the demonstration began. STF also patrolled the streets around the campus. Police on the scene attempted to more..

A battle to achieve what?

Jan 9 (FT) Udayanga Weeratunga is no stranger to SL. He was hunted down by the CID and brought to SL. He is now on bail. His uncles are back in power. He believes anything is possible. Weeratunga recently organised the Ukranian charter flights to SL to bring tourists; it is said he had flouted the health guidelines by not following protocols. SL Tourism Development Authority Chairperson (SLTDA) Chairperson Kirmali Fernando who is known to attract controversy went public by saying more..

Gotabaya’s experts, SL villains & Muslims

Jan 9 (FT) A fourteen-and-a-half century-old Muslim religious and human right to bury the Muslim dead has turned into an intractable issue, because of corona, and has invited unwanted attention from international bodies and human rights circles, which are condemning the SL Govt’s intransigence on cremating all COVID-19 infected bodies without exception. What the protestors abroad fail to understand is the political reality inside the country, which requires Muslim dissatisfaction or more..

සල්ලි වලට කට වහන් නෑ - අසාද් සාලි

Video: Former ETI directors produced before courts

Jan 9 (AD) Former Directors of Edirisinghe Trust Investments (ETI) Finance Limited, who were arrested yesterday, have been produced before Aluthkade Magistrate’s Court a short while ago. CID arrested four former Directors of ETI Finance – Nalaka Edirisinghe, Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Anjalee Edirisinghe and Asanka Edirisinghe – acting on the directives issued by Attorney General Dappula de Livera last evening. The suspects were taken into custody on charges of criminal more..

Video: Nearly 30 injured after bus topples into canal in Polonnaruwa

Jan 9 (AD) Approximately 30 people have sustained injuries after a bus toppled into a canal that feeds Parakrama Samudraya in Pulasthipura, Polonnaruwa, the police said. The bus, transporting employees of an apparel factory, had veered off the road and fallen into a canal as the bus driver lost control of the vehicle. The accident had taken place this morning. The injured passengers are currently under medical care at hospitals in Polonnaruwa and Pulasthipura. more..

Video: U.S. charges three Sri Lankans over role in 2019 Easter Sunday attacks

Jan 9 (AD) Justice Dept of US announced Friday that three SL citizens were charged with terrorism offenses, including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS). The department said three men in question were part of a group of ISIS supporters which called itself ISIS in Sri Lanka, responsible for the 2019 Easter attacks in SL, which killed 268 people and injured over 500 others. more..

Sri Lanka’s blue whale is a superb athlete. Is she also a scholar?

Jan 9 (EN) Thirty meters long. Up to 200 tons in weight. The biggest creature ever to live abounds on SL’s porches. The elusive blue whale, twice the weight of the hugest known dinosaur, seems to like Lanka as much as anyone would. This past decade has established SL as one of the world’s premier locales for seeing and studying blues. Beneath shallow waters outward from Lankan shores lies continental shelf: a gently sloping sea floor stretching to an edge where the bottom drops more..

Hambantota swimming pool earned US$ 100,000 in 2020: MR

Jan 9 (CT) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said, the revenue earned in 2020 by the Hambantota Harbour, which was constantly mocked by the Opposition as a swimming pool, was US$ 100,000. Rajapaksa further said, if the previous Good Governance Govt did not hand over the Hambantota Port to China, it would have been possible to earn a huge income from it by now. PM also said, the Hambantota Port earned this significant amount of revenue amidst certain restrictions imposed more..

Agriculture waste instead of coriander: Local traders say they were duped by Ukraine Co.

Jan 9 (ST) Smarting over allegations levelled against them, SL’s coriander importers are accusing an Ukrainian company of defrauding them and sending 28 containers of agriculture waste instead of the spice they ordered. Essential Food and Commodities’ Importers and Traders Association (EFCITA) president G. Rajendran said that three out of seven traders had already been duped of 250,000 USD the amount they paid for more..

Youth organisations call for govt to end mandatory cremation policy

Jan 9 (FT) Appeal for policymakers to listen to scientific views and avert inter-community tensions. Youth for Justice Sri Lanka, a coalition of youth-led organisations and youth activists, yesterday called on the Govt to revise its ongoing policy of mandatory cremations for COVID-19 deaths and permit burials as supported by scientific evidence. Releasing a statement they said the current Govt policy was causing tremendous hurt and distress to many Sri Lankans. more..

Ranil signs testimony at home

Jan 9 (CT) The PCoI into the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings is in the process of preparing its report. The witnesses who testified before the Commission are now being summoned to sign their testimonies. However, Ceylon Today learns that notes of the evidence given by former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, before the Commission, had been sent to him for his signature. The other witnesses who testified before the Commission had been summoned before the Commission and more..

Illegal Indian fishing in SL waters continues

Jan 9 (TM) The illegal trespassing of Indian fishermen into Sri Lanka’s waters has been a perennial problem, spanning beyond a period of 20 years. Despite the efforts of authorities to put an end to this ill, the numbers do not seem to shift. Ministry of Fisheries Director General Dhammika Ranathunga explained that although there have been discussions between the fishermen associations of the two countries, more..

Video: Special state pardon for inmates jailed over unpaid fines

Jan 9 (AD) All inmates who were incarcerated over failure to pay fines will be released under special State Pardon by the Prez, says the Spokesperson of Prisons, Commissioner Chandana Ekanayake. The decision has been taken with the intention of easing the congestion at prisons across the island owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. Mr Ekanayake said these inmates will be released starting from today, after referring them to PCR tests and confirming that they are negative for novel coronavirus. more..

23 TUs ready to protect Colombo Port: Lal Kantha

Jan 9 (CT) Head of National Trade Union Centre and JVP politburo member, K.D. Lal Kantha, stated that 23 trade unions are ready to launch a series of massive demonstrations to protect the Colombo Port, which could be termed as one of the country’s nerve centres. He said, whenever the topic of selling the country was being discussed in the recent past there had been two segments called local and foreign investors. He said, according to the Govt, there were presently only foreign investors. more..

Oil pipeline: Still in the pipeline

Jan 9 (TM) Concerns have been raised over the delay in taking appropriate measures to upgrade the existing 75-year-old oil pipeline system to enhance the oil transportation process and thereby avert the losses incurred by the CPC. Petroleum industry trade unions (TUs) lashed out at Minister of Energy Udaya Gammanpila, saying it’s been months since he was appointed as the subject minister, but no adequate measures more..

COVID-19 Killed 89 Lankans in Middle-East

Jan 9 (CT) Amidst growing criticism, even within Govt ranks, on the lukewarm attitude in repatriating stranded migrant workers, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva revealed, 89 SL migrant workers have died in the Middle-East alone, due to COVID-19. He was responding to a question raised by JJB Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake under the Standing Order 27/2. He said that 3,923 SL migrant workers in the Middle East had been infected by COVID-19. Of these, 3,823 had recovered by 30 Dec. more..

The first SL healthcare worker to die of Covid 19 is from Ratnapura hospital

Jan 9 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Healthcare system is being hit by Covid 19 infections with the first death of a frontline health worker recorded at the Homagama hospital, the head of the govt Nurses’ Union Saman Rathnapriya said. He said the health worker had been admitted to the hospital for another ailment. “However a postmortem examination revealed that he was Covid positive,” he said. A hospital spokesman from the Ratnapura hospital said the deceased was one of their staff members. more..

Tamil Nadu leaders slam demolition of Mullivaikkal Memorial

Jan 9 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam and DMK President MK Stalin among others on Saturday slammed the reported demolition of a memorial monument for Tamils killed in Mullivaikkal in Sri Lanka during peak hostilities in 2009. The monument was established in 2019 in the Uni of Jaffna in memory of the civilian Tamils killed in one of the bloody episodes of more..

Curtains go up, but few moviegoers

Jan 9 (ST) Curtains were raised in a few movie theatres on Jan 1 after they remained closed for more than nine months due to the COVID pandemic. Despite the permission to reopen, only a few multiplexes screened movies on Jan 1. Govt took the decision to open the cinemas in a bid to provide relief to the local entertainment industry and artistes. Film producer and theatre owner Sunil T. Fernando said he believed the move would not bring the expected relief to the industry as more..

Musthapha in ironic twist

Jan 9 (CT) In an ironic twist, former Minister President’s Counsel Faiszer Musthapha, has sought the opinion of the SL Jewish Federation (SLJF), on the decision taken by the health authorities to mandatorily cremate all COVID-19 diseased. In response, SLJF has said, “This is in response to your query as to the position of the Sri Lanka Jewish Federation on mandatory cremations. The following is the position of the Federation on the matter, as articulated on its behalf by D.L. Perera, more..

Swarnamahal ex-directors used depositors’ funds to live luxurious lives

Jan 9 (CT) Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd did not have a valid license from the Central Bank, to act as a finance company, but had obtained deposits from the public by issuing guarantee notes. This was revealed, before Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage, by Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris, when the case pertaining to the misappropriation of a sum of Rs 35 billion, by ETI Finance and its related firms was taken up more..

US remains confident in SL ability to bring perpetrators to justice: US

Jan 9 (DM) The US remains confident in the SL authorities’ ability to bring the perpetrators to justice over the 2019 Easter Sunday’s attack, said Nick Hanna U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. After announcing that three SL citizens have been charged with terrorism offenses, including conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (ISIS), Hanna said “this complaint makes clear that we stand ready with these charges in the event more..

Removal of war monument at Jaffna Uni: UGC Chair says peace monuments needed

Jan 9 (TM) UGC Chairman Prof Sampath Amaratunga said the removal of war monument at the Jaffna Uni was timely and that the country needed peace monuments instead of war monuments. Clarifying on the incident, Prof said the monument had been expanded over the years and that it could act as an obstacle in the peace process. He said the Jaffna University’s Vice Chancellor Prof Sri Satgunarajah was one of the best scientists in the country as well as a shrewd administrator. more..

Speaker seeks advise from health authorities after Dayasiri tests positive

Jan 9 (DM) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has sought advise from the health authorities as to whether any immediate health protocols need to be followed in Parliament after State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara tested positive for the COVID-19, the Daily Mirror learns. According to highly placed sources, although Jayasekara had not attended parliamentary sessions since the House convened after the New Year, he however more..

Sri Lanka begins seafood exports to Ukraine from Mattala

Jan 9 (EN) Sri Lanka has begun exporting seafood to Ukraine on a new route from Mattala Rajapaksa Int'l Airport to Kiev operated by SkyUp Airlines. SkyUp is flying to SL via Sharjah carrying tourists and is now taking back those who have completed their stay. The outward bound SkyUp flght PQ-0556 to Ukraine had carried the first seafood shipment of 685 kilogram made up of tuna, prawn and mullet. “MRIA is positioned to utilizing its strategic geographical location to boost more..

East Container Terminal: India wants deal sealed as quickly as possible

Jan 9 (DM) Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar is reported to have stressed the need to seal the agreement on the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port as early as possible, a Govt source said. The source said it would be done under the new investment model proposed by SL. According to the source, there won’t be outright sale or leasing out of the terminal to India. “It will be done under an investment proposal. Sri Lanka will retain majority stakes in the project,” source said. more..

Medical lab technologists raise fears over further relaxing of preventive measure to...

Jan 9 (Island) SL should not change quarantine laws at the whims and fancies of big businesses, President of College of Medical Laboratory Science, Ravi Kumudesh said, commenting on attempts made to relax such laws to facilitate tourist arrivals. “Former ambassador to Russia and an architect of the plan to bring in Ukrainian tourists, Udayanga Weeratunga, tells the media that SL quarantine laws are not practical and more..

Sri Lanka holds discussions with China, Russia, India to purchase COVID-19 vaccines

Jan 9 (Xinhua) The SL govt has been in discussions with China, Russia and India to purchase COVID-19 vaccines while obtaining vaccines through the WHO's COVAX, local media quoted Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi as saying on Friday. The minister informed the parliament that the Asian Development Bank had agreed to provide a grant of US$ 5 million to purchase the vaccines for Sri Lankans, while the govt would also take steps to provide the Pfizer vaccine if it is available more..

Local cattle hit by lumpy skin disease

Jan 9 (CT) Lumpy skin disease, a bovine viral infection predominant in Africa has affected cattle in several local districts, Director General of the Department of Animal Production and Health, Dr. R Hettiarachchi said. Fielding questions regarding the rare disease on 8 Jan, he said the infection had been detected in around October last year on cattle in Kopai Jaffna. It had later been identified in cattle in the Districts of Vavuniya, A'pura, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Galle and Ratnapura. more..

Tamil political leaders seek India’s support

Jan 9 (CT) Several leaders of Tamil political parties, who met India’s Minister of External Affairs, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, have urged India’s support in developing the North and East and the plantation sector. They also welcomed India’s stance on the 13th Amendment, that was reiterated by the Indian guest. Leader of the TPA, Mano Ganesan, urged the Indian politician to restart building houses for the plantation sector more..

Revitalising the public service

Jan 10 (SO) Sri Lanka has nearly one million public servants, a comparably high number for a country with a population of only 22 million. Some would call it bloated, but there are instances when the numbers are not enough – particularly doctors and teachers. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament last week that the Govt cannot allocate more than one doctor to certain rural hospitals due to the lack of doctors in the health cadre. Likewise, many rural schools lack teachers for subjects more..

How the mighty have fallen

Jan 10 (TM) When billionaire businessman Donald Trump took office as the 45th President of the United States of America four years ago, the world paused and took note. Here, was a complete outsider to the close-knit Washington political establishment, taking on the giants and winning, by a landslide in his own words. The world looked up in awe at the prospects that America’s five-star democracy had to offer, and the respect and admiration for the leader of the free world grew by leaps and bounds. more..