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Muslims reluctant to go to hospital: Rishad

Jan 21 (DM) Muslims have become reluctant to go to hospital as they are being cremated if they succumb to COVID-19, MP Rishad Bathiudeen told Parliament today. "Muslims are scared to go to hospital as they are afraid that they will be cremated if they succumb to COVID-19," Mr. Bathiudeen said. "Some Govt MPs are misinterpreting the holy Quran saying it has not forbidden cremation. One has to read the Quran in an honest manner to understand the truth," he added. more..

Airports re-open for tourists today

Jan 21 (DN) Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake (BIA) will turn into a flurry of activity today after nine months with the arrival of 14 aircraft from an several destinations in Asian and Gulf Nations. There are a total of 433 passengers billed to arrive in Colombo today. There will be both passenger and cargo flights which will be landing at Katunayake and the airlines which will be flying into Colombo will include more..

SL’s coronavirus death toll hikes to 274

Jan 21 (AD) Another individual has fallen victim to the deadly novel coronavirus today (20), the Director-General of Health Services confirmed. The deceased is a 53-year-old female residing in the Mallawagedara area in Negombo. Upon being diagnosed as a COVID-19 patient, she had been transferred from the Negombo District Hospital to the IDH in Angoda. However, she had succumbed to the disease today. The cause of her death has been determined as acute diabetes and more..

Cardinal says he cannot be silenced

Jan 21 (Island) Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said that destruction of public property couldn’t be condoned under any circumstances. Taking part in the annual celebrations at the St. Sebastian’s church, Katuwapitiya, the scene of Easter Sunday carnage, two years ago, the Cardinal said he couldn’t be silenced by any power. Declaring that St. Sebastian hadn’t been scared of death, the Archbishop said that he, too, was not scared of death. more..

Judiciary should be free from other branches of govt & pvt and partisan interests: AG

Jan 21 (Island) Declaring that courts must necessarily occupy a high position of power, privilege and independence in the life of a nation, Attorney General Dappula De Livera, PC, yesterday emphasised that judges in the exercise of judicial functions should be immune from external control and influence and intimidation. AG said so at the ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court to welcome Justice Dileep Nawaz, more..

Six failed finance companies held Rs. 62 billion in deposits

Jan 21 (FT) Nearly Rs. 62 billion had been deposited in six failed finance companies in the past 6 years, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Parliament. 256,306 customers had deposited money totaling Rs. 61.79 billion between 2015 and Aug 2020. The failed finance companies are Central Investment & Finance (previously Central Investment & Finance), Standard Credit Finance, TKS Finance, The Finance Company, ETI Finance, and Swarnamahal Financial Services. more..

'Politicians will not be prioritized'

Jan 21 (DM) Politicians will not receive any special priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccines once it arrives here but Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi is likely to get the jab in the first lot, under healthcare workers, senior official from the Health Ministry said. Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa are likely to receive the jab under the elderly group which is the third list of people allocated to receive the vaccines while all other politicians will be vaccinated according to more..

NMRA’s vaccine verdict soon

Jan 21 (TM) The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India was submitted to the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) for clearance, to be used in Sri Lanka on Tuesday (19), and the NMRA will soon announce its decision on this vaccine, The Morning learnt. NMRA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe said that the NMRA would release its verdict on this vaccine, possibly in as early as three days. more..

Shukra Munawfer moves Lankans to tears

Jan 21 (AD) Shukra Munawfer, a 17-year-old student of Galle, Sudharma Vidyalaya, has emerged the winner of the popular knowledge quiz programme Lakshapathi on Sirasa TV. Shukra said she had taken part in the programme to secure a laptop computer for her online studies. Viewers were surprised when she demonstrated her depth of knowledge of SL culture, tradition, heritage and Buddhism, and praise was heaped on her in social media. When she recited Guttile Kavya, more..

New Delhi, Colombo & Tamils: Adani factor

Jan 21 (FT) With 49% of the East Container Terminal (ECT) handed over to the Indian Adani Group, in spite of strong opposition from SL trade unions and anti-Indian nationalists, India has gained a strategic foothold in SL. To the Rajapaksa Govt, it was a deal, according to the PM, to save 66% of trans-shipment business in the terminal, which is linked to India. To New Delhi on the other hand, the Adani presence, in addition to the economic benefit it brings to her GNP, is also of great strategic more..

වරාය දුන්න දවසට මේ ආණ්ඩුව ඉවරයි

NOCPCO issues updated announcement on isolation orders

Jan 21 (AD) Isolation orders on 11 Grama Niladhari Divisions in several areas will be lifted with effect from 6 pm today. Chief of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Army Commander General Shavendra Silva announced the decision a short while ago. Accordingly, the following Grama Niladhari Divisions will no longer be isolated from this evening: Kattankudy Police Area: 165 Kattankudy Grama Niladhari Division 03; more..

G-word to Geneva, ethnic cleansing enablers and ECT options

Jan 21 (FT) The G word is out of the bottle and it doesn’t stand for genie. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is often accused of widening the fissures between the constituent communities in Sri Lanka. However, it must now be ungrudgingly acknowledged that he has achieved what no Tamil leader could, acting as an effective unifying factor within and between the politically splintered Tamil communities in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and the diaspora. more..

Video: Man who spat at PHIs in Atulugama sentenced to 6 years RI

Jan 21 (AD) The individual who spat at health officials in Atulugama has been sentenced to 6 years rigorous imprisonment by the Panadura Magistrate’s Court and also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000. The incident was reported on Dec 2, in Atulugama police area when two PHIs and two public servants had visited the area to perform their duties. However, they were obstructed by a person, who had been identified as covid-19 infected more..

USD 12 mn project to power Jaffna islands with renewable energy

Jan 21 (Island) Plans are underway to install hybrid renewable energy systems to provide clean electricity to the islands of Nagadeepa, Delft and Analativu in the Northern Province. Power and Energy Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said the total cost of the project would be USD 12 million and the Cabinet approval had been granted last week for calling international competitive bids. These islands are separated from the mainland, thus the CEB is planning to improve the efficiency of more..

Public officials should be able to provide inputs on policy matters: COPA

Jan 21 (AD) The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has recommended that a policy decision should be taken regarding the space available for public servants to presenting their views on Cabinet decisions on perplexing issues. Chairman of the Committee Prof. Tissa Vitharana made this recommendation at the COPA meeting held on Tuesday with regards to the Special Audit Report pertaining to the renting of a private building for the Ministry of Agriculture. more..

Kiriella says, according to Ranjan only some judges were corrupt

Jan 21 (Island) Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday that MP Ranjan Ramanayake had not criticised all members of the judiciary when he stated that some judges were corrupt. “Everybody has the right to criticise a judgment in or outside Parliament. I remember when the Supreme Court decided to sentence S.B. Dissanayake to jail, spoke about that judgment in TV talk shows. more..

Increased age of employment from 14 to 16 comes into effect

Jan 21 (FT) Regulations have been promulgated under the Employees Provident Fund Act by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva with the increasing the minimum age for employment from 14 to 16 years. The changes to the law have come into effect with the passing of amendments to the relevant laws earlier this month. Parliament recently approved amendments to the Shop and Office Employees (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act, Employment of Women, Young Persons more..

SL, a true gem with a great future: Rothschild

Jan 21 (AD) World-renowned financier and member of the Rothschild family Nathaniel Rothschild claims that he was highly impressed by the response of the SL govt to the coronavirus pandemic. The global investor recently concluded his brief business trip to Sri Lanka to look into SL’s suitability as a manufacturing location for electronics. Posting on his Twitter account, he deluged his praise for the SL govt under Prez Rajapaksa, the country’s pandemic response, and its businesses. more..

UNHRC damning report on SL to be tabled

Jan 21 (DM) The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is expected to table a damning report on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva next month. UN sources said an advanced copy of the report is expected to be published well ahead of the Geneva session to ensure it makes an impact. Sources also said that a copy of the report has been sent to the SL Govt for its right of reply before it is made public. more..

Interdicted HC Judge Gihan Pilapitiya reinstated

Jan 21 (AD) Steps have been taken to reinstate the interdicted Embilipitiya HC Judge Gihan Pilapitiya, sources say. Reportedly, the Judicial Service Commission is due to issue a letter regarding his reinstatement. While he is reinstated to his duties, Pilapitiya will still be subjected to an investigation, according to sources. Embilipitiya HC Judge Gihan Pilapitiya was interdicted on Jan 22, 2020, over a controversial phone conversation he had with Ranjan Ramanayake more..

Expolanka rises to 4th most valuable stock; tops Rs. 100 b mark

Jan 21 (FT) Expolanka Holdings PLC yesterday soared to being the fourth most valuable stock thanks to sustained gain in its share price over the medium term. With a gain of Rs. 1.30 or 2.6% to Rs. 51.30, Expolanka was worth Rs. 100.28 billion. It is behind CTC, JKH and LOLC in terms of value. Being a consistently sought after stock, Expolanka saw 13 million of its shares change hands via 2,500 trades for Rs. 666.6 million. Expolanka closed the fourth quarter of 2020 with a 152% gain to Rs. 29. more..

University of Colombo celebrates its centenary this year

Jan 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s most sought-after higher education institute – University of Colombo – celebrates its centenary this year. Senior Prof Premakumara de Silva, Former Dean, Faculty of Arts, Uni of Colombo and Chairman/Standing Committee for Humanities and Social Sciences-UGC, chats with The Island about the 100 years of glory at the Colombo University. Q: Can you briefly describe the beginning of more..

ASPI crosses 8,000 points mark for first time in history

Jan 21 (EN) Stocks closed up 3.13% on Jan 21, reaching an all-time high, of 8,131.25 points as Hayleys group units soared after share splits were announced topping a previous high of 7,922.66 points reached on January 16, 2021. Colombo’s All share price index gained 3.13% or 246.80 points to close at 8,131.25. The S&P SL20 index of most liquid stocks topped 3000 points, to close at 3,196.73 points exceeding the previous high on January 16, 2021. more..

Govt restarts stalled $ 100 m Destiny project

Jan 21 (FT) As part of its effort to fast track incomplete projects the Govt yesterday restarted a $ 100 million mixed development project titled Destiny, which aims to see 300 apartments completed by the year end. Speaking at the event Urban Development and Housing Ministry Secretary Sirinimal Perera said that that SL’s construction industry had failed to thrive under the previous Govt and when this administration came into power there were many incomplete projects that investors were more..

Two Sri Lankan cricketers contract Covid-19

Jan 21 (CI) Seam bowler Binura Fernando and seam-bowling allrounder Chamika Karunaratne have tested positive for Covid-19 after having begun training as part of a 22-member limited-overs squad ahead of next month's tour of the West Indies. Both players have since been removed from the training group and asked to quarantine. It is understood that players were training in three separate groups, more..

Eight Colombo Undergrads positive with COVID-19

Jan 21 (CT) Eight students at the Science Faculty of Colombo Uni had tested positive for COVID-19. Uni sources stated the eight students tested positive were 6 first and 2 second year undergraduates. Students had taken part in a private reception held outside the Uni premises where they are said to have been exposed to the virus. When contacted, VC of the Colombo Uni Dr. Chandrika Wijayaratne confirmed that the 8 students are from its Science Faculty who had fallen victim to the disease. more..

Harsha incurs wrath of ministers for taking up issue of road building in Sinharaja

Jan 21 (Island) Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told parliament on Tuesday that no harm had been inflicted on the environment when a road was renovated in the village known as Lankagama close to the Sinharaja Forest which was a sensitive eco-system and world heritage. Responding to a question raised by SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, the Minister said that an environmental impact assessment should be conducted when a road is constructed, more..

Dayasiri calls for facilitating home-quarantine to minimise spending on quarantine centres

Jan 21 (DM) Only the people with COVID-19 complications should be sent to quarantine centres while the others with symptoms should be directed to serve home quarantine, State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said. He said sending all, including COVID-19 positives, people with symptoms and associates to quarantine centres is a very costly exercise, as the Govt is running out of monetary resources. more..

Stranger intrudes Horogolla Walauwa; CCD launches special probe

Jan 21 (DM) The CCD has begun a special investigation into the incident where an unidentified person had intruded the Horagolla Walauwa in Nittambuwa, the ancestral home of former Prez Chandrika Kumaratunga. The stranger intruded the premises on Jan 20 while the policemen attached to former Prez's Security Division were on duty around the area. An official from former Prez Kumaratunga's office said it was still unclear to as to how this person had entered the residence when more..

CPC saved USD 300M in foreign exchange last year: Chairman

Jan 21 (AD) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has saved USD 300 million in foreign exchange for the year 2020, says CPC Chairman Sumith Wijesinghe. He made this remark in response to a question raised by MP S.M. Marikkar during the meeting of COPE, chaired by Prof. Charitha Herath. The COPE met in Parliament on Tuesday to discuss the Special Audit Report on the storage and distribution of petroleum. CPC chairman noted that this was possible due to the drop in more..

TN fishermen stage road roko, condemn Lankan Navy for deaths of two

Jan 21 (Hindu) The fishermen have demanded compensation for the deaths; for the bodies to be handed over to the Indian authorities immediately, and for the autopsies to be conducted in India. Over 200 fishermen resorted to a road roko at coastal Kottaipattinam in Pudukottai district on Thursday, in the wake of the recovery of the bodies of fishermen in Sri Lanka, suspected to be of those reported missing from Tamil Nadu. more..

Three negative PCR tests for tourists to travel around the country

Jan 21 (CT) The Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, S.Hettiarachchi said, with the official opening of Airports today, tourists with three negative PCR tests will be allowed to travel around the country following a 14-day quarantine period. Thereby those arriving in the country following a negative PCR report prior to boarding the flight will be directed to quarantine for 14 days. Tourists will then be subject to another PCR test on admission to the hotel where they will quarantine and more..

Court rejects Deepa Edirisinghe’s anticipatory bail application

Jan 21 (AD) Colombo Magistrate’s Court has rejected the anticipatory bail application filed by former Director of Swarnamahal Financial Services PLC Deepa Edrisinghe, citing a typo. The anticipatory bail applications filed by three other Swarnamahal Financial Services – Nalaka, Jeewaka and Asanka Edirisinghe – were meanwhile scheduled to be taken up for consideration on the 27th of Jan. Further, Colombo Chief Magistrate Mohamed Mihal issued notices to the OIC of more..

Sri Lanka expects tourists from Germany, Dubai as airports re-open

Jan 21 (EN) SL is expecting the first tourists from Germany and Dubai after Colombo and Mattala airports re-opened for tourists from Jan 21, with a daily ceiling of 2,500 tourists raising the possibility of getting a million visitors in 2021, officials said. Dept of Immigration had issue 75 visas on the first few hours of Jan 21 for tourists, from America, Germany, Middle East and China, Sri Lanka Tourism chief Kimarli Fernando said. more..

Prez, PM send well wishes to Joe Biden & Kamala Harris

Jan 21 (AD) Prez Rajapaksa has offered well wishes to his new U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration. Taking to his official Twitter account, the Prez said the Govt of Sri Lanka looks forward to working together with the U.S. towards a mutually beneficial and stronger bilateral relationship. “Congratulations & best wishes to President @JoeBiden on assumption of office as 46th President of the #USA. My govt & I look forward to working together more..

First batch leaves for Korea for employment

Jan 21 (NR) The first batch of 22 workers returning to South Korea for employment this year, left the island this morning on a special charter flight. South Korean authorities are set to send the workers to their places of employment after a 14-day quarantine period. According to measures taken by Korean authorities due to the prevalence of the global Covid-19 pandemic, foreign workers must submit a valid PCR test report upon entry into Korea with effect from the 1 of January 2021. more..

UNP denies its govt intended to sell ECT

Jan 21 (TM) UNP today said that the 2019 Govt has not entered into any agreement to sell the East Container Terminal (ECT) or any section of the Colombo Port to India, Japan or any other country. UNP in a statement said the agreement pertained only to the company operating the terminal. It said Memorandum of Corporation was signed between SL, Indian & Japanese Govts to lease out the terminal to a Terminal Operating Company. more..

Will the demands of the Tamil political parties before the UN only harden the stand of...

Jan 22 (CT) Someone asked me; “One of our Foreign Office official on hearing of your joint appeal to the UNHRC has said as follows: ‘These demands (of the Tamil Political Parties before the UN) will only harden the stand of the majority community, whose views no democratic country can ignore. It’s time the Tamils realized this and accepted the thesis that the liberation of all Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnic or other identities, lies in economic development on an equitable basis.’ Could you comment on more..

China-India geopolitics in Jaffna’s islands: Fishermen suffer; India watches

Jan 22 (CT) As China vies for a foothold on islands East of the Jaffna peninsula, India is flexing its muscles to have its own influence on the islands. China in Hambantota is one thing. But in Jaffna? It appears that those affected would be Northern fishermen. Environment friendly multi-source power generation units were planned in the year 2017 using solar, wind, and battery sources, besides fossil fuels. The intention is to supply the islands of Neduntivu, Analaithivu and Nainathivu. more..