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Imprisonment over contempt court charges legal but disproportionate: Lawyer

Jan 12 (EN) Imprisonment over contempt of court charges is legal but is increasingly seen as inappropriate and disproportionate, a top constitutional lawyer said. Director, Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law, Dr Asanga Welikala said that, in such an event, a public apology should be adequate. SC sentenced SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake to four years’ rigorous imprisonment today over contempt of court charges, in connection with disparaging remarks he had allegedly more..

State Minister Dissanayake tests negative for COVID through Rapid Antigen Test

Jan 12 (TM) State Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake tested negative for COVID-19 through a Rapid Antigen Test, and the reports that say he has tested positive are false. Meanwhile, the regional epidemiologist of the Ampara District Dr. Wajira Rajapaksha stated that the State Minister was tested through both rapid antigen testing and PCR test. While the rapid antigen test results had been negative for COVID-19, Dr. Rajapaksha said they were awaiting his PCR test result more..

Four monks conferred with Aggamahapandita title in Myanmar

Jan 12 (DM) Myanmar has decided to confer the Honorary Religious Title of Aggamahapandita on four SL Buddhist monks and several other Honorary Titles on three Buddhist Priests and one Layman from SL. The President of Myanmar U Win Myint had decided to confer the Honorary Titles in honor of the 73rd Anniversary of the Independence Day of Myanmar. Ven. Mihiripenne Sobhita Thero, Sri Maha Bodhi Maha Viharaya, Dehiwala, more..

Learn to live with COVID-19 for 2 or 3 years: GMOA

Jan 12 (DM) Under the new normalcy and following health guidelines, we have to live with coronavirus for another two or three years, the Govt Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) said. GMOA Editor Dr. Haritha Aluthge said COVID-19 has become a global pandemic. So we have no escape from this situation. "We can't even think of escaping this marauding threat at this crucial period of time, where the entire world is faced with an uphill task to keep the virus spread at bay," Dr. Aluthge said. more..

All passengers arriving in SL must obtain prior approval: CAA

Jan 12 (AD) Civil Aviation Authority of SL says that all incoming passengers (SL passport holders and Foreign Passport Holders) have to obtain prior approval from Ministry of Foreign Affairs or SL Mission of the respective country in order to enter into SL due to the prevailing situation. Such approvals will be sent directly to the Civil Aviation Authority of SL (CAASL) and this Authority will direct the respective airline to issue tickets for such approved passengers, it said in a notice. more..

Video: Ranjan sentenced to 4 years of rigorous imprisonment

Jan 12 (AD) The Supreme Court has sentenced MP Ranjan Ramanayake to 04 years of rigorous imprisonment over a case of Contempt of Court. Last month, the Supreme Court judge bench scheduled further clarifications on the contempt of court case for today. A three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira de Abrew, Vijith Malalgoda, and Preethi Padman Surasena unanimously issued the verdict. more..

Evoking the undead Tiger, Eternal bogeyman: Consequences of forgetting the past

Jan 13 (DM) The LTTE, is the armed group that the Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa govt claim they defeated in May 2009. During the first Rajapaksa regime and after the Rajapaksas returned to power in 2019, even in the midst of the pandemic, their govt has held annual events to celebrate its victory over the LTTE, which it always proudly states it destroyed. At the same time, even in 2021, 11 years after the end of the armed conflict, it is the Rajapaksa regime that has kept more..

When the brashest of the brashest backs you…. Thank you Lasantha

Jan 13 (DM) It was early April 2002. I was nothing more than an upstart at The Sunday Leader. The not-so-new kid in the news desk, many considered too brash for his own good. I was trying my darndest to make a name as a journalist after bouncing from several jobs including one at the Foreign Ministry. Thankfully I was working with an editor who was brasher than me. Lasantha Wickrematunge was not your typical editor; he was not even your typical star journalist. He was, put simply, Lasantha more..

'Pohottuwa is becoming unpopular'

Jan 13 (DM) As a senior politician in the SLFP Kalutara District MP Kumara Welgama had been a loyal supporter for decades. But during the previous general election he formed a new political party and contested the election under the SJB ticket. However, he now feels that SLFP leaders are misusing the Party and therefore an alternative political movement is needed to gather all leftist politicians under one wing. more..

Fall of the despots

Jan 13 (DM) As this opinion piece is being written, we are witnessing the fall of a wanna-be despot -soon to be ex-President of the US -Donald Trump. Following his electoral defeat in November of last year, Trump tried all manner of skullduggery to hang on to power. All his attempts to overturn the US presidential election results failed. On the day the results were to be certified – Dec 9, 2020, Trump attempted to violently stop the certification process by ordering his supporters, more..

Burial issue: What a tangled web the Govt weaves

Jan 13 (ST) Responding to a question raised in Parliament by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachi said cremations of COVID-19 afflicted deceased people would continue notwithstanding the report submitted by the committee of experts headed by Professor Jennifer Perera. In a written report, Professor Perera’s committee said burials of deceased COVID-19 victims could be permitted with strict guidelines in regard to the handling of dead bodies. more..

The right to bleed: Sanitary pads sans shame, taxation

Jan 13 (CT) It is quite disheartening to realise that women had to fight for every right they have at present. From the right to vote, to the right to bleed, women had to stand up against a system of oppression designed to subjugate women for centuries, even perhaps millennia, wherever in the world they may live. Yet, some countries such as SL are still struggling to identify menstrual hygiene as a necessity. more..

Vaccine roll-out

Jan 13 (CT) With the deadly COVID-19 Pandemic seemingly spreading uncontrolled in SL, it’s time that the Govt of SL does its utmost to get/procure the anti-COVID-19 vaccine/s, though expensive, nonetheless fast and inoculate the vulnerable in society, namely the aged, sick and the very young, with preference given to the indigent within that bracket, free of charge. This is in the context that since the first case was detected last 27 Jan, SL, at the time of writing, i.e. up to 10 a.m. of Mon more..

Retiring at 55 or 60?

Jan 13 (ST) A 2021 budget proposal to extend the retirement age in the private sector to 60 years and allow private sector workers to access their EPF only after 60 years has triggered a storm of protests – from both employers and unions – with the most practical age of retirement issue surfacing again. Private sector employers have expressed opposition to the move, while unions representing workers say that if there are no proper laws to extend the minimum age of retirement, more..

Wimal Weerawansa

COVID and nothing but COVID: Opposition slams Govt. for mishandling the pandemic

Jan 13 (ST) As expected, COVID-19 was again the dominant topic of debate when Parliament met for its first sitting week of 2021. Issues related to the pandemic such as vaccine distribution, repatriation of stranded migrant workers, the pilot project to bring in tourists from Ukraine and the controversy regarding the Govt’s cremation only policy of COVID dead figured prominently during the week, with fiery exchanges at times between Govt and Opposition MPs. more..

Tennis Nationals: 16-year-old Chathurya in men’s singles semis

Jan 13 (Island) 16-year-old Chathurya Nilaweera will meet second seed Yasitha de Silva in the bottom semi-final after the Stafford International player reached the semi-final stage of men’s singles for the first time at the 2020 National Tennis Championships at Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Tuesday. Number one ranked Sharmal Dissanayake won his quarter-final match but will wait to know his semi-final opponent after the last quarter-final match was delayed due to inclement weather. more..

Poetic injustice: Suppression of ideas as part of the New Normal

Jan 13 (DM) As Ahnaf Jazeem languishes in detention for writing poems that were said to have advocated peace and harmony, many academics and human rights activists believe that arbitrary arrests on minority communities are an extension of the ethnic issue. He is one of many people who has been detained under charges of violating the PTA which was enacted in 1979 to counter separatist insurgencies, more..

Editorial: Oxygen kannada?

Jan 13 (Island) Environmentalists and religious dignitaries including Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, are cranking up pressure on the government to abandon a mega project to be implemented at the expense of a section of the Muthurajawela wetland. The incumbent dispensation apparently has a ravenous appetite for ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands, forest reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. A state minister tried to clear a mangrove forest in Negombo to build more..

Spin trial awaits England

Jan 13 (Island) Cricket is a funny game. Two weeks ago, the Sri Lankans hardly needed the services of a spin bowler. That was on the hard and bouncy surfaces of Wanderers and Centurion. But Galle, the paradise of spin bowlers, will see them using as many as three spinners in the opening Test match against England that gets underway on Thursday. Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, who did not play any of Sri Lanka’s four Tests last year, is set to make a comeback. more..

England lean towards three-seamer, two-spinner strategy for first Sri Lanka Test

Jan 13 (CI) Joe Root has hinted that England will opt to field an extra seamer in the first Test of their series in SL, rather than adding a third spinner to their attack. Despite playing at Galle, a venue with a long-earned reputation for favouring spin bowling, England are set to select only two specialist spinners in Dom Bess and Jack Leach. They are likely to pick three seamers and turn to the part-time spin of Root&Lawrence as required. more..

BIA receives health accreditation from Airports Council International

Jan 13 (TM) The Airports Council International (ACI) has certified the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for adopting health and safety measures in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in line with the International (ACI) Airport Health Accreditation programme. The BIA has prioritized health and safety measures in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) recommendations and in alignment with more..

Envoys to South India invite filmmakers to explore Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (TM) SL envoys to South India have recently requested Indian industry professionals who have been operating in legal, film, and investment sectors in South India to explore the possibilities and opportunities available for making films in SL. Accepting the request, an emerging player in the Tamil film industry B.E. Vijith stressed his intention to visit SL with a group of film professionals comprising directors, producers, and celebrities upon the resumption of airports for commercial flights. more..

Cabinet gives nod to raise employee termination compensation to Rs. 2.5 m

Jan 13 (FT) Despite private sector protests Cabinet this week gave approval for the upper limit of compensation under the Termination of Employment of Workman Act (TEWA) to be increased from Rs. 1.25 million to Rs. 2.5 million. Cabinet paper submitted by Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was approved during the Cabinet Meeting on Monday. The change comes after several rounds of discussions between more..

IFC provides $ 25 m loan to NTB

Jan 13 (FT) In an effort to provide improved access to critical working capital for SL businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and to help preserve jobs, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said it is providing a $ 25 million loan to Nations Trust Bank (NTB). The financing package, which will be used by NTB to help Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and corporates, is part of IFC’s $8 billion global COVID-19 fast-track financing facility, supporting companies to stay afloat more..

SL’s GDP to recover to 2.8% growth: FC

Jan 13 (DN) First Capital Research estimates that SL’s GDP would see its steepest contraction in history of -5.8% in 2020 and to see a gradual recovery of 2.8% in 2021. “The current Govt’s key drive is the development oriented economic growth which was spelled out through the Budget 2021 and is in the process of changing gears of the economy from a “recovery phase to an expansion phase,” according to First Capital –Pre Policy analysis Jan 2021. Accordingly, Govt plans to reach 6% more..

Sri Lanka’s first underground electrical transmission cable system

Jan 13 (TM) Govt has paid attention to establish underground electrical transmission cable systems and promote renewable energy resources, including hydro, solar & wind power, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. He said that there is a need to make SL’s electricity service more efficient, inexpensive & uninterrupted; at the same time, govt has identified the need of underground electrical transmission cable systems. more..

SL Ambassador in Myanmar proposes SL tour package for Myanmar tourists

Jan 13 (TM) Ambassador of SL to Myanmar Dr. Nalin de Silva, during a recent meeting he had with SL Tourism authorities, has proposed a tailor-made tour package including significant religious sites such as Kandy, Thiriyaya, and A'pura-Polonnaruwa with possible discounts to encourage travel by Myanmar nationals. Dr. de silva also proposed to invite the national television channel of Myanmar to produce a documentary in SL in the post-Covid period and to shoot a video on the religious more..

Meet Randy Caddick: The only member of the Barmy Army watching SL vs England 1st Test

Jan 13 (IN) England’s tour of Sri Lanka may be taking place behind closed doors but there will be at least one member of the Barmy Army cheering on Joe Root and his team when the first Test starts in Galle. Rob Lewis, a web designer from Sunbury-on-Thames, was on a flight to Sri Lanka in March when it was announced the two-match series had been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than heading home, Lewis vowed to stay in the country until England returned. more..

Govt outlines strict measures to reopen borders

Jan 13 (FT) Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga on Monday categorically told all the key industry stakeholders that strict measures would be taken to ensure health and safety guidelines were adhered to and those violating would be blacklisted. To ensure efficient monitoring a 24-hour operational centre will be set at SL Tourism Dev. Authority (SLTDA) as well. He made these remarks at a massive awareness session more..

Second wave of lockdowns in West slows down SL’s apparel exports momentum

Jan 13 (DM) The COVID-related lockdowns, which went up around October in the Western hemisphere, blunted the momentum for demand for SL-made apparel in its key customers in USA and EU. The data analysed since May through November showed that Sri Lanka’s monthly apparel exports picked up quickly to their year earlier levels within a month since the first wave of lockdowns ended but the momentum started fading since October and the gap further expanded in November. more..

Video: Decision on defamation case filed against BBC by Dilith Jayaweera

Jan 13 (AD) Colombo District Court ruled for the dismissal of a case filed against the BBC, by Chairman of the Derana Media Network Dilith Jayaweera. The case was filed back in 2012, when the BBC carried on its channel and website, TNL TV content deemed damaging to the plaintiff’s character, for which an enjoining order had previously been issued against the local channel. However, Colombo DC Judge ruled that BBC was within its rights to carry the content despite more..

Total COVID-19 count exceeds 49,000

Jan 13 (FT) The total number of COVID-19 patients detected in the island yesterday exceeded 49,000 with the detection of 584 patients. 576 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster and eight persons from the Prisons cluster were among the patients detected. Triple clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons have increased to 45,770 patients, while the country’s total patient count has risen to 49,533. more..

FM seeks assistance to boost FDIs from Honorary Consuls based in Colombo

Jan 13 (FT) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has sought the assistance of Honorary Consuls based in Colombo to encourage foreign investors to invest in Sri Lanka. The Minister made this request at a meeting held at the Foreign Ministry yesterday. The meeting was held in compliance with Covid-19 health guidelines. At the meeting, Minister Gunawardena reiterated the importance of mutually assisting each other to revive the world economy, as a collective effort amidst the pandemic. more..

Ukraine tourists at Sri Dalada Maligawa: Monk expresses vehement opposition

Jan 13 (CT) Ven. Lewelle Dhammalankara Thera on Monday strongly opposed to the presence of a group of tourists from Ukraine at the Sri Dalada Maligawa premises in Kandy. Sources said the party had comprised some 195 visitors and when they were about to depart from the premises the monk had expressed his vehement opposition to their arrival at the sacred site. The monk told the Media, that at a time when Ukraine had been declared out of bounds, Govt deciding to bring down more..

Ranjan Ramanayake imprisonment: Pardon request or Mannapperuma replacement?

Jan 13 (TM) The SJB is mulling its next steps following the imprisonment of its MP Ranjan Ramanayake, which range from seeking a presidential pardon to filling his parliamentary seat with Ajith Mannapperuma. The Supreme Court (SC) sentenced the actor turned politician and SJB MP to four years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) over charges of being in contempt of court yesterday. The case was filed against former State Minister more..

Pro-rate wages to continue until March

Jan 13 (FT) Cabinet has extended till March the agreement for private sector employees to be paid either 50% of the total salary or a minimum of Rs. 14,500. The compromise was reached in May 2020 when the Govt appealed to the private sector to avoid laying off people as a result of the COVID-induced economic slowdown. Under the new extension, the payment, which was earlier extended December, will now last until the end of the first quarter in 2021. more..

Covid-19 death toll climbs to 244

Jan 13 (NR) Sri Lanka’s coronavirus death toll increased to 244 with the confirmation of four more deaths last evening. One individual was identified as an 82-year-old female from Colombo 13 who tested positive as a COVID-19 patient and was transferred from the Colombo National Hospital to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases. She passed away on Sunday, with the cause of death determined as blood poisoning with multiple organ dysfunction and coronavirus pneumonia. more..

Jaishankar expressed concerns over China’s influence in Indian projects

Jan 13 (ST) Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s whistle-stop visit to Colombo was prompted largely by New Delhi’s concerns that China was guiding the narrative on its pet projects such as the proposed partnership with Japan and SL to run the East Container Terminal (ECT) in the Colombo Port. Less than five days’ notice was given to Colombo of the visit, authoritative sources said, indicating that it was a quick development. more..

New lab at NHSL: 200 tests a day, results within 5 hrs

Jan 13 (TM) Colombo National Hospital Director stated that up to 200 PCR tests can be conducted in the PCR laboratory established at the hospital, and that PCR test results can be issued within five hours. The laboratory commenced operations yesterday. So far, the Colombo National Hospital has had to obtain the assistance of the MRI and Mulleriyawa Hospital to conduct PCR tests. “This will also help expedite urgent medical treatment and surgeries conducted at the Hospital,” more..