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Priority lending for MSMEs: CB

Jan 20 (FT) Joining the effort to propel Sri Lanka to 6% growth in 2021 the Central Bank has decided to keep policy rates unchanged and will introduce priority sector lending targets for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to propel rapid economic expansion, top officials said. Taking advantage of the steep decline in interest rates engineered by five policy rate changes in 2020 and other measures, Central Bank said more..

Dribblers from the City of Ruins

Jan 20 (ST) A video clip circulating in the social media of a young girl dribbling and juggling the football, has gone viral. Digging deep it was identified that the girl was Sasindi Nimsara, a 12-year-old who represents Bandiwewa Maha Vidyalaya in Polonnaruwa. But going more deep, it was revealed that Sasindi was a student of Polonnaruwa Girls’ Football Academy (PGFA), run by its Head Coach Pubudu Saman Paranagama, who also happens to be the football coach more..

Akalanka: A youth who balanced sports and education to perfection

Jan 20 (CT) Multitasking by any means is not a walk in the park. Writing youre A/L exam away from home while participating at the Asian Games adds pressure, and not everyone is able to strike a balance of that sort, but one determined teenager knew he could, and achieved it against all odds. Akalanka Peiris went into history as the first student to sit the A/L exam outside the country. The opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games was held on 18 Aug at Gelora Kamo Stadium in Jakarta. more..

SJB MP reveals how Aussie-Lanka combine gypped Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt

Jan 20 (Island) A company that had undertaken to manage the Embiliptiya Paper Mill had mortgaged the facility and its properties to a private bank and fled the country to Australia with the proceeds, Parliament was told yesterday. A company by the name of Auslanka had been formed by businessmen from Sri Lanka and Australia and won the management contract from the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt, in 2011, on a 30-yr lease, more..

Speaker participates at CSPOC

Jan 20 (DN) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, participated at the virtual session of the Standing Committee Meeting of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) Yesterday. He participated in this meeting as the representative for Asia Region. It was the 25th conference of the Standing Committee Meeting of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth. Dhammika Dasanayake, Secy General of Parliament more..

Spotlight on Dickwella after Galle defeat

Jan 20 (Island) Sri Lanka will have a couple of days to regroup in Galle ahead of the second Test match on Friday at the same venue and the performances of certain players will come under the spotlight. The hosts lost the opening Test match by seven wickets on the final morning as England enjoy their excellent record in SL. England teams of good old days barely lasted three days in the scorching heat of Galle, but they have reversed the trend in recent times. In a row, England have now won five Tests in SL. more..

No definite negotiations with IMF: CBSL Governor

Jan 20 (TM) While discussions between the Central Bank of SL (CBSL) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continue on various technical matters, there has not been a definite series of negotiations between the Central Bank, the Treasury, and the IMF with regard to Sri Lanka’s request for a Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), according to the CB Governor. CBSL Governor Prof. W.D. Lakshman disclosed this more..

Standard Chartered donates to Foundation of Goodness

Jan 20 (CT) Standard Chartered SL announced the donation of Rs. 3,680,000 (USD 20,000) to Foundation of Goodness (FoG) to improve the digital literacy skills of students at their centres in rural villages. The donation will help equip the centres with upgraded IT infrastructure, benefiting over 2,500 students in the Northern, Eastern & Southern provinces. “SL saw a sudden switch in the education system from physical to virtual due to the pandemic driven nation-wide lockdown, proving more..

Kohli, Starc and Jadeja: Udana picks his favourite batsman, bowler and all-rounder

Jan 20 (ANI) SL pacer Isuru Udana said that India skipper Virat Kohli is the best batsman in white-ball cricket while admitting he likes Ravindra Jadeja as an all-rounder. "I think the best batsman in white-ball cricket is Virat Kohli, best bower I'll go for Mitchell Starc and I like Ravindra Jadeja an all-rounder," Udana said. Last month, Kohli was named the ICC Male Cricketer of the Decade and the ICC Men's ODI Cricketer of the Decade. Udana, who will be turning up as Icon Player for Bangla Tigers more..

Decision on $ 1.5 billion China swap within fortnight

Jan 20 (FT) The decision on a $ 1.5 billion swap with the People’s Bank of China will be notified within the next week or two, Central Bank officials said, while talks for a $ 1 billion swap with the Reserve Bank of India were also proceeding. Negotiations with the People’s Bank of China have reached the final stage with a decision already made by China Central Bank. The decision is expected to be conveyed to the SL Central Bank more..

Wigneswaran alleges Govt trying to deceive UNHRC

Jan 20 (Island) Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kutani (TMTK) leader C.V. Wigneswaran, MP, alleged that the govt was making a fresh bid to deceive the Genava-based UNHRC by appointing another Commission of Inquiry. Former Justice Wigneswaran, who served as the Chief Minister of the Northern Province during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure as the President, emphasised that there was absolutely no use in appointing a CoI now. The 46th Geneva sessions are scheduled for Feb-March 2021. more..

Lions Club of Sri J'pura Kotte together with the 54 Division – SL Army plant trees

Jan 20 (Island) The worth of trees will never diminish, its significance continues to exceed as a result of global warming and adverse climate change taking place in today’s world. Large scale destruction of fauna and flora has led to environmental threats disrupting the forest coverage, endangered species and depriving the future generations of cleaner air (Oxygen)to breatheo. As a means of supporting the cause of reforestation, the Lions Club of Sri J'pura Kotte (District 306 C1) more..

Environmentalist accuses govt of resorting to trickery to hand over 800,000 acres to...

Jan 20 (Island) Prez Rajapaksa’s Gama Samaga Pilisandara is a psychological operation to counter people’s resistance to a move to hand over chena and grasslands to large companies, environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said. Chamikara claimed that the govt had earmarked 800,000 acres of land to be given to corporations, and those lands would mainly consist of forests and areas used for chena cultivations more..

Dr. Padeniya’s Contempt of Court case deferred

Jan 20 (CT) Court of Appeal, yesterday, deferred further hearing of the petition filed against the President of the GMOA Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya to 3 March. The GMOA Head has been charged with criticism of the Government, while making aspersions on certain cases. The petition filed by two civil society activists was heard before a two-Judge Bench of the Court of Appeal consisting of its President Justice Arjuna Obeysekara and Justice Mayadunne Corea. more..

Sri Lanka’s Covid-19 death toll hits 273

Jan 20 (AD) SL has confirmed three new Covid-19 related deaths today (19). Following the new development, total lives in the country claimed by the coronavirus outbreak reached 273. The first victim is a 68-year-old man who was residing in Aranayake area. He was transferred from Mawanella Base Hospital to A'pura Teaching Hospital after testing positive for the virus. He was suffering from an infection in the respiratory system caused by Covid-19 pneumonia, more..

Triple clusters exceed 50,000 patients

Jan 20 (FT) The triple clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons yesterday crossed the 50,000 patient count with the detection of 669 COVID-19 patients. Triple clusters currently stand at 50,561 patients, three months since the emergence of the Divulapitiya cluster on 4 October. The patients detected yesterday include 660 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster and nine overseas arrivals. more..

India awaits regulatory clearance from SL to supply COVID-19 vaccine

Jan 20 (FT) Sri Lanka is not among the neighbouring and key partner countries to which India today commenced the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, as India is awaiting confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances from Sri Lanka. According to a statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs, the country will supply vaccines manufactured in India to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles starting today. more..

Respect religious beliefs of COVID victims: US envoy

Jan 20 (DM) While saying that US stand with all families who have lost loved ones to this Covid-19 pandemic, US Ambassador to SL Alaina B. Teplitz said their rights and dignity should be respected by permitting the observance of their faith in accordance with international public health guidelines. “Ratified by Sri Lanka in 1955, UDHR Article 18 states that everyone has the right to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. more..

PHIs warn of critical time in coming weeks in terms of Covid-19

Jan 20 (DM) While blaming the Health Ministry officials providing false picture about Covid-19 situation to the politicians, the Public Health Inspectors (PHI) Union warned of a considerable spike in Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks. Union's Chairman Upul Rohana said the Govt did not heed to warnings when the PHIs urged the Govt to restrict movement or lock-down high-risk areas during the festive season. more..

568 stranded Lankan migrant workers repatriated from Oman

Jan 20 (DE) Over 500 SL migrant workers stranded in Oman, included over 300 who had overstayed their visas were repatriated to Colombo in two batches on Thursday (14) and Friday (15). Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman said the 568 stranded Sri Lankans were repatriated by the embassy in collaboration with the President Secretariat and the Foreign Ministry of SL, and was facilitated by SriLankan airlines, which brought home the stranded workers in two batches. more..

Covid-19 patient escapes from Punanai Treatment Centre

Jan 20 (FT) A private sector-led council has been formed to champion multi-faceted startups and SMEs in the country as a means enhance their contribution to socio-economic growth. Set up under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Startups aims to address the key needs and challenges of SMEs and startups through allocation of a range of easily accessible opportunities, including access to over 40 int'l markets for various partnerships. more..

'Sugar tax reduction profited businessmen linked to govt while losses to state Rs.10 b'

Jan 20 (FT) The reduction of the Special Commodity Levy on sugar from Rs. 50 per kilo in May last year to 25 cents in October has led to losses of over Rs. 10 billion, while businessmen closely linked to the Govt have made billions in profits, SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne alleged. He said the gaja mithuru group of this Govt, along with the help of heads of state operations loyal to them have been involved in this scandal. more..

Securitisation and militarisation in Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (FT) Militarisation of civilian space began during the first Rajapaksa regime. Yet, it didn’t cause public concern, except amongst certain civil society organisations and communities in the north and east that were directly affected by it. Contrary to criticism levelled by the Rajapaksa regime against the Yahapalanaya regime, Yahapalanaya did not initiate de-militarisation. At most, post-2015, there was a temporary partial freezing of militarisation, which resumed with vigour during the second more..

Financial turnaround, with Indian assistance

Jan 20 (FT) Proposal to handover East Container Terminal to the Indian company Adani raised protests among Port Trade Unions and also in and out of Parliament. ECT is not a new subject, which dragged on for over five years, but the protests are a new development. Meanwhile, the country is facing serious financial issues with loans of billions of dollars needing settlement during every year. Govt has boasted the ability to repay loans, but is expecting financial support from friendly more..

කොවිඩ් ආසාදිතයින්ට නි⁣වසේ නිරෝධායනයට...

All should get opportunities equally: Minister Devananda

Jan 20 (DN) Minister Douglas Devananda said that the people in the Trincomalee District should receive dividends of the development projects and thousands of jobs that are being provided under the leadership of Prez Rajapaksa. He was speaking at the Local Industries Promotion Committee Progress Review Meeting at Trincomalee Secretariat Auditorium recently. State Ministers Kanchana Wijsekara, Prasanna Ranaweera District Development Council Chairman, more..

PCoI report to be handed over to Prez on Jan 31

Jan 20 (DM) Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks will submit its final report to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Jan 31, sources from the Commission said. Currently, the Commission is trying to obtain evidence from former CID Director Shani Abeysekara and due to his health condition the Commission could not obtain evidence so far. Sources from the Commission said that the PCOI is trying to obtain evidence from the former CID Director in the near future. more..

Thousands in Sri Lanka drink miracle COVID potion, minister ill

Jan 20 (AJ) A self-styled SL holy man’s supposed miracle potion to prevent COVID-19 has turned sour after a minister who publicly drank it was hospitalised with the virus. Thousands defied public gathering restrictions to swamp a village in central SL last month to get the syrup made by Dhammika Bandara. Minister Piyal Nishantha de Silva was among several politicians who consumed the concoction, but parliamentary officials more..

Kiriella Div. Secy arrested for sexual harassment on female officer

Jan 20 (DM) Kiriella Divisional Secretary has been arrested by the Children and Women's Bureau for sexually harassing a female officer attached to the Kiriella Divisional Secretariat, police said. The regional Child Protection Officer of the NCPA has lodged a complaint with the Kiriella Police on January 15 that she was sexually harassed by the Divisional Secretary. Accordingly, the Divisional Child and Women's Bureau conducted an investigation under the instruction of more..

Video: Escaped Covid-19 patient found from Eheliyagoda

Jan 20 (AD) The Covid-19 infected patient, who escaped from the Punanai Treatment Centre while receiving medical care, has been located from the area of Pelpitiya in Eheliyagoda, says the Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana. The 43-year-old had fled at around 7.30 pm last night. He was identified as Shelton Premaratne, a resident of Eheliyagoda area. The man in question is an employee of a bakery in Vihara Mawatha, Meethotamulla in Kolonnawa. more..

Biden-Harris: What’s in store for Sri Lanka?

Jan 20 (EN) If all goes well – not a small ‘if’, given recent events – Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the US later this evening, SL time. Outgoing President Donald Trump is boycotting the inauguration, and words like “civil war” are being thrown around freely, but – CNN’s premature frenzy notwithstanding – the transition should be mostly smooth. Mostly. In a few hours’ time, Biden will be conferred more..

Video: Barrel Sanka arrested

Jan 20 (AD) The notorious underworld criminal figure Prabath Madusanka alias Barrel Sanka has been arrested by the Peliyagoda Police. He has been arrested last evening at the Gemunu Mawatha in Peliyagoda. Reportedly, a stash of 4 grams and 130 milligrams of heroin has been found on him at the time of the arrest. The arrested underworld figure is a 26-yr-old resident of Miriswatta, Peliyagoda, and is accused of involvement in a number of crimes, including armed intimidation, drug trafficking, more..

Police to arrest Dhammika Bandara for attacking doctor

Jan 20 (DM) Police have launched an investigation to arrest local anti-COVID-19 syrup manufacturer Dhammika Bandara for allegedly assaulting a doctor. A doctor has lodged a complaint with the Peradeniya Police station that Dhammika Bandara had assaulted him at his home in Kegalle. The doctor who works at the Peradeniya Hospital went to see Dhammika Bandara at his residence about a week ago. It is alleged that Bandara and his aides have assaulted the doctor and the others more..

AKD glad to see MP who drank Dhammika Peniya test positive for COVID-19

Jan 20 (EN) A MP who publicly endorsed Dhammika Perera’s miracle cure contracting COVID-19 is the only way to shatter the government-backed myths about its supposed healing properties, opposition MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. Though he does not wish the disease on anyone, Dissanayake told parliament today, he was happy to see someone who consumed the ayurvedic conction – the so called Dhammika Peniya - more..

Sri Lanka banks ordered not to recover bad loans from paddy millers

Jan 20 (EN) SL has ordered commercial and specialized banks to halt bad loan recoveries from paddy millers and not to start new recovery action for the next six months. The recovery suspension came amid govt initiatives to support the SME Paddy millers in upcoming harvesting seasons. If a bank has already given notice under Recovery of Loans by Banks (Special Provisions) Act of 1990, the Mortgage Act of 1949 or the Finance Leasing Act of 2000, banks have to suspend recovery more..

'Ten Health Ministry staffers contract COVID-19: Functions at Ministry not hampered'

Jan 20 (DM) While saying ten COVID-19 patients have been found from the Ministry of Health, Deputy Director General of Health Services (DDGHS) Dr. Hemantha Herath said the functions at the Ministry have not been hampered, except at the unit where majority of the cases was found. Speaking to the media, he said all the precautionary steps are being taken to contain the virus and added there was no fear at present that the virus could spread to others in the Ministry. more..

Military training for Youth, explained

Jan 20 (DM) As news broke out about Public Security Minister (Rtd) Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara’s proposal for military training for Sri Lankan youth; social media was abuzz with those approving the proposal and those voicing strong objections. He said he would table a proposal in Parliament to make way for military training for citizens above 18 years of age to build a disciplined and law-abiding nation. more..

Further hearing of Sirisena’s case postponed

Jan 20 (CT) The Supreme Court (SC), yesterday, deferred further hearing of the petition filed against former President and SLPP MP Maithripala Sirisena, on granting a presidential pardon to convict Jude Shramantha Jayamaha, to 10 June. Further hearing was deferred to the said date due to the SLPP MP not being present in Court. Jayamaha had been convicted over the Royal Park murder case. The case was heard by a 3-Judge Bench of the SC comprising Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, more..

Ex-Swarnamahal Financial Services directors file anticipatory bail applications

Jan 20 (AD) Former Directors of Swarnamahal Financial Services PLC., have filed anticipatory bail applications seeking the prevention of their arrests. The relevant anticipatory bail applications were lodged before Colombo Chief Magistrate Mohamed Mihal today. The chief magistrate has accordingly ordered to take up the matter tomorrow. The anticipatory bail applications were submitted by Nalaka Edirisinghe, Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Anjalee Edirisinghe and Asanka Edirisinghe, more..

Sri Lanka pushing PayPal to do inward payments for over 8 years: CB official

Jan 20 (EN) Sri Lanka has been trying to persuade PayPal, an online payment platform to enable inward remittances for over eight years with no success, the CB said, though it has not given up yet. “For the last 8 to 9 years we are working with them to get this receiving facility to SL,” Dharmasiri Kumaratunge, Director of Payments and Settlements at CB said. “We wrote to the Singapore entity and our embassy to connect with more..