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US envoy in Colombo deeply disappointed with appalling incidents in Washington

Jan 13 (Island) The US Ambassador to SL, Alaina B. Teplitz, says she was deeply disappointed with the appalling incidents in Washington on 6 January. Thousands of angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in Washington DC last week and clashed with Police, resulting in casualty and multiple injuries and interrupting a constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, Teplitz tweeted. In a statement issued, the Ambassador said more..

Video: Ranjan Ramanayake to lose his parliamentary seat

Jan 13 (AD) Former Chairman of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), President’s Counsel U.R. de Silva says MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who was sentenced to four-year rigorous imprisonment, will lose his parliamentary seat. He said Ramanayake will not be able to appeal the verdict delivered by the Supreme Court. MP will further lose his right to vote for seven years after serving the prison sentence. more..

Dreaming our way forward

Jan 13 (FT) Year 2020 dawned with considerable promise or seemed to. US had a seemingly booming economy, there was a jaunty swagger in the air. Europe had Brexit to contend with, but by and large, no overwhelming storm clouds. Here in Lanka, business sentiment was rock solid. A pro-business President had been elected, a post Easter bombing tourist rebound had been achieved, 2020 was going to be the year – of take-off and triumph. Well, we all know what happened next…or do we? more..

Banks, Fitch Ratings, NPLs & impairments

Jan 13 (FT) The global economy is in decline, mummifying all activities and virtually halting growth prospects, due to the COVID-19 pandemic spreading at an alarming speed, signalling signs of the worst economic shock the world has experienced in the form of the deepest recession after several decades. Attention of financial circles throughout the world remains heavily focused on the performance of the banking sector and its asset quality associated with the conundrum. more..

Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secy, Min. of environment

United States donates Mobile testing unit to fight COVID-19 in Moneragala

Jan 13 (USE) United States donated a mobile testing unit to the Regional Health Services in Moneragala, received by Dr. B.M.C. Dasanayaka, as part of the effort to fight COVID-19 in Sri Lanka and protect lives through early detection. The mobile unit will administer PCR tests and provide vital health services to 100 people daily in Moneragala communities hit hard by the pandemic. The mobile unit enables safe sample collection by avoiding direct contact and can be used in future for more..

Video: Siddique’s accomplice caught with Rs 12.6 mn cash, 40 pound gold jewelry

Jan 13 (AD) Two persons have been arrested by the CID at the Grandpass area last evening, Police said. Reportedly, police have seized over Rs 12.6 million in cash believed to be earned through drugs and gold jewelry worth 40 pounds found on the suspects. One of the arrested suspects is revealed to be an accomplice of the prominent drug dealer Mohamed Siddique who is currently in prison. The suspects are to be produced before the court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and more..

British resident in Sri Lanka awarded British Empire Medal for services to animal welfare

Jan 13 (LBO) Samantha Green, CEO of Dogstar Foundation has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to animal welfare. Samantha began her work in Sri Lanka in 2005, after noticing many local dogs had parasites. She moved to Sri Lanka in 2013 with her husband Mark to develop Dogstar Foundation and set up their world-renowned sterilisation programme for street and owned dogs and cats. more..

Cabinet condemns action of Jaffna Uni officials

Jan 13 (CT) The Cabinet noted the failure of Jaffna University officials to obtain legal approval to erect the commemorative statue on the University premises, during its meeting held on 11 January. Minister Douglas Devananda bringing the attention of the Govt to the matter had noted that there has been some interest shown on the issue by the people in the North. During the meeting Prez Rajapaksa had said, he inquired about the incident from University Grants Commission (UGC). more..

Bull run at CSE continues at near 65-month high

Jan 13 (FT) Colombo stock market’s bull run continued as both indices gained on top of above average Rs. 8.5 billion turnover. The All Share Price Index gained by over 78 points or 1% and the S&PSL20 Index was up over 11 points or 0.4%. First Capital said the Bourse experienced an incline reaching a 65-month high on the 11th consecutive day of upsurge while recording a Rs. 8 billion plus turnover. “Index witnessed continuous uptrend since the beginning of the session and reached more..

Video: New appointments to UNP’s top posts

Jan 13 (AD) Working Committee of the UNP has approved the anointment of Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Palitha Range Bandara, Wajira Abeywardena and A.S.M. Misbah as new office bearers. Accordingly, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was appointed as the Assistant Leader while Palitha Range Bandara was appointed as the General Secretary. Wajira Abeywardena was appointed as the Chairman of the party and A.S.M. Misbah as the Treasurer. more..

463 PCR tests conducted in Parliament

Jan 13 (DM) A total of 463 PCR tests were carried out for the MPs and staff members of Parliament today at the Parliament Complex. Speaker and 15 other Govt and Opposition MPs volunteered to undergo PCR tests today, Serjeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando said. He said a total of 448 persons of the parliament Staff including the police and STF officials attached to the Parliament were among those subjected to PCR tests. These PCR tests were carried out by a health staff more..

Ajith Prasanna granted bail

Jan 13 (AD) Major (Retired) Ajith Prasanna, who was in remand custody, has been released on bail by the Court of Appeal. 3 defendants including Ajith Prasanna and two naval intelligence officers are accused of holding a press conference and intimidating witnesses in the case against several navy officials over the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths. In Feb. last year, defence attorneys had submitted a bail application to the Additional Magistrate on behalf of their clients. more..

EU provides LKR 8.26 billion in grants to SL

Jan 13 (TM) European Union (EU) announced the signing of three grants worth Rs. 8.26 billion under which Rs. 4.16 billion would be allocated for a Justice Sector Support programme to reduce caseloads in the courts and increase efficiency in the justice sector. Delegation of the European Union to SL said the Justice Sector Support programme was designed in close consultation with the relevant actors and more..

Annual accounts, amendments to respective constitutions sought

Jan 13 (Island) Election Commission has requested political parties to submit their annual accounts, changes in respect of office-bearers and amendments to party constitutions, if any, at a meeting held at the EC Secretariat at Rajagiriya on Monday. Commissioner General of Elections, said that the EC asked the political parties to furnish requested information urgently. Among those who had been present on the occasion were Basil Rajapaksa & MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara more..

Moragoda presents PFIOSC report to Dr. Jaishankar

Jan 13 (CT) Milinda Moragoda, Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation, presented the report of the Pathfinder Indian Ocean Security Conference (PFIOSC), to Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, during his recent visit to SL. The PFIOSC-2020, which was conducted in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was held from 10 to 12 Nov in Colombo, and was attended by participants from over 35 littoral and hinterland countries of the Indian Ocean, more..

Video: UK strain of coronavirus detected in person visiting Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (AD) The new variant of the COVID-19 virus found in the UK has been detected in a person who has visited Sri Lanka, says Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera. This has been identified during tests carried out focusing on people arriving in SL from foreign countries. Reportedly, the infected person had arrived in the country from England, Dr. Samaraweera added. more..

Sri Lanka, Maldives youth to get new skills to counter hate speech in social media

Jan 13 (EN) Social media influencers in SL and the Maldives who are countering online hate could sharpen their skills in a program launched by UNDP and EU. “COVID-19 has heightened concerns around the spread of hate speech, misinformation, and negativity online,” Robert Juhkam, Resident Representative for UNDP in SL said. “However, young people in SL have shown a desire and ability to drive positive change for themselves and their communities, particularly on social media more..

Joe Root backs Jack Leach and Dom Bess to thrive in attacking spin conditions

Jan 13 (CI) Joe Root hopes that the know-how gleaned by his twin spinners, Jack Leach and Dom Bess, on conducive surfaces at Taunton will help England to overcome their lack of match preparation when the first Test against Sri Lanka gets underway in Galle on Thursday. With England's match practice limited to two days of intra-squad warm-ups in Hambantota, and with their most experienced spinner, Moeen Ali, ruled out of the series after testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival, more..

Dimuth Karunaratne believes Sri Lanka have the edge on England

Jan 13 (CI) England rested Ben Stokes for this series, left Keaton Jennings out, and have lost Moeen Ali to Covid-19. Although Dimuth Karunaratne sympathises with Moeen in particular, he's pretty sure all this confers an advantage to his team. Although Karunaratne did not mention them by name, England have also left Ben Foakes out of the first Test, and have not brought Adil Rashid on tour. more..

Confirmed COVID-19 cases cross 50,000

Jan 13 (AD) Covid-19 infections registered in Sri Lanka crossed 50,000 as 378 more persons have tested positive today. The newly-identified patients are close contacts of earlier cases linked to the Peliyagoda fish market cluster. A total of 687 cases have been reported within the day so far. As per statistics, total number of Covid-19 infections confirmed in the country to date now stands at 55,229. Recoveries from the virus meanwhile climbed to 43,267 earlier today, more..

UNP condemns Prez’s threat against Harin

Jan 13 (EN) UNP has condemned the reaction from Prez Rajapaksa to comments made in Parliament by the SJB's Harin Fernando as sixteen MPs called on the Speaker to protect the Members. The UNP in a statement made by General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara said that Rajapaksa’s comments have “caused concern among the people of SL including those who voted for the Prez.” “Threatening a MP amounts to the breach of the powers and privileges of Parliament,” and more..

Bellanwila Nayake Thera denies animal rights activists’ claim temple elephant ill-treated

Jan 13 (Island) Chief Incumbent of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya Ven. Bellanwila Dhammarathana Thera yesterday said some animal lovers had dragged in Rohitha Rajapaksa to carry out a vicious campaign against one of the most popular temples in SL. The Nayake Thera said: “We have not received anything from the Rajapaksa family. Nor will we seek anything from them. I, however, admire the yeoman service more..

Ranjan’s seat: Ajith Mannapperuma waits untill legal formalities are met

Jan 13 (DM) Whilst stating the legal formalities need to be completed for him to take oaths as an MP, former Deputy Minister Ajith Mannaperuma who is in line to fill the vacancy created in Parliament, if former fellow MP Ranjan Ramanayake who is convicted for contempt of court loses his seat, said his swearing in might be delayed. Mr. Mannaperuma said that he will not be sown in immediately as legal formalities have to be fulfilled. I will not take oaths soon, as MP Ramanayake was convicted more..

Collapse of Joseph Pararajasingham murder case a failure of justice: AI

Jan 13 (AI) Responding to the acquittal today of MP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan and four others in the 2005 assassination of Tamil MP Joseph Pararajasingham, following an announcement by the Attorney General’s Office that it would be dropping the charges against the suspects, David Griffiths, Director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International, said: “The collapse of this case marks yet another sorry milestone in the SL authorities’ continued failure to ensure more..

We will stand by Ranjan and fight for his rights: Sajith

Jan 13 (EN) The SJB will stand by Actor-politician Ranjan Ramanayake and fight for his right to remain a MP despite his prison sentence, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa said. “As we speak our lawyers, several President’s Counsel, are studying these aspects and we will press for his rights,” Premadasa told reporters at a protest rally organized by the SJB Youth Wing at Independence Square in Colombo. more..

Peppercube to start Retail Store Audit

Jan 13 (FT) PepperCube Consultants (PCC), the premier market research and consulting firm, yesterday announced it had purchased the Sri Lanka retail outlet census and exclusive rights to use the retail census from Nielsen SL in Dec 2020. PepperCube is now preparing to recommence the island-wide Retail Store Audit (RSA) from March. This will ensure a seamless transition for many local and global organisations who depend on the RSA information for decision making. more..

Individuals at kovils limited to 25 tomorrow

Jan 13 (NR) Health units have issued directives to limit the number of persons within kovil premises to 25, in line with the Thai Pongal festival celebrated tomorrow. Deputy Director General of Health Services (PHS) Dr. HSR Perera urged the public to strictly adhere to health guidelines when celebrating the Thai Pongal festival. Dr. Perera urged the public to limit visiting kovils tomorrow. She noted celebrating together in large groups poses a high health risk adding that more..

ECT will not be sold or leased: Prez

Jan 13 (PMD) Prez Gotabhaya Rajapaksa assured representatives of Port Trade Unions that the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port will not be sold or leased. The previous administration had agreed to sell the East Terminal to India. The agreement envisaged obtaining a loan from Japan after sale and purchasing construction equipment with the loan money. President pointed out that after the present Govt negotiated more..

Nathaniel Rothschild in town

Jan 13 (EN) British-born financier and a member of Rothschild family, Nathaniel Rothschild has arrived in SL last evening in his private jet for a brief visit. The 49-year old, who is popularly known as Nat, is the heir apparent to the centuries-old European banking dynasty and the only son of Jacob Rothschild, the 4th Baron Rothschild. Nat, who is based in Switzerland, is the Executive Chairman and the largest shareholder of UK-listed Volex PLC, global integrated manufacturing company. more..

With no clear favourites, Sri Lanka vs England is poised to be a thriller

Jan 13 (CI) If form in South Asian conditions is difficult to discern ahead of this series, with so little Test cricket having been played here in the past year, Sri Lanka are throwing predictions into further disarray with their wounded and their injury returnees. A day out from the first Test, (there's still time to get injured), Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal look likely to be in the top order. But although batsman Oshada Fernando, and fast bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Kumara more..

Covid-19: All Sri Lankans will be vaccinated free of charge

Jan 13 (EN) Sri Lanka will likely receive the first batch of a govt-approved COVID-19 vaccine within the next three months and plans are underway to vaccinate all citizens free of charge, Chief Epidemiologist Dr Sudath Samaraweera said. “We have to administer two doses of whichever vaccine we acquire per person within a period of four weeks. We are planning to provide the vaccine free of charge to all the citizens,” he said. more..

Opposition must ensure rain, not thunder!

Jan 14 (DM) SL as a nation has many challenges this new year and among them is to build a vibrant opposition. We’ve seen many moves by Saith Premadasa and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, but the Govt seems to be moving steadily on the path to strengthen its resolve in a forceful manner. In terms of the role of the opposition mention must be made of a collective formed by uni professors and lecturers to strengthen the SJB. Leader of the SJB Sajith Premadasa was appointed to head more..

Rationality is required for unity

Jan 14 (CT) Just over a year after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took over the reins of governance, which the 20th Amendment to the constitution has strengthened, the red lights are beginning to flash even as the New Year gets under way. There has been a continuing expectation that the president will be true to his early pledge, made at the sacred site of the Ruvanvelisaya built by the great king Dutugemunu, that he would be the president of all Sri Lankans and to rule justly. more..

'No discrimination against me within SJB'

Jan 14 (TM) In political parties, as among groups of animal species, there are alphas. However, two alphas, most often than not, find it nearly impossible to co-exist within a single entity. In short, there is only room for one. The result is a duel. In the art of politics, this takes the form of rhetoric and subterfuge. Enter SJB MP Patali Champika Ranawaka, formerly from the JHU, who seeks to position himself as a leader within the SJB. more..

Dire Straits

Jan 14 (CT) First cousin to the manatee differentiated by its forked tail the dugong with its preference for subtropical and tropical climates inhabits waters to the North West of SL. Dugongs are mainly herbivorous, feeding on sea grass, marine mammals frequenting Gulf of Mannar & Palk Strait. Dugongs live to around 72 years attaining maturity after nine or ten. Though not great beauties in appearance their appealing timidity and caring behaviour has tugged at many a heart string. more..

Editorial: Ranjan behind bars

Jan 14 (Island) It is not only greedy eaters who get into trouble because of their tongues, with which they are said to dig their graves; politicians also find themselves in unenviable positions because of their restless tongues, and SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake may be considered one of them. He will have to languish in jail for four years. The actor-turned-politician put on a bold face while being taken to prison, on Tuesday, but it will not take long for the sobering reality to dawn on him. more..

Time running out for Digana locals?

Jan 14 (CT) The recent tremors in the Digana area close to the periphery of the Victoria reservoir have heightened the sensitivity and concerns about the safety of the communities living in the villages close to and below the dam. There are concerns that the tremors might be a sign of a large earthquake to come and that they are connected to the local dolomite marble mining operations, to which the Minister of Environment appointed more..

Political economy of accusation, guilt and punishment

Jan 14 (DM) Whenever predictions are made about repercussions from the international community for things said or left unsaid or else things done or left undone, I am reminded of Libya. Muammar Gaddafi was for decades the bad boy. He decided at one point to try being the good boy. We all know how he was rewarded by those who saw him as an enemy and who he later thought were friends. That’s how the international community operates. International community, as in the movers and shakers, more..

What can Nandasena learn from Donald’s demise?

Jan 14 (CT) Madmen have been Emperors, Kings and Presidents; Caligula, George III and Idi Amin who allegedly chopped up his Chief Justice Kabimu Kiwanuka, preserved body parts in a fridge and ate them at leisure. And of course we had our own Pissu Sira though not as crazy as these. Jan 6 in Washington DC is surprising not as a mentally deranged and debauched villain elected to the US presidency but that 138 lawmakers (Congress-persons and Senators) lied about more..