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EP Governor appoints expert committee to study injustices

Jan 16 (Island) Governor of the Eastern Province Anuradha Yahampath has appointed an expert committee to study social injustices with the aim of promoting coexistence among the people of the Province. The expert committee is tasked to study in depth complaints, requests or appeals from the public regarding the development of coexistence among communities, review information and make appropriate recommendations. Those who are seeking relief for the prejudices they have more..

Govt to explore novel strategies to contain pandemic: DDGHS

Jan 16 (DM) Following the discovery of Covid-19 patients from a large geographical area of the country, the authorities concerned are looking at fresh strategies to contain the pandemic, an official said. Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath told Daily Mirror though there were not large COVID19 clusters like the ones that originated from the Minuwangoda apparel factory and the Peliyagoda fish market, daily identified cases were from a wider geographical area. more..

Indo-Lanka agreement on ECT: Govt sticking to yahapalana commitment says SJB MP

Jan 16 (Island) SJB lawmaker Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the SLPP govt had adopted the previous administration’s strategy in respect of the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port having repeatedly decried what it earlier called the sale of the facility to India. MP de Silva, who also played a big role in the previous administration said that the SLPP earlier strongly opposed the involvement of India and Japan more..

SL explores possibility of charter flights to Myanmar

Jan 16 (FT) SL may be able to commence charter flights to Myanmar from mid-2021, in the post COVID-19 phase to encourage tourism and trade links between the two countries, a statement from the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. SriLankan Airlines Regional Manager (Southeast Asia) Mohan Meegolla had expressed this view at a meeting organised by the Foreign Ministry, the statement added. The meeting was chaired by the Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, more..

CCTV footage of armed robbery at Miriswatta

Jan 16 (AD) Video footage of the armed robbery which had occurred at a private financial institution at Miriswatta, Gampaha last evening have been released to the media today. The footage, caught on CCTV cameras outside and inside the premises, show two unidentified men arriving on a motorcycle and proceeding to rob the institution after brandishing weapons. According to the police, the robbers had made off with gold jewellery and cash to the tune of Rs 40 million. more..

Joe Root posts majestic 228 but Thirimanne stands firm to give SL hope of saving Test

Jan 16 (CI) SL's batsmen have earned themselves a chance of saving the first Test after a much improved performance on the third day in Galle. Having endured a miserable first two days, SL started their second innings with a deficit of 286. But after a first-innings display their batting coach, Grant Flower, rated as "the worst" he had seen, they demonstrated far greater resolve and application the second time around. Going into the 4th day, more..

New invasive plant fast smothering native cultivations in Puttalam District

Jan 16 (Island) A new invasive weed species called Mimosa Diplotricha also known as the giant sensitive plant, had been detected at several areas of Puttalam District, additional director of agriculture, Sanath M. Bandara said. Bandara said that the weed scrambled vigorously over other plants, forming dense tangled thickets up to two metres in height. In many countries the plant had smothered and killed indigenous flora. “We have identified this invasive species after Tharangika Shyamali more..

S’gamuwa governor removes two UC chairmen

Jan 16 (AD) The Governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa has removed the Chairmen of the Embilipitiya and Balangoda Urban Councils, pending investigations into allegations against them by a Commission of Inquiry. Accordingly, the Chairman of the Embilipitiya Urban Council Lalith Dharmakeerthi and Chairman of the Balangoda urban Council Chamika Wimalasena have been removed from their positions. The Deputy Chairmen of both Urban Councils, more..

RPCs lay out final proposal to remunerate workers Rs.1105 per day

Jan 16 (AD) In a meeting today (15) between the Minster Nimal Siripala de Silva and the Chairmen of all SL Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), a final proposal has been submitted towards ensuring a sustainable earnings model for the sector. This proposal takes into consideration the sustainability of both the industry and livelihoods of plantation workers. “After a very productive meeting with the Minister, RPCs have arrived at more..

Bus driver held with 18 kilos of ice

Jan 16 (Island) Acting on a tip-off, the Colombo Crime Detection Bureau (CCD) yesterday morning arrested a person driving a bus carrying 18 kilos of ‘ice’ at Hegalla in Kosgoda. The bus was heading to Colombo from Galle. DIG Ajith Rohana said that the detection had been made at 5.20 am. At the time, the police intercepted the bus there hadn’t been any passengers, the police officer said. The suspect is a 27-year-old man who had been dropping off parcels of drugs to dealers in various towns. more..

Over 12,000 inmates released to reduce overcrowding at prisons

Jan 16 (DM) A total number of 12,339 prison inmates have been released from prisons across the country since Dec 1, 2020 upto today, in order to reduce congestion privailing in prisons. Prison spokesman said accordingly, 1,100 remanded male prisoners and 26 female inmates were among the released. Moreover, 10,832 male suspects and 371 female suspects have also been released from prisons. Prior to being released, the inmates were tested for Covid infections through PCR tests. more..

LTTE continues to be banned organisation in US

Jan 16 (DM) US State Department has amended its Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO) list and the LTTE remains to be a banned organisation in it, State Dept said. Under the Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, the LTTE can be seen listed as an organisation designated since 10/8/1997. In a release issued by the State Dept said it has amended the terrorist designations of Lashkar i Jhangvi (LJ) and more..

Applications called to recruit Ex-servicemen

Jan 16 (CT) Prisons Dept has called for applications to recruit 200 male Prison Guards from those who have retired from the defence services after completing a minimum of 12 years of service. Applications close on 5 Feb. They will be attached to the Intelligence and Security Division of the Dept, Prisons Commissioner General H.M.T.N. Upuldeniya, in a posting on the Prisons website on Friday said. As at end 2019 the Prisons Dept had 3,739 Prisons Guards, down 35 (0.93%) more..

Tonnes of garbage removed from Mahaweli River

Jan 16 (Island) Garbage, weighing several tonnes, was collected from the Mahaweli River on Thursday in a joint operation conducted by the SL Mahaweli Authority and the Army, from Katugastota to the Victoria reservoir. The operation was led by the engineer in charge of the Victoria dam, Wasantha Ehelapitiya. A significant amount of garbage collected in the Pingaoya, Akurana and Ambatenna areas is dumped into the river at Katugastota. Ehelapitiya said a lot of the garbage more..

PCR testing capacity at BIA drops drastically

Jan 16 (EN) The capacity of the laboratory to test arriving passengers at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for Covid 19 has dropped drastically from 3,000 per day to 600. This has been caused by a lack of automated extraction reagent kits senior officials have said according to documents made available to EN. The BIA remains the main port of entry in Sri Lanka and the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory established at more..

President invites Maithri to declare open school building

Jan 16 (TM) Prez Rajapaksa invited former President Maithripala Sirisena to declare open a building at the Dahamwewa Primary School in Medirigiriya today. The former president was accompanying President Rajapaksa during the sixth installment of Gama Samaga Pilisandarak programme which was held in Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa. Prez who arrived at the school to open the building turned towards his predecessor and said, “The one who made way for more..

Navy rescues a dinghy stranded at sea

Jan 16 (SLN) SL Navy, with the mediation of its Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Colombo), sprang into action to rescue a dinghy with 02 fishermen swept away to the Indian waters, on 15th January 2021. The dinghy that departed Silawathura for fishing practices had faced this distress due to a failure in its outboard motor (OBM). In response to a request for assistance by the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, SL Navy was pressed into action to locate this more..

Sri Lanka eyes artificial intelligence for bank regulation: CB Governor

Jan 16 (EN) Sri Lanka is looking at artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve off-site supervision of banks as part of an overall drive to boost its techno-regulation framework and supervision, CB Governor W D Lakshman said. “In this regard, Central Bank will explore the possibilities of implementation of Supervisory Technology (SupTech) and Regulatory Technology (RegTech) solutions to streamline the data-intensive more..

A laudable move

Jan 17 (SO) For avid Sri Lankan watchers of the international scene, the US General and Presidential Elections on Nov 3 provided a glimpse into the voting systems of advanced economies. Two terms stood out from the profusion of words used to describe those elections, mired in controversy due to President Donald Trump’s false allegations of voter fraud. One of his allegations was that advance voting and postal voting, generally called mail-in voting there, were rife with voter fraud. more..

The UNP affirmation of Sinhala only

Jan 17 (CT) In 1953, Dudley Senanayake resigned from the post of PM. The reason for this was the violence in dealing with the hartal against the Govt in August which had led to the deaths of some of the demonstrators. That upset Dudley so much that he fell ill and realised he could not go on. The hartal, it should be remembered, had been against the removal of the subsidy on rice. That had been sudden, for the previous year J.R. Jayewardene had painted a rosy picture of the economy, more..

'No political witch-hunt in Ranjan Ramanayake’s imprisonment'

Jan 17 (SO) Minister Udaya Prabath Gammanpila said if the main Opposition SJB says the imprisonment of MP Ranjan Ramanayake is a political witch-hunt, they should accept the responsibility for it because the complaint was made against him when the Yahapalana Govt was in power. Minister said MP Ramanayake’s judgement was given by the judges appointed by their own Prez Sirisena at that time on the recommendation of the then CC. more..

The difference between slash and burn and scorched earth politics

Jan 17 (SO) The real environmental conundrum in this country seems to be that nobody knows where slash and burn cultivation left off, and slash and burn politics began. Prez’s recent speech at Uhana was seemingly on aspects of slash and burn agriculture. A certain amount of forest cover in the country from the OSF or Other State Forests areas have been going under the axe of slash and burn Chena cultivators, from time immemorial. Environmentalists want these slash & burn cultivation methods more..

If truth be told…

Jan 17 (ST) My dear Ranjan, I am writing to you because you are the man of the moment these days, although for all the wrong reasons. You have been sent to prison for four years for contempt of court, for saying that most members of a certain profession are corrupt – and it is difficult to know whether to laugh or to cry. You are, of course, not new to controversy. You have been outspoken at all times, and always called a spade a bloody shovel. That has also been your problem. more..

Delayed exams and O/L student blues

Jan 17 (CT) The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of complications in each and every sector in Sri Lanka and it made a new environment with unique implications to continue all work from a distance. Especially in the education sector, it has created major changes in learning, teaching and other educational processes within the country. Education is one of the most critical sectors affected by the global pandemic. more..

Time to codify Contempt laws

Jan 17 (ST) In SL’s court of public opinion, there is much chatter over convicted murderers being allowed to sit in Parliament, pro-govt terrorist turned politician indicted of assassinating an elected MP and a string of other pro-Govt figures being set free, while an Opposition MP has this week been handed down hard labour for 4 years for contempt of court over unsubstantiated statements in 2017 regarding corruption of judges and lawyers. Apples & oranges this may be, but this chatter is happening. more..

Strengthening the sword of sovereignty

Jan 17 (TM) To the best of our knowledge, there are only two countries on the planet that depict a sword on their national flag – one is SL and the other is Saudi Arabia. The juxtaposition of the two could not be more striking. SL has been a thriving democracy; in fact, the oldest in Asia, governed by an elected legislature, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains an absolute monarchy devoid of a legislature. National flag of SL, first adopted in 1948, with subsequent modifications in 1951&1972, more..

රතු ඉර කාලීන දේශපාලන සංවාදය

UNP spectacle continues; reforms under scrutiny

Jan 17 (TM) The one-time largest political party in the country, the UNP was once again in the limelight last week after the party led by Ranil Wickremesinghe was decimated at the last general election held in August 2020. Despite the much-touted announcement by the UNP leadership of his decision to step down from the party leadership, making way for a young leader to take charge and carry out the much-needed party reforms, Wickremesinghe continues to lead the party. more..

Stormy ports

Jan 17 (ST) So, the stormy East Container Terminal (ECT) issue at the Colombo Port has been settled. Or has it? President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a meeting with several protesting trade unions, earlier this week reiterated the govt position that 51% of the terminal will be held by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and neither will it be sold or leased, while the balance 49% will be offered to India’s Adani group, which has close links to PM Narendra Modi and his govt, and other investors. more..

Legislature shaken by Corona & Conviction

Jan 17 (CT) Amidst the developing COVID-19 cluster in Parliament, last week saw at least three MPs contracting the virus, one being jailed for 4 years for Contempt of Court and another being acquitted from murder charges. State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara was the first legislator to go public about contracting the coronavirus and requested all those who could have come into contact with him in the immediate past to be cautious. more..

Contempt then and now

Jan 17 (Island) Dr. Asanga Welikala, legal academic and constitutional lawyer, has gone on record saying that while imprisonment over contempt of court is legal, it is increasingly seen as inappropriate and disproportionate. This observation has been made in the context of the jailing last week of MP and film star Ranjan Ramanayake to four years rigorous imprisonment on contempt charges. Thanks to television, the country was able to see the actor, screaming and shouting that he had neither more..

Heavy schedule for Sri Lankan athletes

Jan 17 (SO) Sri Lankan athletes are in for a heavy schedule of events this year that will boost their rankings in World Athletics that may give them a chance to qualify for the Olympics. Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) is also in a hurry to conduct meets in quick succession without leaving room for an athlete to recover from tiredness and injury. It was only last month that they conducted their 98th Nationals and now they want to conduct their 99th Nationals by April before conducting trials in March. more..

US born Lankan’s law enforcement agency in the thick of Capitol riot

Jan 17 (ST) As rioters stormed the Capitol Building in Washington DC last week, there was an American of SL ancestry who headed an emergency response unit of a US law enforcement agency battling thousands of demonstrators in an unprecedented attack in which five were killed. Ahead of the rally, Ashan Benedict, the special agent in charge of the Washington field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & more..

Sports Coordination at the National Level; adding value or vanity!

Jan 17 (ST) Last week the MoS (Ministry of Sports) appointed a fresh set of Sports Coordinators for each of the National Sports Associations (NSA) with the DG (Director-General) himself presiding, to explain why and how this initiative should benefit all engaged in national sports; so many associations, one loses count of what it is? The martial arts in all its forms takes the cake! International representation is the great incentive and the local exponents don’t lose time in jumping on the bandwagon; more..

It’s time for the Geneva Circus replete with molehills and mountains

Jan 17 (Island) Circus Pacifica, Apollo Circus and of course the amazing Chinese Circus — readers of an earlier generation will no doubt remember these. The Apollo Circus however planted itself on Pedris Park for quite awhile, but the others were rare. Perhaps the antics of politicians, political parties, activists of various persuasions and of course the NGO rat pack compensated. They have entertained us even as they went about their charades, clowning, sleight of hand, somersaults more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Anika, Janali book berth to final

Jan 17 (ST) Anika Seneviratne and Janali Manamperi will meet in the women’s finals of the 105th National Tennis Championships today after they eased to victory in their respective semi-final ties played yesterday at the SLTA Tennis Courts. Top seed Anika underwent some anxious moments before brushing off the challenge of third seeded Savini Jayasuriya while Janali had little difficulty in overcoming unseeded Hasali Gajaba. In the men’s doubles events saw the pairs of more..

National trade policy in the making

Jan 17 (TM) The Sri Lankan Government is formulating a national trade policy, and until the completion of which, the country’s free trade agreements (FTAs) are unlikely to be signed, The Sunday Morning Business learns. Minister of Trade Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, under whose purview Sri Lanka’s FTAs come, stated that a committee is in the process of preparing a national trade policy, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, and that it is expected to be completed within the next three months. more..

Sri Lankan trio in cusp of 800m glory

Jan 17 (ST) SL has traditionally produced great women sprinters such as Damayanthi Darsha, Susanthika Jayasinghe, Sriyani Kulawansa, Jayamini Illeperuma and Tilaka Jinadasa, who ruled the roost during the golden era of athletics in the 90s. Sriyani Dhammika Menike was the lone middle-distance runner who represented SL in the 800 and 1,500 metre events at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. more..

'Bat full day and put England under pressure'

Jan 17 (ST) After a disappointing start to the Test match in Galle it was good to see yesterday SL putting up a good fight. I could see the application was there and they started very well. They were positive and didn’t take many risks. They attacked the loose balls, rotated the strike and were showing lot of intent. That was so good to see. It was so unfortunate that KJP got hit on the hand. I have no issues with the way he got out. I mean, I would have loved to see him go onto get a big hundred. more..