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Firms rationalising biz, laying off staff

Jan 17 (ST) More and more companies rationalising their operations in these challenging times are gearing to grant Voluntary Resignation Schemes (VRS) to staff with an idea to encourage those willing to leave to do so on their own accord. With sales dropping due to COVID-19 and the resultant downturn in the economy the managements are trying to streamline operations and production activities. Many firms said they would rather see their staff leave willingly than make painful more..

CSE: A gamblers’ paradise

Jan 17 (ST) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is fast seen becoming a gambling joint. High-profile traders with a lot of cash in hand and no place to park it are playing the market, at the risk of denting the good sentiment in the CSE, stock market analysts observe. It is important for retailers to be educated and invest in the market rather than cry spilt milk like in 2011 –’13 era when retailers got caught in pump & dump cycle, more..

Tuition classes to resume from Jan 25

Jan 17 (DM) Director General of Health Services has granted approval to resume tuition classes and issued instructions to be followed. Accordingly, tuition classes are permitted to function in all provinces except in the Western Province from Jan 25. The senior health official said as per the request, initially tuition classes can only be conducted for GCE O/L and A/L students. Also, the maximum number of students in a class should be limited from 50 - 100% of the seats available per session. more..

Sri Lanka still bugged by batsman error

Jan 17 (CI) Batsman error is a curious concept. It's what all bowlers are looking to cause when they turn at the top of their mark, by applying sufficient pressure to force the fatal misjudgement, or by setting a crafty trap and springing it on the unwitting. Because, as Jack Leach finally proved with an outstanding delivery late in the day to Kusal Mendis, it's only a glorious handful of balls that are genuinely unplayable. So what are we to make of the batsman errors in this contest so far? more..

Sri Lanka will hope Lahiru Thirimanne can live up to early expectations, right now

Jan 17 (CI) Some players wear expectations of greatness lightly. Eight years and 37 Tests into his career, it is fair to say that Lahiru Thirimanne has not. In his early years, Thirimanne appeared as he still appears now - mature, measured, responsible, astute, always with that determined look upon his face. Here was a serious young player. That determined scowl rarely leaving his face, serious in every sense of the word, more..

Sri Lanka Cricket in absolute mess as fitness fixing opens can of worms

Jan 17 (SO) The length to which the administration of Sri Lanka Cricket and its once adored team has broken down could not be explained any better than what has now come to light that players have attempted to bribe fitness trainers with booze and food in return to pass them worthy of a place in the team. An investigation by the Sunday Observer has revealed that the ruse had been going on for some time and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) despite its pompous boasts of taking the sport into the more..

Kuwait resumes recruitment of domestic helpers from Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (DM) Kuwaiti govt has allowed entry of newly-recruited domestic helpers from labor-exporting countries such as SL, the Philippines, India and elsewhere starting from today. India is not discouraging its nationals to work as domestic helpers in Kuwait, but fewer are taking up such jobs, although if they apply to work as housemaids, they can easily get hired. SL continues to send domestic helpers to Kuwait, but they only represent around 11% of the total domestic helper population. more..

Sri Lanka hopeful of getting first stock of Covid-19 jab within weeks

Jan 17 (Island) The first consignment of 200,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 is expected to reach SL by the end of January or early February, health official said. The stock of the newly developed US vaccine, now being administered in many countries across the globe, will be channeled to Colombo through the WHO, he noted. WHO has agreed to provide around 4.2 million qualified vaccines to SL more..

Roy Wijewickrama appointed Chief District Court Judge in North Carolina

Jan 17 (Island) SriLankan American Judge Roy Wijewickrama was appointed Chief District Court Judge in the 30th District Court of North Carolina. He was amongst five judicial appointments announced by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley with effect from Jan 1, 2021. As Chief District Court Judge, Wijewickrama will serve ClayMacon, Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties (Judicial District 30). He was first elected to the court in 2010 and received his more..

Moeen Ali returns to England bubble after release from quarantine

Jan 17 (CI) Moeen Ali has been released from quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 on arrival in SL, and has returned to the England team bubble in Galle after serving an extended isolation period. Moeen, 33, tested negative for the virus prior to England's departure from the UK earlier this month, but returned a positive test after the team touched down in Hambantota on Jan 3. He had initially been expected to isolate for ten days, but that period was extended to 13 with more..

UNHRC sessions: Lanka turns down invitation to co-sponsor new resolution

Jan 17 (ST) A new resolution will be brought before the UNHRC in Geneva by the Core Group on SL —Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Montenegro & Britain— after the Govt turned down an invitation to co-sponsor one. While civil society sources indicated that its text is conciliatory, Admiral (Prof) Jayanath Colombage, Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that it would also be politically challenging to govt more..

I have not been in hiding I am very much here: Dr. Padeniya

Jan 17 (ST) “I have not disappeared and I have not been in hiding. I am very much here,” President of the GMOA, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya who is in home quarantine for 14 days, said last afternoon responding to criticism that he was avoiding public health officials after having a party at his house. Dr. Padeniya said that he, his wife and three children are in self-quarantine in their home at Kelaniya till Jan 21 having undergone both RT-PCR and RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) which proved negative more..

SLTDA plans to upgrade tourism education

Jan 17 (CT) The current Hotel School Diploma, that takes four years to complete, is being reviewed to be converted to a Degree, according to the SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). SLTDA, with the assistance of Asian Development Bank, is currently mapping the syllabus and conducting a gap analysis to achieve degree status. The plans are also in progress to study comparative hotel school syllabuses with the support of the Swiss Embassy. SLTDA also wishes to develop partnerships more..

Story behind the 60 hours that shook Jaffna

Jan 17 (ST) Indian High Commission (IHC) in Colombo made desperate efforts last Saturday (9) to reach PM Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was away in Kurunegala, his electorate, meeting constituents. As he returned to Colombo on Sunday afternoon, High Commissioner Gopal Baglay rushed to his residence at Wijerama Mawatha. He voiced serious concerns over the demolition of Mullaivaikal memorial located within the precincts of the Jaffna University. more..

Sunny side up

Jan18 (TM) US Prez-elect Joe Biden last week announced his nominee for the post of Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Biden had nominated Ambassador Samantha Power to head USAID. Biden also announced that he is elevating the position to the National Security Council within the White House – a signal that he will prioritise outreach to other nations. “A leading voice for humane and principled American engagement in the world, she will rally more..

Saving our island and planet

Jan 18 (CT) A global coalition to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030 has swelled its ranks to about 50 countries, as Govts said at a summit hosted by France that biodiversity loss and climate change should be tackled jointly. First launched in 2020, the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People added to more than 20 nations, including Japan, Germany, Kenya, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Ecuador. Its member countries combined are home to an estimated 30% of more..

'Restoring the environment: A work in progress'

Jan 18 (TM) Last year, Sri Lanka witnessed a record number of incidents of deforestation, illegal logging, illegal sand mining, and an increase in water pollution being reported in the media. By now, several committees and task forces have been appointed to assist the Govt in finding the causes and suggesting recommendations to avert further destruction. Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera respond to some questions that we had on more..

Why do we need a separate University for Teacher Education?

Jan 18 (DM) Teachers have been criticized for not being up to date with the times however, their grievances about the absence of a proper system to further their education has been repeatedly overlooked. The best way, in my view is to establish a separate university for teacher education. This is significant for a number of reasons: a) declining teacher quality, b) absence of opportunities for teachers to further their education, c) the very low IQ level in our nation, d) lack of creativity more..

Ranjan vilified Executive, Legislature and Judiciary: Minister Ranatunga

Jan 18 (SO) The Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 12 convicted SJB Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of court and sentenced him to four years Rigorous Imprisonment. The actor-turned politician was moved to the Correctional Centre for Youth Offenders in Pallansena for quarantine. MP Ramanayake admitted in his evidence that he made the statement in question saying, the majority in Sri Lanka are corrupt judges, corrupt lawyers and they work for money. more..

Fall armyworm invasion: Farmers grapple with uncertainties

Jan 18 (TM) As the State Ministry of Development of Sugarcane, Maize, Cashew, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Betel Production, and Promotion of Allied Products and Export awaits the crops to be harvested at the end of the Maha season which is fast approaching in order to look at estimating the overall yield loss caused by the fall armyworm invasion. Farmers are grappling with uncertainty on whether they would be betrayed yet again more..

A slip of the tongue and a celluloid crusader’s unfortunate downfall

Jan 18 (ST) Confusion has been worse confounded in the public mind following the conviction this week of politician and self-proclaimed corruption crusader Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of court by the SC for allegations made in 2017, that a majority of lawyers and judges in SL were corrupt. This acute confusion must be set to rights, sooner rather than later. As an aside, those carelessly exaggerated words, a majority was what returned to haunt Ramanayake now embarking on a 4-yr jail more..

Lanka hunts for vaccine with begging bowl in hand

Jan 18 (ST) While many countries have joined the queue well on time to be in line to receive the life-saving, life-changing, hope-restoring vaccine of vaccines to end COVID’s unchallenged siege in their respective lands, Lanka hasn’t even arrived at the starter’s gate to be whistled out. Instead, she is still in the paddocks making inquiries from potential suppliers without a clue as to which vaccine to order, regardless of its quality; and holding out the begging bowl for charity from all passers-by more..


Al-Qaeda’s new home and death throes of a fallen regime

Jan 18 (DM) An old English proverb quoted by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes... though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all. In other words no matter how. And so it was with US Prez Trump, who a week ago unsuccessfully attempted to stage an insurrection to overturn the US prez election results in which he was the losing candidate. Slowly but surely wheels of justice are closing in on him. more..

Editorial: Make killers pay

Jan 18 (Island) Health authorities in some parts of the pandemic-hit US are in a dilemma over the prioritisation of risk groups for vaccination. The New Jersey govt is reported to have decided to vaccinate smokers on priority basis as they run a higher risk of having Covid-19 complications than others. It has drawn heavy criticism for its decision, which will result in smokers getting the jab before teachers and public transport workers, we are told. Covid-19 vaccine saves lives, especially those of more..

LPL 2020: SLC stumped with bills

Jan 18 (TM) Nearly a month after its conclusion, Lanka Premier League (LPL) cricket tournament is back in the spotlight, with SLC being criticised for spending millions of rupees on food and accommodation for officials and teams at Shangri-La, Hambantota. These allegations were levelled against SLC by SJB MP Thushara Indunil in Parliament recently, when he alleged that the SLC had spent over Rs. 40 million for food and more..

What’s England doing right in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Island) There was a time when England barely lasted three days in Galle. The extreme heat, tracks that turned square and skilful spinners brought misery upon successive England teams. But they have found a way to turn the tide. What is England doing right to succeed in SL conditions? In the last ten years, England have visited the island on three occasions and have never lost a series. The easy answer is to say that the SL team has lost some big names and the team is in transition. more..

The new southern star

Jan 18 (ST) The cricketing fraternity in Sri Lanka witnessed a glimpse of the capabilities that our future generation possesses during the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). It did provide a fine platform for young Sri Lankans to showcase their talents to a global audience. Among the youngsters that participated in the tournament, Dananjaya Lakshan emerged as one of the rising stars. This is the story of a promising talent who has ambitions of being a genuine all-rounder more..

Sri Lanka's top five show their mettle - three days too late

Jan 18 (CI) Kusal Perera played one of the greatest innings of all time. He also has a batting average of 32.13, and just seven scores of more than 50 from 39 innings. He will never have a day that good ever again, and may forever play in the shadow of that 153*. Still, he could yet become a very good batsman. Signs are, he's trying. Where once he would unfurl the full array of his low-percentage shot-making almost as soon as more..

Jaded Jack Leach taking nothing for granted after five-wicket comeback

Jan 18 (CI) Not even the lure of watching his beloved Liverpool reclaim top spot in the Premier League from arch-rivals Manchester United is likely to deflect Jack Leach from his primary objective tonight - a good night's sleep. That's the effect that a hard day's toil can have on a cricketer in the sweaty, humid conditions at Galle, where Leach's second-innings haul of 5 for 122 has bowled England to the brink (a few wobbles notwithstanding) of their fourth consecutive Test victory in Sri Lanka. more..

Budget 2021: Playing Ostrich or parading in the Emperor’s new clothes?

Jan 18 (Island) The national budget is a financial plan, not a policy statement. Specific budget proposals become nonsense, unless they form part of a consistent whole. Unfortunately, Budget 2021 parts did not add up to a consistent whole. Yet, SL’s leadership in both public and private domains did not seem to care. Budget 2021 was presented in parliament on 17 Nov 2020. Several analysts with knowledge, experience, and integrity reported that this budget 1) provided no numeric estimates more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Onyx Group to launch cement plant operations in South this year

Jan 18 (SO) The Onyx Group will commence operations of the cement grinding plant in Mirijjawila, Hambantota this year, said Onyx Group Chairman Nandana Lokuwithana on the sidelines of the launch of Ferentino Tyres, the largest tyre and radial manufacturing facility in South East Asia, in Horana on Thursday. The nearly USD 100 million cement grinding facility has a capacity to produce around 3.6 million metric tons of cement increasing the quantum manufactured locally. more..

Sri Lanka to manufacture FDG compound: New hope for cancer patients

Jan 18 (TM) Renuka Ekanayake, a cancer patient currently residing in the Gampaha District, has been on a waiting list that could potentially save her life. For the past five months, she has been in the queue for a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which most doctors around the world deem essential when fighting cancer. Ekanayake stated that she has been on the waiting list for the scan since May 2020, at which time she was scheduled to do it in three to four months. more..

England face nervy final day after Jack Leach battles to five-for

Jan 18 (CI) It may look like a modest target, but England face a nervous final morning in their bid to wrap up victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. When Sri Lanka's second innings ended, midway through the final session on day four, it seemed the result was little more than a formality. England had been set just 74 to win, after all. But within minutes, England were 14 for 3. The left-arm spin of Lasith Embuldeniya, more..

Retd. Major General Chandrasiri appointed to BOC Board

Jan 18 (FT) Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed Maj Gen (Retd) G.A. Chandrasiri as a Non-Executive Director to the Board of Bank of Ceylon (BOC). He is the incumbent Chairman of Airport & Aviation Services (SL) Ltd, since Dec 2019. Following the latest appointment, BOC Board of Directors comprises Kanchana Ratwatte (Chairman), Harsha Wijayawardhana, Manilka Fernando, Maj Gen (rtd) G.A. Chandrasiri & R.M.P. Rathnayake (ex officio Dir from Treasury). more..

Sri Lanka tourism looks to the skies for hope

Jan 18 (ST) Hotels are clinging onto their last ray of hope – the reopening of the airport to commercial flights – as their only form of business from locals is also hampered as a result of border health checks. Authorities have stated that the Sri Lankan skies will open to commercial flights officially from January 23 allowing tourists to visit the destination again. However, the regulations as recommended by the Health Ministry continue to be seeing more and more changes. more..

Factories face tough times in 2021

Jan 18 (ST) Companies in the investment zones are facing severe stress as a result of the pandemic that has resulted in increased expenses on testing for COVID-19, a tight order situation and staff turnout dropping by 25%. Factories are operating as usual but with a less number of staff due to certain reasons since some employees are reluctant to report to work amidst pressure from families while other companies more..

'Achieving US$ 5B target: Regulatory changes, bigger workforces needed'

Jan 18 (CT) SL Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) past Chairman Jeevan Gnanam stated that govt’s target of achieving US$ 5 bil in Information Technology (IT) / Business Process Management (BPM) exports, is achievable, provided regulatory changes and improvement in human resources are met. Speaking at a virtual conference, on economic transformation in COVID era, he said, “Currently we export US$ 1.7 bil, our workforce is around 85,000 in IT & 25,000 in BPM. more..

SEC welcomes stock surge, calls for informed decision-making

Jan 18 (EN) Securities & Exchange Commission has welcome the surge in the Colombo Stock Exchange making it one of the best performing markets in the world but called for informed decision making. “The SEC through its social media platforms has educated investors on different aspects of investing and the need to make an informed investment decision,” the regulator said. “With the view of protecting investors, SEC has highlighted the importance of following the official channels more..