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Great potential for expansion of rubber cultivation

Jan 20 (Island) There is a great potential for the expansion of rubber plantations in the country as the local production of the raw material is around 60 percent of the country’s requirement at present, State Minister Kanaka Herath has said. He made the observation during a field visit to monitor the progress of the Rubber Cultivation Expansion Programme being implemented in the Moneragala District. With the mega scale investments in the rubber production sector including more..

60% importers, vehicles sale owner shut down their businesses: VIAL

Jan 20 (DM) Vehicle Importers’ Association of Lanka (VIAL) said 60% of the vehicle sellers have closed down their business activities due to actions taken by the Govt to suspend vehicle imports for one and-a-half years. VIASL President Indika Merinchige said that the vehicle sale owners who were importing used, unregistered vehicles had to close down their businesses due to lack of vehicles. "Due to the lack of vehicles to sell, the prices of the vehicles with engine capacity less than 1,000cc more..

Are some exploiting President’s instructions to rape Kalabalaluwewa reserve?

Jan 20 (Island) With strict instructions from Prez Rajapaksa, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) called for a report on the destruction of the Kalabalaluwewa reserve. Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has drawn the attention of the media regarding the bulldozing of the Kalabalaluwewa reserve and the felling of trees there that are of vital importance for both medicinal and economic purposes. more..

Banks ordered to delay dividends, profit repatriation, curb ads, travel

Jan 20 (EN) Banks in Sri Lanka have been ordered to delay dividends and foreign banks profit to halt profit repatriation until the 2020 accounts have been audited, and cut some spending in a bid to conserve capital and liquidity. Banks have also been asked as far as possible to cut spending on advertising, training, business promotions, gift schemes, entertainment, sponsorship and traveling, until June 2021 and be careful in capital expenditure. “Every licensed commercial bank incorporated more..

Video: Two arrested with 1,000 narcotic pills

Jan 20 (AD) Two individuals have been arrested at the Kothalawalapura area in Mount Lavinia, with a stock of narcotic pills. The arrest has been made at around 9.40 pm last night (19) during a raid based on a tip-off received by the officers of the Mt. Lavinia Divisional Crime Investigation Unit. Reportedly, the officials have recovered 1,000 narcotic pills on the suspects. The arrested suspects are two 26-year-olds residing in the Ratmalana area, Police said. They will be produced before more..

'No legal action taken against Hizbullah'

Jan 20 (CT) The Govt has failed to initiate any legal action against former Governor of the Eastern Province, M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, over various illegal activities that have taken place during the construction of the Batticaloa Campus owned by him, SJB MP Dr. Kavinda Jayawardena stressed. He said according to facts revealed so far and the findings of the Parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee that investigated matters related to more..

GoSL mulls possibility to set up plants

Jan 20 (CT) SL’s annual requirement of phosphate fertilizer, for both rice and plantations cultivation is 200,000 MT, State-owned Phosphate Ltd., General Manager (GM) H.R.M.D. Bandara said. Of this quantity, 50,000 MT are annually applied/used for plantations led by coconut and the balance (150,000 MT) for rice cultivation. While what is used for coconut plantations is rock phosphate, what is however required for rice cultivation is single super phosphates, a derivative of rock phosphate. more..

Empty Ukrainian SkyUP Aircraft to the rescue

Jan 20 (CT) An empty Ukrainian SkyUP Airlines aircraft had arrived yesterday to fly back around 170 Ukrainian tourists who are irritated over the new health guidelines set by Sri Lanka Tourism. The health guidelines suggest 3 PCR tests in addition to the one they obtain prior to their departure in Ukraine. They claimed it is too much for 10 days. As of now there are 1,480 Ukrainians in the country touring around. Udayanga Weeratunga, who organised many of the tours for Ukrainians more..

We didn’t sell national resources: Kabir

Jan 20 (CT) SJB MP Kabir Hashim, said the Good Governance Govt did not sell or auction any national resources, instead, they were drowning in debt taken by the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Govt. He said this in response to a question raised by a journalist regarding the claims of the Govt’s representatives, that it is the UNF Govt which sold many national resources. “Hambantota Port was supposed to be re-constructed more..

Harin wears a black Satakaya in Parliament

Jan 20 (DM) SJB MP Harin Fernando today announced that he will wear a black Shawl (Sataka) against the jailing of former MP Ranjan Ramanayake who was convicted for Contempt of Court. “I will be wearing a black sataka to protest against the jailing of MP Ramanayake,” he said while putting the sataka on in Parliament today. “Mr. Ramanayake was sent to jail as he made bombshell speeches in Parliament and the Govt wanted to silence the MP,” Mr. Fernando said. more..

Udayanga accompanies Ukrainian tour group to Polonnaruwa

Jan 20 (Island) Former SL ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga and 45 Ukrainian tourists visited a number of Buddhist sites in Polonnaruwa yesterday. The group was greeted by officers of the Central Cultural Fund, and were taken on a guided tour of the place. The Army and the police had been deployed to provide security to the Ukrainians. After completing the Polonnaruwa tour, they left for Matale. The Army, police and CCF officials were in protective gear in view of the pandemic. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

UNder Cut

Jan 21 (CT) Sri Lanka is known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean and still remains a paradise despite its violent past. During the separatist war when the country was teeming with Int'l Non Governmental Organisations (INGO), the general conception was that getting an appointment in Sri Lanka was akin to being rewarded when compared to the arid plains of Afghanistan or Africa. War was after all the business of the day! In the early hours of 18 Sept 1999 the Black Tiger women’s corps of the LTTE more..

Let’s go for 13 Plus

Jan 21 (DM) The number 13 is thought by some to be unlucky. Some even believe it is associated with evil. The number 13 is associated with SL politics and some may say entrenched in it or even use the word inextricable. We’ve had the 13th Amendment and seven more thereafter but stuck with it still applies. Nothing lasts forever and one day we will move on. Not yet, obviously. Not in the foreseeable future? Well, who can tell? Were we unlucky? For some, the 13th was a stroke of luck. more..

Child protection policies in the business sector: Do they help?

Jan 21 (Roar) Oftentimes, children are the most vulnerable among us. This is true anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, this means that they are often either neglected or exposed to violence in various forms. According to global studies, over 1 billion children have suffered physical, sexual or emotional violence or neglect at some point in their lives. In addition to this, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed significantly to the increase more..

Hope the vaccine rollout, will reel-in the deadly virus

Jan 21 (DM) Amid the relentless spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, a tiny glimmer of hope for us in SL in combatting this deadly virus is the news that vaccines are likely to arrive in the country towards the end of February with inoculations to begin soon thereafter. Report published in a newspaper said some 20 million doses would be distributed by India to neighbouring countries in the next two weeks but it was not clear at this stage whether they would be given to Sri Lanka free of charge or more..

Is it really possible...?

Jan 21 (CT) Our motherland, Sri Lanka, is just another country and the most intelligent use of our limited land and the nature given resources shall decide how our future shall be. As man is greedy and ambitious by nature, he may trespass and exploit for his own personal benefit unless there are rules and regulations in place. Those are limitations imposed in the interest of society and what is expected of the Government which is there to ensure that all are treated equally. more..

Are tea workers still not at the tea party?

Jan 21 (DM) Tea plantation workers in SL have long been demanding a salary hike to make their income on par with labourers of other sectors, but for years their call has always gone unheard. The demand by the estate workers is to increase their daily minimum wage to Rs. 1,000. But after a series of discussions, the meeting held on Jan 15 between Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and the Chairmen of the country’s more..

Buy it in Singapore

Jan 21 (ST) Asitha had a technical problem with the display of his laptop computer. As he is from Maharagama, he knew that he must take it to a place like Liberty Plaza or Unity Plaza in Colombo for repairs. If he was from outside the Western Province, then the repair work may not be as easy as in Colombo. Asitha took it to one of the technicians he knew in Colombo, and I too joined him. The technician opened the device, carried out testing for some time. Then he told Asitha: more..

Editorial: Virus and moral failure

Jan 21 (Island) The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned, at a recent WHO Executive Board meeting, adding that more than 39 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in about 49 high-income countries while only 25 doses have been administered in one lowest-income country. We believe that the catastrophic moral failure has already set in. more..

Vajira Abeywardena

Coastal reservoirs: A paradigm shift in development of water resources

Jan 21 (Island) Today, the shortage of freshwater is a worldwide problem and Sri Lanka is no exception. According to the National Water Supply & Drainage Board, 8.4% of the population still have no access to safe drinking water. The situation will worsen further with the increase in population and migration of the rural population to urban areas—another salient demographic change. Agriculture is also facing a grave situation in spite of the availability of several water supply sources such as more..

England look to sweep SL as India await

Jan 21 (AFP) Joe Root's England will look to sweep SL in the 2nd and final Test, starting on Friday, as they prepare to face an India side buoyed by their sensational victory in Australia. England, who resumed a tour that was halted in March by the coronavirus pandemic, won the first Test in Galle by seven wickets and start a four-Test series in India on Feb 5. India are riding high after Tuesday's stunning win in Brisbane, which snapped Australia's 32-year unbeaten streak at Gabba & clinched series more..

Malinga retires from franchise cricket

Jan 21 (CB) Lasith Malinga has retired from franchise cricket, his IPL team Mumbai Indians revealed on Wednesday. Sri Lankan speedster informed his decision to the Mumbai Indians management earlier this month, making himself unavailable for the upcoming season and wasn't retained in the squad. Malinga has been a part for Mumbai Indians since the second season of IPL, missing only two editions - 2018 and 2020. more..

Alaris launches new manufacturing plant

Jan 21 (TM) Alaris Lanka announced that it is constructing an ACE healthcare manufacturing plant in Horana which will become operational within the next four months. With an investment of $ 4 billion, the plant will encourage healthcare products to be manufactured locally, thereby preventing foreign exchange outflows from the country as healthcare products are mostly imported from various countries. Alaris Lanka Managing Director Tharanga Weerawardane said that the decision to more..

Sanga to join RR as Director of Cricket

Jan 21 (CT) Rajasthan Royals (RR) has roped in former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara as its Director of Cricket for the IPL 2021. On a day Royals decided to part ways with Steve Smith as captain and named Sanju Samson as the new skipper, team owner Manoj Badale confirmed that Sangakkara - who is the head of the MCC - will take over as the new Team Director. “Sanju is at the start of his journey as a leader - and Kumar Sangakkara is joining as a Director of Cricket. more..

Harin raises alarm over Govt proposed JV with Adani Group for ECT

Jan 21 (FT) SJB MP Harin Fernando expressed serious concerns on the Govt’s proposed joint venture with India’s Adani Group to operate the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port, insisting that the terms and conditions were still unclear. Describing the joint venture as “the beginning of the end,” Fernando warned that the move would definitely hamper the growth of the Colombo Port. more..

Military training for civilians: Can conscription establish a disciplined society?

Jan 21 (DM) Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retired) Sarath Weerasekara recently proposed in Parliament that youth above 18 years should be conscripted into military service. One of the main objectives is to instill discipline among civilians and encourage leadership qualities. He said that nobody should fear about a military training and that it is an attempt to take a step closer towards establishing a law-abiding nation. However the duration of training, intensity & other criteria are yet to be known. more..

SLAITO and One Industry One Voice welcome reopening of SL for tourism

Jan 21 (FT) The SL Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) together with its One Industry One Voice partners yesterday said they welcomed and were elated about the reopening of Sri Lanka for international tourists. “The much-awaited important guidelines being finalised and accepted is a great move to help our industry. We are confident that the new normal bio bubble tourism could be marketed via the foreign tour operators to revive the industry,” they said in a statement more..

'Felt like I was playing against Stuart Broad in England'

Jan 21 (CI) 11 of Stuart Broad's 17 overs in the second innings in Galle were maidens. Angelo Mathews, who faced 37 Broad deliveries in that innings, managed only one scoring shot against him. At times, Mathews said, it felt like he was facing Broad in England. On a pitch that has historically been unkind to quicks, Broad was not only phenomenally accurate, he also attacked the stumps more than he might at home, more..

Kusal Mendis dropped by Sri Lanka, Dimuth Karunaratne ruled out with injury

Jan 21 (CI) Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis will not play for Sri Lanka in the second Test against England, after both were released from the squad and its biosecure bubble, along with three other players. Karunaratne and Mendis have been let go for different reasons. Karunaratne, the regular Test captain, has not sufficiently recovered from a finger fracture suffered on the tour of South Africa, where he sustained a blow during his second-innings hundred at the Wanderers more..

GRI to expand tyre production with new manufacturing facility

Jan 21 (TM) Local tyre manufacturer GRI announced that it recently laid the foundation stone for the second phase of a $ 100 million project, with a new manufacturing facility in Badalgama, Sri Lanka to expand its specialty tyre production capabilities to meet the growing global demand for its products. In Jan 2018, GRI inaugurated a world-class specialty tyre manufacturing facility with an investment of more than $ 40 million. The new factory is an expansion of this facility, and more..

Central Bank allows banks to pay dividends

Jan 21 (FT) Central Bank in its latest circular has reversed a decision given in May last year and allowed licensed commercial and specialised banks to pay dividends post-finalisation of annual accounts, which typically takes place around February. In May 2020, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka restricted the payment of cash dividends by banks until December 2020 due to the initial concerns of liquidity and more..

2020 exports close above revised target

Jan 21 (TM) Amid severe impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, SL’s merchandise exports remained at $ 9.9 billion in 2020, which is a 104% achievement from the revised forecast of $ 9.5 b, according to the EDB. EDB set an initial target of $ 13.5 b for the merchandise export sectors in early 2020. Nevertheless, the EDB noted that it remained challenging, requiring not only strong efforts from local enterprises, but also the recovery of global demand amid complicated Covid-19 situation. more..

Kamala and Rohini: The Indo-Lankan combo in the US Vice President’s Office

Jan 21 (NIA) Kamala Devi Harris, born to a Jamaican Economist and an Indian Tamil cancer researcher, will make history when she takes the oath of office on Wednesday, becoming the first woman and first black and South Asian American to serve as US vice-president. Harris’ Domestic Policy Advisor is Rohini Kosoglu, daughter of a medical doctor of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. This is the first Indo-Lankan-American combo in the history of the White House. more..

Rs. 1.5 bn squandered on building rent: Ex-minister blamed for deal, now in COPA

Jan 21 (Island) The govt hadn’t conducted a proper investigation into the squandering of over Rs 1.5 bn to rent the DPJ Towers owned by Upali Jayasinghe at No 288, Rajagiriya, Kotte, in early 2016 though the transaction received media exposure and a complaint was lodged with the CIABOC. This was revealed at the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) session chaired by MP Prof. Tissa Vitharana in Parliament. more..

Vehicle registration in agriculture sector on the rise

Jan 21 (CT) SL’s total vehicle registrations recorded 4,407 units in Dec 2020 up from 2,868 units in November, a Colombo based JB Securities stated its monthly vehicle registrations review. Industry sources confirm to JB Securities that this is not an indication of an uptick in sales but due to the shifting of registrations from the month of November to December. Registrar of Motor Vehicles was closed during a period in November on account of social distancing measures taken due to Covid-19. more..

Srilankan Airlines says health protocols being followed after pilot tests positive

Jan 21 (DM) Sri Lankan Airlines said that it was in touch with health authorities after a meeting had been held on Monday between the senior management and several pilots after which it was learnt that one pilot who had attended was carrying the COVID-19 virus. The meeting held on Jan 18, had taken place with Chairman Ashok Pathirage and senior Airline officials along with at least 40 pilots. It is learnt that one pilot who had attended the meeting had just returned from Melbourne and more..

Total COVID-19 patient count exceeds 55,000

Jan 21 (FT) The total number of COVID-19 positive persons in SL crossed 55,000 with the detection of 770 patients yesterday. 768 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster tested positive for the virus yesterday, bringing the triple clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons to 51,329 patients. In addition to the triple clusters, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts and 651 persons linked to more..

New Horana prison 10 times Welikada’s size

Jan 21 (TM) The proposed prison complex to be built in Horana will be 10 times the size of the Welikada Prison Complex, according to State Minister Lohan Ratwatte. He made these comments yesterday on a visit with Minister of Justice M.U.M. Ali Sabry PC to the proposed 250-acre land in Horana where a new prison complex is to be established. Ratwatte stated that this new complex would aid in reducing congestion among detainees within prisons. more..