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Ranjan detained in a separate cell

Jan 14 (CT) Prisons Department detained SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake in a separate cell at the Pallansena Quarantine Centre with heightened security, to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, after the Supreme Court (SC) convicted him of Contempt of Court on Tuesday. He was sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment. Prisons Department Spokesman said outside meals were not welcome in his case. He added visits by relatives have been suspended due to more..

Chief warden of Avanthi Devi Children’s Home arrested over reports on abuses

Jan 14 (AD) The chief warden of Avanthi Devi Children’s Home in Anuradhapura has been placed under arrest. The children’s home in question, which was complicit in several cases of sexual abuse and other irregularities, was recently exposed by Ada Derana Ukussa. DIG Rohana said the police have so far recorded statements from 52 girls housed at the Avanthi Devi Children’s Home. Claims levelled by the children stressed that the establishment was frequented by men for consuming alcohol. more..

Wasteful Sri Lanka skittled for 135 as England take control in Galle

Jan 14 (CI) In years to come, people will see the scorecard of this game - and Dom Bess' first-innings bowling figures, in particular - and presume this was the sort of Galle surface where the ball spun sharply throughout. It was not really so. In truth, the first day of this match was defined by a remarkably soft batting performance from Sri Lanka. No doubt they are low on confidence after their 2-0 drubbing in South Africa. more..

CIOB welcomes Govt move to pay arrears to construction contractors

Jan 14 (FT) Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) President Dr. Rohan Karunaratne said yesterday that he appreciated the decision taken by the Government to pay the arrears due to Govt construction projects before the end of this month (January). Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle had said that Rs. 243 billion had already been paid to construction contractors due to Government construction projects and that all outstanding bills would be paid before the end of this month. more..

SLT, CEB ratings lowered after sovereign downgrade

Jan 14 (EN) Fitch Ratings has lowered the domestic rating of two state-controlled utilities after a re-caliberation of the scale following a sovereign downgrade to ‘CCC’ late last year. Sri Lanka Telecom’s National Long-Term Rating lowered to ‘AA-(lka)’ from ‘AA+(lka)’. The outlook is ‘Stable’. State-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)’s National Long-Term Rating revised to ‘AA-(lka)’ from ‘AA+(lka)’. The outlook is outlook ‘Stable’. “The recalibration of our SL National Rating scale more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

TUs discussion with Prez failed; we continue our struggle: JVP

Jan 14 (DM) While claiming that yesterday’s discussion of the Port Trade Unions’ with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was unsuccessful, the JVP said today they would continue the struggle to protect the full-ownership of the Eastern Jetty of the Colombo port. JVP politburo member and Chairman of the National Trade Union Centre K.D. Lal Kantha told a news conference that the government had officially hinted during yesterday’s discussion that Eastern Jetty would be handed over to India. more..

Fragmentation of coconut land can’t be stopped: Johnston

Jan 14 (CT) Minister Johnston Fernando said, instead of banning large- scale coconut land fragmentation, it would be more appropriate to give land clearing companies the opportunity to start new coconut plantations and take care of them at least for a period of three years. He was responding to a question raised by a journalist regarding the fragmentation of coconut land in the Kurunegala District. He also said, although cutting down coconut trees has been heard for the past 20 years, more..

Declassified Document states Sri Lanka listed in US strategic framework

Jan 14 (DM) A declassified document mentions Sri Lanka in the US strategy for the Indo-pacific region. The White House published the declassified United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-pacific. The document notes that that the US must strengthen the capacity of emerging partners in South Asia, including Sri Lanka, to contribute to a free and open order. “The White House published a declassified version of more..

Sri Lanka selling state lands to foreigners through backdoor: Harsha

Jan 14 (EN) SL’s current administration is selling real estate to foreigners and locals through the back door after coming to power saying promising not to sell an inch of land, SJB Harsha de Silva said. “From one side they are telling that they will not sell an inch of the country to foreigners,” he said. “But from the other side, they had already made the arrangements through the cabinet approvals, while the companies have been registered through the company registrar with Board of Directors appointed.” more..

Legal action taken against 473 institutions for violating quarantine regulations

Jan 14 (TM) Legal action will be taken against 473 government and private sector institutions in the Western Province over violating social distancing requirements, stated DIG Ajith Rohana. Police had launched an operation during the last two days to find out if institutions maintained social distancing requirements as gazetted by the govt in October last year. DIG said 2,823 institutions were checked during last two days and found that 473 institutions have failed to provide facilities to wash hands more..

Sri Lanka's 135 all out: Anatomy of a collapse

Jan 14 (CI) Ah, hello guys. How are you? Happy new year, machan, happy new year. Come, come. Dressing room is there, just straight and to the left. I think Asitha said he was going to bring the match ball and the stumps for us. He's the newest guy in the team, no? So obviously I'm going to give him the job nobody wants. Do you have all your gear? No-one has forgotten anything? Everyone has their own box today? Wow, more..

PM plans tax concessions for film industry

Jan 14 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning to give tax concessions to the film industry involving import duties and income tax relief, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had said following a meeting with the film industry representatives. A decision was made to give import duty concessions to equipment imported for the film industry, the PM’s media office said. The possibility to giving tax allowance for expenditure to produce a film and to make income from exhibition tax free was also discussed. more..

SLIIT refuses to go before COPE

Jan 14 (CT) SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) has refused to go before the COPE as it is not legally obligated to do so. SLIIT has informed COPE through a law firm that it had not been legally obligated to do so. Therefore, COPE decided to summon the law firm first to resolve the matter. COPE further recommended that since SLIIT is an institution of national importance, an internal report should be prepared regarding the SLIIT reporting to Parliament and then it could be decided what more..

Pillayan released due to CA decision: Lawyer

Jan 14 (EN) Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan and 4 others were acquitted of a murder carried out on Christmas Eve Mass 2005 because of a Court of Appeal decision, his lawyer said. Batticaloa High Court discharged the prisoners yesterday after the AG, Dappula de Livera withdrew charges against the accused on Monday, ending the possibility of justice for the family of the victim Joseph Pararajasingham. more..

The north needs a new monument

Jan 15 (DM) The civil war ended 11 years ago, but people in this island find reasons to cause racial tension. The most recent incident is the issue that took place regarding a monument within the Jaffna University that was pulled down early this month. There are views that the monument was constructed to remember those innocent civilians who perished in the war; at a location identified as Mulliwaikkal to be precise. The views of those representing the majority race of the country opine that more..

Lions, Tigers and animal welfare

Jan 15 (CT) There is an Animal Welfare Bill coming up before Parliament soon. The subject is topical. Let me state my views generally. It was King Ashoka who became a Buddhist after the Kalinga War who first officially built various facilities and accessories and brought in Laws to ensure Animal Welfare. There are two types of people or two types of thoughts that prevail among human beings regarding Animal Welfare. Some say we owe nothing to the Animals. Others differ. more..

Nearly 300 Ukrainians leave Sri Lanka without seeing the sunny side

Jan 15 (CT) SL’s tourism industry that was grounded almost two years ago (beginning from Easter bombings in April 2019), is gearing to take off from 23 Jan with the reopening of the BIA, while the mission to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread is continuing amidst fear and criticisms, especially on tourism and the handling of Ukrainian tourists by both the tour operators and Sri Lanka Tourism which is quite disturbing & appalling. more..

Jaffna monument: Rebuilding what they demolished

Jan 15 (DM) The previous fortnight saw three incidents involving commemoration of those killed in the struggle for their rights. First, a tense situation erupted last Friday when the authorities demolished a monument built within the Jaffna uni premises in memory of those, who were killed in the war. In a second incident representatives of plantation workers held a commemoration event for those who died in struggles in plantation areas. The event was held in Pathana, Thalawakelle on Jan 10. more..

The geopolitical enabling of The Gotabaya garrison state

Jan 15 (CT) The project of Prez Rajapaksa seems to be the conversion of SL from an uninterrupted, long-standing democracy and open society, into a second Pakistan, with a permanent overarching military establishment either producing political leaders as in the past or constraining civilian political leaders within parameters set by the military establishment. This is also the Myanmar model. In both cases religion also plays a role as state ideology. The adoption of a Pakistan-Myanmar garrison more..

Illegal clearing of Attidiya Sanctuary with powerful political patronage

Jan 15 (DM) Environmental destruction under political patronage is not new in SL. Although the bio-diverse wetland in Bellanwila-Attidiya is beyond measure, and officially protected since 1990 as a bird sanctuary, it appears that its protected status is no longer sufficient. Violating conditions and guidelines imposed by the Wild Life Conservation Dept (WLCD), a private party backed by a powerful political hand has cleared and more..

Covid-19 diplomacy now underway

Jan 15 (DM) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his last Sunday’s encounter with people in Uhana, Ampara, said he wrote to both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping asking for cooperation in accessing Covid-19 vaccines being developed or manufactured in their respective countries. Both India and China have strategic interests in Sri Lanka. The hiatus afforded by the pandemic is opening up a new platform for the display of Covid-19 diplomacy. more..

No, Ranjan Ramanayake is not a hero

Jan 15 (GV) Sri Lankans are, in general, an emotional lot. They like conspiracy theories and where there aren’t any they like to cook some up. The Ranjan Ramanayake verdict is a case in point. On the face of it the ruling seems, if not reasonable, then at least straightforward. Here is the case of a man who point blank called a majority of judges and lawyers corrupt, admitted in court that he did so and publicly stated that he would never take back what he said. Construed as contempt of court, more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Alternative models to improve lives of estate workers

Jan 15 (GV) The estate sector, a high foreign exchange earner for the country, is undergoing a severe crisis. On one hand, estate workers are underpaid and forced to live in cramped and unhygienic conditions, lacking basic facilities such as health care and education. For five years, they have been demanding an income of just Rs 1,000 a day for their arduous labour. On the other hand, plantation companies are beset with a myriad of difficulties such as rising production costs, more..

Editorial: Capitol blitzkrieg

Jan 15 (Island) What we witnessed in the US House of Representatives, on Wednesday, was a snap impeachment. It may even be called a legislative blitzkrieg. Its outcome came as no surprise because the Democrats control the House. Ten GOP members joined forces with them to secure the passage of the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The person who is supposed to be the most powerful man on earth is in an unenviable position. more..

SL batting the worst I've seen: Grant Flower

Jan 15 (CI) The worst he's seen. That was batting coach Grant Flower's summation of Sri Lanka's first innings at Galle, where they were all out for 135, against an England attack that were far from unplayable. Among Sri Lanka's worst shots were those of Kusal Perera, who fell reverse sweeping Dom Bess' second ball of the series, as well as Niroshan Dickwella, who slapped a wide long hop from Bess straight to point. more..

In Sri Lanka’s own interests

Jan 15 (Island) India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, during his recently concluded visit to Sri Lanka, is reported to have stated, at a Joint Press Conference, that it was in SL’s own interest that expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united SL should be fulfilled and Delhi insists on the importance of the 13th Amendment in fulfilling those expectations (The Island, Jan 7, 2021). Assuming the accuracy of the reported statement, more..

Quo Vadis UNP?

Jan 15 (CT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sedawatte has seemingly confirmed that the once powerful UNP will be an also ran party during his leadership and even beyond at future elections as well, by continuing to be its leader. This is subsequent to the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting of the UNP’s policymaking body, namely its Working Committee, held at Siri Kotha, where, though he had previously promised to relinquish his position as being the Party leader this year, more..

Controller issues fresh directive on imports

Jan 15 (FT) The Import and Export Control Department has issued fresh operating instructions to all commercial banks on advance payment in foreign currency, and the clearing of imported goods to the country. The new instructions issued on Wednesday are valid till 13 Feb. As such. Commercial Banks can effect advance payment where the amount exceeds $ 50,000 or its equivalent, if it is in compliance with more..

Creative Isle’s CAN market success stories

Jan 15 (FT) With the economy of the world crippled, as a consequence of the global pandemic, Sri Lanka’s local entrepreneurs were amongst those severely impacted by the first wave of COVID-19. Post the first wave, Prez Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made a call to action to all local businesses, to move towards rebooting the economy. The CAN weekend market was a brand-new initiative launched in August in response to this call. Creative Isle founder and visionary Keshini Ann Suraweera, more..

CA Sri Lanka’s 41st National Conference goes virtual 18-20 Jan

Jan 15 (FT) An exciting line up of thought leaders, high-profile speakers and panellists will set the tone for the 41st National Conference of Chartered Accountants organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), as they help defy the new normal and inspire Chartered Accountants, including Business Leaders and C-Suite Executives, to overcome the challenges following COVID-19. The three-day conference will be held from 18 to 20 January. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Home or away; Sri Lanka remain useless

Jan 15 (Island) The SL cricket team is playing a brand of cricket that is alien to us and their reasoning is inexplicable. When you do not respect the basic principles of the great game, you are taught bitter lessons. Sri Lanka got a fair share of it yesterday here in Galle. The extended run that Lahiru Thirimanne has got defies logic and the only explanation for him constantly featuring in the team is too obvious. After 37 Tests he averages 22 and at the age of 31, neither are we investing for more..

It is a biz and leisure trip for Nat Rothschild

Jan 15 (FT) British-born financier Nat Rothschild is in Sri Lanka on a business cum leisure trip lasting a week. Having arrived via his cruise ship from the Maldives, Daily FT learns the first two days of his stay in Colombo were spent on meeting with business leaders, visit to the Port City and select politicians including a courtesy call on Prez Rajapaksa and former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Nat is in Sri Lanka on an invitation of former Member of European Parliament Niranjan Deva Aditya more..

Triple cluster rises to 47,127

Jan 15 (FT) The Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons triple cluster yesterday rose to 47,127 patients, with 670 persons testing positive for COVID-19. 663 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster and seven persons linked to the Prisons cluster were among the patients detected yesterday. A total of 50,899 COVID-19 patients have been detected in the island to date. In addition to the triple cluster, more..

TISL opens SMS vote for Integrity Icon 2020

Jan 15 (FT) Transparency International SL (TISL) this week unveiled the SMS voting platform for the public to select the People’s Choice Award winner from amongst the five Integrity Icons for 2020, the campaign to name and fame honest public officials. The biographical videos of the Icons, detailing their work can be viewed on Integrity Icon seeks to recognise those who go above and beyond the call of duty to serve the public with integrity. Over 100 nominations were received for more..

Navy brought ashore a distressed fishing trawler

Jan 15 (SLN) SL Navy, in cooperation with Indian High Commission in Colombo, brought ashore a fishing trawler drifted to the Indian waters along with 02 fishermen aboard, on 13th Jan. The trawler which left for fishing from Gurunagar, Jaffna had carried away towards Indian seas, having gone into an engine failure. Responding to request for assistance by the Jaffna District Secretariat, through Disaster Management Centre and Office of Chief of Defence Staff, to locate a one day fishing trawler more..

Sri Lanka erroneously shamed as top-5 polythene polluters by WB

Jan 15 (ST) SL is still haunted by an old erroneous and unsubstantiated World Bank (WB) statistic that caused it to be labelled the fifth worst plastic polluter of the seas. Six years ago, Science Magazine–one of the world’s two top peer-reviewed journals –published an article by eight academics about plastic waste pollution of the ocean. Based on data from a 2012 WB report, the team inferred that SL was the fifth largest more..

Twinery, Innovations by MAS recognised as one of region’s most influential innovators

Jan 15 (Island) MAS Holdings Chairman, Mahesh Amalean said recently that it was a proud moment for his company when their Twinery product won the Clarivate award for excellence. He said so addressing the media on a virtual meeting platform. “Technology and innovation that developed the product which was the ultimate result of team work and distinct attention to detail. MAS holdings Twinery was one of 28 products that achieved this distinction and the first to be awarded worldwide acclaim more..