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Triple cluster exceeds 49,000 patients

Jan 18 (FT) The COVID-19 clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons exceeded 49,000 patients with more than 1,400 persons testing positive for the virus over the weekend. Patients detected over the course of the past two days include 719 patients on Saturday and 763 patients yesterday. The 749 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday include 747 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster, more..

Updated announcement on isolation orders

Jan 18 (AD) National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) has issued an updated announcement on the isolation status of several areas. Accordingly, the following areas will be no longer under isolation with immediate effect: Kalutara Police Division: An area of 725 Kalutara South GN Division; 725 A Kalutara South GN Division; An area of 725 B Welapura GN Division; 727 Mahawatta GN Division; 727 B Kuda Heenatiyangala Division except for more..

IGP issues stern warning

Jan 18 (CT) IGP C.D. Wickramaratne instructed Senior Police Officers to strictly enforce the law against those who claim to be close associates of the IGP and influence investigations. It has come to light that incidents have been reported where people were attempting to influence investigations claiming that they were friends or relatives of the IGP. IGP instructed that no telephone calls in this regard should be entertained and that investigations should be conducted impartially. more..

Take-off Thursday

Jan 18 (FT) Key stakeholders are busy getting ready to reopen borders and resume international tourism in the country from Thursday, a move which if successful will give a big boost to the COVID-19-hit economy, industry sources said. Civil Aviation Authority of SL (CAASL) on Saturday notified all airlines of the resumption of commercial flights at BIA and the MIA from 21 January, subject to certain conditions more..

SL among best performing stock markets

Jan 18 (EN) SL stocks have risen the most in the world in 2021 after Venezuela in local currency and is just behind Vietnam and Bermuda in US dollar terms among stock markets tracked by Bloomberg. Venezuela stock market index was up 30.77% to 1.74 million by Jan 15, behind 14.18% for the Colombo’s All Share Price Index. Venezuala had soared becoming a top performer in past years. ASPI’s 3.91% gain on Jan 15 was the highest daily rise among markets tracked by Bloomberg. more..

COVID-19 death toll rises to 264

Jan 18 (FT) Eight COVID-19-related deaths were confirmed yesterday by health authorities, raising SL’s COVID-19 death toll to 264. Three of the eight deaths occurred yesterday. A resident of Colombo 8 tested positive for COVID-19 while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo and was transferred to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID). Individual died of trauma of blood poisoning and multi-organ dysfunction with COVID pneumonia yesterday. He was 83-years-old. more..

Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters welcome re-opening of schools

Jan 18 (CT) Anunayake of the Malwatte Chapter, Venerable Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Nayake Thera and the Secretary of the Asgiriya Chapter, Venerable Medagama Dhammananda Nayake Thera, said that making a decision not to let schools remain closed in the face of the Covid virus and taking steps to re-open them is very good and that it is apparent that support is being received from both parents & children. more..

Parliamentary select committee should be appointed: Ranil

Jan 18 (DM) Whilst highlighting that COVID-19 pandemic will not end this year, the vaccine distribution will be a time-consuming process, former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He called for the appointment of a special parliamentary select committee to monitor the developments regarding the process of obtaining effective vaccines. A Parliamentary select committee can monitor the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine and report to the House on its progress, he said during more..

India gifts Rs. 200 million worth radar spares to Sri Lanka Air Force

Jan 18 (AF) Handing-Over Ceremony of Air Defence equipment and INDRA Mk-II Radar Spares Equipment was conducted today (16) at SLAF Base Katunayake. The event was held under the auspices of the High Commissioner of India to SL, Gopal Baglay. Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana participated to accept the equipment on behalf of the SL Air Force. The event commenced with the arrival of the Chief Guest, HC of India at the Aeronautical Engineering Wing more..

TNA, allies call for outfit like IIIM in Syria to probe Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Island) Three Tamil political parties represented in Parliament backed by several other civil society groups, have urged the Geneva-based UNHRC to set up an evidence gathering mechanism, similar to the International Independent Investigatory Mechanism (IIIM), in relation to Syria, established as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly, with a strict time frame of 12 months duration to investigate SL war crimes. more..

Extension of retirement age is desirable but wider social security issues must be...

Jan 18 (FT) PM and Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Budget 2021 had made two proposals relating to old-age social security of people. One is for the introduction of a contributory pension scheme for the self-employed. The other is to extend the retirement age of workers covered under the Employees Provident Fund or EPF up to 60 years. Both are marginal improvements in the present system and from that point are desired. However, they are short of the actual more..

An opportunity for a reformist Constitution to take Sri Lanka forward

Jan 18 (FT) Barend ter Haar, Senior Research Associate writing in Clingendael says “obviously, if politicians believe that voters cannot be trusted with the truth, democracy is seriously at risk. For a democracy to function it is essential that a government respects the people and takes them seriously, not only those that have voted for that govt, but all people. Furthermore, in order to exercise their democratic rights properly, people should be informed as fully as possible. more..

ජනපති සමාව ලැබු ඌවතැන්නේ සුමන හිම

Minister proposes military training for Youth

Jan 18 (DM) Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara is to table a proposal in parliament to make way for military training for citizens above 18 years of age. He said the proposal was forwarded with a view to create a disciplined and law-abiding nation. He added that other countries who employed similar strategies have reaped benefits of such programmes. “We must provide military training for young men and women above 18 years of age. This is why I will table this proposal in parliament. more..

GRI initiates Phase 2 of $ 100 m project

Jan 18 (FT) Global Rubber Industries (GRI) has begun 2021 on a very positive note, breaking ground and laying the foundation stone for the second phase of a $ 100 million project with a new manufacturing facility in Badalgama, SL to expand its specialty tyre production capabilities to meet growing global demand for its products. This new factory is the next phase of GRI’s rapid expansion currently underway, including the new mixing facility and will total overall investment to $ 100 m. more..

Colombo HC serves indictments on Rajitha

Jan 18 (AD) The Colombo High Court has served indictments on former minister Rajitha Senaratne and 2 others for causing losses to the state when leasing out Modera Fisheries Harbour in 2014. Indictments were served on the defendants before Colombo High Court Judge Pradeep Hettiarachchi. After the indictments were served, court ordered the 3 defendants including MP Rajitha Senaratne to be released more..

Over 565,000 mt of paddy expected from Mahaweli lands this Maha Season

Jan 18 (DN) The national programme to guide the farming community towards the right farming systems was launched at Dehiattakandiya on January 14. The inaugural ceremony of the programme was held under the patronage of Minister Chamal Rajapaksa and State Minister Siripala Gamalath. The awareness programme titled Right path to right cultivation was held at Shalika Hall in Dehiattakandiya. Sri Lanka Mahaweli Authority organized more..

Ruwan sees people cursing President’s broken promises

Jan 18 (Island) Deputy Leader of UNP Ruwan Wijewardene says many people, including the Buddhist monks who worked to bring the current govt to power, are now critical of it. The UNP was planning to implement a comprehensive programme to unite all forces against the govt, Wijewardene said, speaking at a special meeting of the Gampaha District UNP activists at Sirikotha. He said the UNP had taken steps to formulate a comprehensive programme to win over all party members more..

Minister to propose military training for all Sri Lankans over 18

Jan 18 (EN) Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara will submit to parliament a proposal to provide military training for all citizens over 18 years of age, the minister said today. He said that the objective of his proposal is to use military training for personality development and to create a law abiding society. “Nobody should fear the idea of military training. It’s with military training that a man can learn to stand up straight and more..

Wartime FM calls for tangible measures to counter Geneva threat

Jan 18 (Island) Wartime Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama (2007-2010) said that those who had been tainted by their association with the LTTE were seeking the cooperation of external and internal elements to undermine the democratically elected govt. The former minister alleged that a coordinated campaign was underway ahead of the scheduled 46th session of the UNHRC. Bogollagama said that the recent high profile intervention made by the four-party Tamil National Alliance (TNA), more..

Gotabaya must stay the course on attracting foreign investment: Mangala

Jan 18 (EN) Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera is asking President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to stay the course on welcoming foreign investment into the Sri Lanka Port as that would be the only way it could be developed. Samaraweera says that as a true patriot he wants foreign investment in the country as Sri Lanka’s past experiences have shown that development and the introduction of new technology has taken place when there have been overseas partners. more..

State Minister Piyal Nishantha who took the Dhammika potion tests positive for Covid

Jan 18 (EN) State Minister Piyal Nishantha has become the fourth Parliamentarian to test positive for Covid 19 following a Rapid Antigen Test conducted on him. In a post on his official Facebook account, the state minister has asked everyone who had come in contact with him last few days to inform the health authorities and support them in order to find his contacts. Accordingly, ten of his staff members more..

FITIS hosts virtual conversation with telco leaders in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (FT) FITIS, the apex body of the ICT industry in SL has brought together all telco leaders in SL to a common platform to discuss and deliberate the ingredients of contactless economy, maintaining connectivity, keeping up with the growing digital demands in the new normal. Thelco leaders speaking at this session are Airtel Sri Lanka CEO Ashish Chandra, Dialog Axiata CEO Supun Weerasinghe, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Technology Officer Pradeep De Almeida, more..

New Constitution to Parliament before end of 2021: Prof. Peiris

Jan 18 (Island) Minister Prof G.L. Peiris revealed on Saturday at Getambe Rajopawanaramaya that a draft of the new Constitution would be presented to Parliament before the end of 2021. During a conversation with Venerable Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala Nayaka Thera, the Chief Incumbent of Rajaopwanaramaya on Saturday afternoon, Prof. Peiris said that adequate time would be given the stakeholders to discuss, comment and make suggestions to the draft of the Constitution. more..

Video: Sri Lanka ready to welcome 2,500 tourists per day

Jan 18 (AD) SL is reopening its airports for foreign tourists from Jan 21 with the expectation of bringing a maximum of 2,500 travelers to the country per day, according to Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga. He emphasized that every possible step has been taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from the tourists arriving to the community and vice versa. He said that the relevant health guidelines have been prepared more..

Decision to re-open schools in WP after two weeks: Minister

Jan 18 (DM) The decision to fully functioning of all schools in the Western Province (WP) will take place after two weeks, Minister G.L Pieris said. When speaking to the media today, the minister said the Govt hopes to bring the COVID-19 vaccine in the first week of February and would start giving it in the second week of the same month. "It is the main objective, and it is time to start all schools in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts after discussing with the relevant authorities," more..

CSE’s ASPI sets new all-time high – among the best performing indices globally

Jan 18 (AD) All Share Price Index (ASPI) of the Colombo Stock Exchange reached its all-time high index tally today closing the 10th trading day of 2021 on 7922.66 points. The previous highest points figure recorded was 7811.80 points on 14 Feb 2011. ASPI gained 188.09 points today recording the eighth highest points gain in CSE’s 35 year history. The S&P SL20 index which features the largest and most liquid stocks listed on the exchange also continued its upward momentum crossing more..

FSP sees something sinister in President attempting to simplify rules and regulations

Jan 18 (Island) The commission appointed by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa purportedly to simplify existing laws and regulations was his latest attempt to neutralise institutions that acted as a countervailing force against the state and private actors, Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said. Jayagoda said such action will have a devastating impact on the general public. more..

GL enters into self-isolation

Jan 18 (AD) The Minister of Education, Prof. G.L. Peiris, has entered into a period of self-isolation, sources say. This is after being identified as a contact of State Minister Piyal Nishantha who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Earlier today, State Minister Piyal Nishantha was confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus following a rapid antigen test. State Minister Nishantha is the 4th Member of the Parliament to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infection. more..

India and Sri Lanka bridge gaps

Jan 18 (CT) Thanks to the visits of the Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval last year and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar this month, India and Sri Lanka have bridged gaps and cemented ties based on mutual understanding on key bilateral issues. Understanding has emerged maritime security, economic development, Eastern Container Terminal (ECT), COVID-19 containment, tourism revival and even devolution of power to Provincial Councils. The latest and the most striking more..

Colombo unfazed by possible Western hostility at UNHRC session

Jan 18 (DE) Gotabaya Rajapaksa govt is unfazed by the possibility of Western nations taking a hostile stance at the March session of the UNHRC in Geneva. In sharp contrast to the past, SL Tamil leaders (mainly from the Tamil-majority Northern Province) have united and presented a joint charter of demands to the UN. For the first time, disparate and mutually antagonistic leaders like R. Sampanthan, C.V. Wigneswaran more..

20 arrested for illegal excavations which would have posed danger to Samanala dam

Jan 18 (Island) Twenty persons were arrested last week for illegally excavating calcite deposits at Pallebedda Koswetiya Kanda as their action could pose a danger even to the Samanalawewa dam by triggering massive earth tremors. The properties of calcite make it one of the most widely used minerals. It is used as a construction material, abrasive, agricultural soil treatment, construction aggregate, pigment, pharmaceutical and more. It has more uses than almost any other mineral. more..

Parliament to convene tomorrow after Covid testing clears MPs

Jan 18 (EN) Committee on Parliamentary business has decided to convene Parliament on Jan 19 and 20 at 10 a.m. following the COVID-19 cases reported from the House last week. A total of 943 PCR tests were conducted in the parliament out of which 32 tests were done on MPs while the rest consists of Parliament staff, affiliated offices and security including the police. While all the 32 MPs tested negative, he said 9 others tested positive for COVID-19 which includes 4 staff members, more..

Jonny Bairstow, Dan Lawrence seal emphatic seven-wicket win on final morning

JJan 18 (CI) England have won the first Test in Galle by seven wickets. In the end, it was straightforward enough. Resuming on the final morning with 36 more runs required to win, it took England just 9.2 overs to wrap up victory. Jonny Bairstow settled any nerves that may have been lingering by rocking on to the back foot and cutting Lasith Embuldeniya for four in the second over of the morning, while Dan Lawrence picked off more..

With Joe Root at the helm, have England fans ever had it so good?

Jan 18 (CI) England supporters have never had it so good. Yes, the lockdown is rubbish. And yes, as the pandemic continues to ravage the UK, you can almost imagine plague-ridden Londoners of the 1660s looking on and sighing: those millennials are having it tough. There's no disputing that life in general is pretty grim right now. But on the cricket pitch, at least, this England team is achieving things which their predecessors could scarcely imagine. Victory in Galle means more..

Female LG members to fight abuse at the hands of their male counterparts

Jan 18 (Island) Female local govt members are planning to sink their political differences and form a front against what they call unfair male domination in their councils. Addressing the media at Thalawatugoda on Saturday Maharagama Urban Council SLFP Member Chandrika de Zoysa said that their male counterparts did not allow them to speak at council meetings. “This is a problem not limited only to the Maharagama UC. Female members are treated likewise in all MCs, UCs and PSs. more..

First innings was an unacceptable batting performance: Arthur

JJan 18 (CB) After England's seven-wicket win in Galle to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, head coach Mickey Arthur termed SL's first innings outing as unacceptable. Sri Lanka had the toss advantage after opting to bat against an England side that had come to their shores with little preparation. However, bowled out for a meagre 135, SL were outplayed with both bat and ball, handing over that advantage to England quite timidly. more..

Joe Root thanks fan who waited in Sri Lanka for 10 months to watch Test series

Jan 18 (CT) England managed to trump Sri Lanka in a stunning fashion by 7 wickets in the first Test of the two-match series at Galle International Stadium to register their fourth consecutive Test win in the island nation. Apart from the outstanding performance shelled out by the visiting team both with the bat and the ball, the Test match was in the news for the dedication and love shown by a cricket enthusiast Rob Lewis towards the English players. Lewis waited for as many as ten months more..

Brokers welcome near-pure retail play in Friday’s Rs. 12.4 b turnover

Jan 18 (FT) Friday’s Rs. 12.4 billion turnover, the highest in a year, at the Colombo stock market is being credited by brokers to near-pure retail play, as investor sentiment gathered more momentum, spearheaded by high-net-worth individuals. Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) on Friday also saw the all-time highest intra-day gain (ASPI at 7,762) before closing up near 4%, or 291.34 points to 7,734. The benchmark index is now at the highest level since 2012 and Friday’s gain more..

Covid-19 forced cremation of Muslims discriminatory: HRW

Jan 18 (NRW) Sri Lanka’s requirement to cremate anyone who dies from Covid-19 goes against public health guidance and discriminates against the Muslim community, Human Rights Watch said today. The govt’s spurious argument that burial in accordance with Islamic tradition poses a public health risk stigmatizes, oppresses, and causes immense distress to a vulnerable minority. SL govt has claimed that burying people more..