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‘I still love getting my hands dirty’

Jan 29 (ST) Queen’s New Year Honours List for 2021 announced recently includes Prof. Mohan Edirisinghe, biomedical engineer and Bonfield Chair of Biomaterials, University College London (UCL). Later this year, the Queen will decorate the SL-born scientist with the medal that bears her grandparents’ profiles – a traditional honour at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle that Dr. Edirisinghe is looking forward to. The chivalric order Officer of the British Empire will fete Dr. Edirisinghe for more..

Triple COVID-19 clusters rise to 52,986

Jan 29 (FT) Triple COVID-19 clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and the prisons yesterday increased to 52,548 patients with the detected of 787 COVID-19-positive persons. 784 of yesterday’s patients were associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster. The country’s total COVID-19 patient count has increased to 56,863, which includes 1,815 returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and more..

Ayurvie Weligama welcomes top Ayurveda tour operators, journalists

Jan 29 (FT) Ayurvie Weligama, a Theme Resorts & Spas property, has welcomed the first familiarisation tour of the tourism restart. A German delegation compromising Fitreisen Group Managing Director Claudia Wagner, Fitreisen Group Head of Ayurveda Uwe Endres, NEUE WEGE Bewusst Reisen Managing Director Markus Hegemann and journalists Hans-Jorg Baston and Nathalie Gütermann arrived on 22 Jan at BIA. Upon arrival, they were transferred to Weligama more..

NSSF provides electronic target facility to national shooters at a provisional range

Jan 29 (Island) National Shooting Sport Federation (NSSF) has made arrangements to introduce electronic target facilities to national shooters as it gears up to form a strong team for the upcoming inaugural Asian Online Shooting Championship 2021, which will be held on Jan 29 and 30. Electronic target facility has been setup at a provisional facility owned by the President of NSSF, Shirantha Peries near Kohuwala. “We have been craving for a permanent national shooting more..

Planters decry mob violence at Kandapola, demand swift legal action against...

Jan 29 (FT) Expressing the unanimous and unreserved condemnation of all 21 Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) the Planters’ Association of Ceylon issued a statement decrying shocking violence instigated by MP M. Rameshwaran at Park Estate in Kandapola on 17 Jan. The association called for an impartial investigation and swift justice following a brutal mob attack which resulted in a Trainee Asst. Superintendent more..

Challenging times for children during Covid-19

Jan 29 (ST) The stress and the impact of COVID-19 is not only on the children but also on the parents (particularly working parents) who are faced with the additional burden of providing home schooling. There are also concerns that the children are not able to play, and while interaction with school friends and teachers is an essential part of education, this is also not happening. These were among many issues raised at a recent virtual discussion organised by the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC) more..

Don’t tamper with EPF Act, says union

Jan 29 (ST) Ceylon Federation of Labour (CLF) has repeated an earlier request that the govt should not tamper with the EPF Act to bring about the proposed increase in the retirement age of the employed. “This is best achieved by enacting a separate Act mandating all sectors of employment,” it said in a communication to National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) where the matter was discussed last month. In the state sector the retirement age is 60 yrs while in the private sector it is generally 55 yrs. more..

Lanka Coal denies price fixing

Jan 29 (FT) Lanka Coal Company rejected opposition accusations that it was procuring coal outside of the tender process at higher prices and denied any irregularities in purchases for the country’s only coal power plant. The company said they were following policies set by the previous Govt in 2015 when it was decided that half of the 2.25 million metric tonnes required for the Lakvijeya power plant should be purchased through more..

Chamber of Tourism hails Government for opening of international airports for tourists

Jan 29 (FT) Chamber of Tourism and Industry thanks the Govt, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and relevant agencies for making arrangements to open the international airports to tourists. The tourism industry in this country has been subjected to severe hardship during the past years. The 30-year armed conflict, tsunami, Easter Sunday attacks and then the COVID-19 epidemic have had a crippling effect on the industry. At present there are around 3 million people more..

Asia Rugby EXCO: Seneviratne inducted as independent member

Jan 29 (CT) Former Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) President Asanga Seneviratnehas been appointed as an independent member of the Executive Committee of Asia Rugby. Council unanimously approved the EXCO’s recommendation of including two Independent Members to the EXCO - Seneviratne and former Hong Kong Rugby President Trevor Gregory. In accordance with the governance practices of World Rugby and other major sports organisations; more..

Regulator approves COVID-19 vaccine

Jan 29 (FT) National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) yesterday approved the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 in emergency situations, and health authorities are expecting to receive the first batch of the vaccine from India. While the relevant documents for legal clearance have been handed over to the Attorney General by Director General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena, more..

10 schools to get synthetic athletic tracks

Jan 29 (ST) Ten selected schools will get the privilege of acquiring synthetic tracks under the Schools Sports Development Project, which is expected to initiate jointly by Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Education. Accordingly these selected schools will be provided with a synthetic training track of 130metres as a first step. As an initiative to the project, Ministry revealed that construction of synthetic tracks will be laid on the facilities of five selected schools under the project. more..

FM tells ACD countries SL open for tourists

Jan 29 (MFA) In his address at the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) held on 21 Jan 2021 under the theme New Normal and Safe and Healthy Tourism, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stated that SL opened its borders after much consultation, preparation following best practices, keeping safety and security of its citizens as paramount and that of the visitors. The Ministerial meeting was preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting held on 19 January 2021. more..

Coal prices soar, aggravating CEB woes

Jan 29 (Island) The recovery of coal prices in the world market coupled with the decline in the value of the rupee would result in the cost of electricity generation increasing rapidly in SL with the Norochcholai coal-fired power plants accounting for the bulk of power produced in the country, energy experts said. They said the recovery of coal prices meant that calculations made by a number of energy sector decision-makers on cost of electricity more..

SJB Youth Movement lodges Police complaint against Ukrainian tourism project

Jan 29 (FT) SJB youth movement lodged a complaint with the Police HQ against former SL Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga over the Ukrainian tourism project. In a written complaint submitted to IGP Chandana Wickramaratne, SJB MP and Samagi Tharuna Balawegaya Chairman Mayantha Dissanayake said certain photographs circulating online had indicated that the Ukrainian tourists facilitated by Weeratunga had acted in violation of SL’s archaeological laws and more..

First group of tourists from Germany, Switzerland departs for Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (AD) The first group of tourists from Germany and Switzerland has departed for Sri Lanka yesterday from Frankfurt, onboard Sri Lankan Airlines’ direct flight to Colombo, says the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Frankfurt. The Embassy has facilitated the travel of the tourists in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism and Sri Lankan Airlines, supporting the endeavours of the Govt of Sri Lanka to revive the hospitality sector, affected by the pandemic. more..

'Serious irregularities in coal purchases'

Jan 29 (FT) SJB MP Nalin Bandara charged there were substantial irregularities in coal procurement, which could pave the way for what he described as a return of the coal mafia and significant loss of public funds. Hecharged that the Govt was trying to let one supplier monopolise the coal needed for power plants without calling competitive tenders for the purchase. "Before 2015, one supplier named Nobel was given more..

Two more people fall victim to Covid-19

Jan 29 (AD) Two more Covid-19 related fatalities have been confirmed in Sri Lanka. Following the new development, total lives claimed by the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country has reached 278. One of the victims was identified as an 82-year-old man from Colombo 08. He had been transferred to the IDH after testing positive for the virus while receiving treatment a private hospital in Colombo. He was suffering from Covid-19 pneumonia at the time of his passing earlier today (22). more..

'COVID-19 vaccination; not a challenge to SL'

Jan 29 (DM) With SL having an effective National Immunization Policy in the country spanning for over 50 years, it is not a challenge for the country to provide vaccines to its people, said State Minister Sudarshani Fernandopulle. She said SL as a country had successfully eliminated several communicable diseases such as polio, measles and rubella with the aid of vaccination. “We have successfully carried out vaccination programmes in the past for children and obtained almost 99% success,” more..

Looters as Rulers: When sugar tastes bitter

Jan 29 (Island) Many a yahapalana politician made a spectacle of himself, in the last Parliament, by trying to defend the indefensible after the lid had been blown off the Treasury bond scams. UNP MPs argued, until they were blue in the face, that there had been no wrongdoing, and the bond scams were a total fabrication. However, the truth like oil came to the surface, and the defenders of the bond scammers are now in political wilderness. more..

Understanding the protests against Indian private investment in Colombo Port

Jan 23 (ORF) Overseas investors would be keenly watching the SL Govt’s handling of the much-maligned Indian private sector funding for the Colombo Port’s Eastern Container Terminal (ECT), for them to draw their own conclusions about putting their own money in the money-strapped economy. Already, rating agencies have put a huge question-mark over early recovery, especially after the compounded woes added by the Easter serial blasts in 2019 and continuing travails of Covid-19 more..

Colombo ECT: Embers glowing; bureaucratic incompetence?

Jan 23 (FT) Crucial infrastructure projects remain in the focus of many Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) and financial conglomerates. Dubai Ports World has $ 3 billion looking for investment across the Indian Ocean logistics sector. UAE investment companies have signed up with China Development Bank for a $ 10 billion joint venture. A tech town is in the offing near the UAE port of Jebel-Ali with an investment of $ 600 million from Alibaba to develop mobile apps and robotics. more..

කොළඹ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයීය සැමරුම

Militarisation continues its march forward

Jan 23 (FT) It is not unusual for a govt to turn to its militaries in times of uncertainty, as an attempt to reassure both itself and the general public of the might that lies within its grasp. In Sri Lanka, a Rajapaksa Govt has never shied away from presenting the military as a beacon of its strength. Having ended the war with the LTTE in 2009 through military means, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Govt never strayed far from the umbrella of militarisation. more..

SJB will appoint new office bearers for 2021 on January 25: Nalin Bandara

Jan 23 (DM) Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will appoint new office bearers for 2021 on Monday (25), MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said. Mr. Jayamaha told a press conference that the party’s working Committee will meet on Monday to decide on them. “The working Committee will also decide on holding a celebration in March this year to make the party’s first anniversary. SJB was formed in March 2020 just before nominations were called for the general election which was held in August last year. more..

Health minister tests positive, shatters Covid cure claims

Jan 23 (EN) Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi who banked on black magic and sorcery to protect herself and Sri Lankans from the pandemic has been infected with Covid-19, officials said today after two tests. The 56-year-old was asked to go into isolation on Friday after an antigen test showed she was infected. A PCR test confirmed she was infected despite publicly consuming a shaman’s potion touted as a vaccine as well as a cure against more..

Vaccination trial runs today at Piliyandala and Ragama

Jan 23 (Island) Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said that Ministry of Health would hold a COVID-19 vaccination trial today (23) at two separate locations. Herath said the trial would take place at the Piliyandala Regional Hospital and the Colombo North Teaching Hospital. It would help health officials to identify any shortcomings in proposed vaccination programme and determine the number of persons that they could vaccinate in an hour and in a day, more..

Over 565,000 metric tons of paddy expected from Mahaweli Lands this Maha season

Jan 23 (FT) Over half a million tons of paddy is expected from the Mahaweli lands this Maha Season, the Govt announced. This was announced at the launch of the national program to guide the farming community in the island towards the right farming systems at Dehiattakandiya. The inaugural ceremony of the program was held under the patronage of Minister Chamal Rajapaksa and State Minister Siripala Gamalath. The awareness program titled Right path to the right cultivation more..

Video: Sri Lanka to receive first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Jan 27: President

Jan 23 (CT) Prez Rajapaksa says the first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India is expected to arrive in SL on the 27th of January. Accordingly, SL will be receiving the 500,000 vials of doses with the first vaccine consignment. Prez’s remarks came during the Gama Samaga Pilisandara programme held in Walallawita, Kalutara today. He noted that Covid-19 jabs will be first administered to medical officers, PHIs more..

Bulk carrier MV Eurosun runs aground off Sri Lanka coast

Jan 23 (EN) MV Eurosun, a Liberian registered 33,000 dead weight tonne bulk carrier has run aground off Sri Lanka’s southern coast while carrying a cargo of clinker, Navy spokesman Captain Indika De Silva said. The vessel was en route to Trincomallee from Abu Dhabi carrying a cargo of clinker when it appeared to have run aground on a reef, he said. “Our biggest concern is whether there is an oil leak,” he said. The crew has indicated that they could not see an oil leak. more..

Joe Root passes Geoff Boycott as fluent batting form sets England agenda

Jan 23 (CI) Joe Root notched up another notable milestone during his agenda-setting 67 not out on the second day in Galle, as he overtook the Test runs tally of Geoffrey Boycott, his fellow Yorkshireman and England's former world-record holder, to lay the platform for his side's first innings. Root, who is playing his 99th Test, passed 8000 Test runs while making 228 in last week's first Test against SL, and had taken that tally to 8119 by the close on Saturday, as he repaired more..

Joe Root leads response after Sri Lanka lay foundation in face of James Anderson six-for

Jan 23 (CI) It was a credit to the Sri Lanka batsmen - in particular their proficiency against spin - that James Anderson's six-wicket haul was as much an act of damage limitation as destruction on day two in Galle. When left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya made early inroads, England looked to be in danger. It took an unbroken partnership worth 93 from Jonny Bairstow, homeward-bound to rest after this match instead of heading to India, more..

Arjuna walks away from UNP politics

Jan 23 (DN) Former Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has decided not to actively participate in the political activities of the UNP in the future. Ranatunga had refused to accept the post of Deputy Chairman of the UNP which was presented to him and he also did not attend the inauguration ceremony of the new officers at Sirikotha recently. Although he had earlier resigned from the leadership of the UNP in the Gampaha District, he actively participated in the work of the party. more..

Once visitors flocked, now a ghost town

Jan 23 (ST) Sigiriya has always been one of the major tourist attractions in the country; after the pandemic struck the place has been more like a graveyard rather than a tourist destination. As the country slowly comes to terms with the pandemic, several industries are slowly recovering. However, it will be a long uphill struggle for the tourist sector to fully recover from the crisis in the face of current travel restrictions. A majority of people residing around Sigiriya make a living out of this site. more..

Trade unions redouble efforts to keep India out of ECT

Jan 23 (FT) A selection of trade unions yesterday doubled down on attempts to keep the East Container Terminal (ECT) ownership and development completely under the Govt with a new proposal to a Cabinet sub-committee. The National Movement for the Protection of the Colombo Port East Jetty (NMPCPEJ) yesterday handed over their proposals for the development and management of the ECT to the head of a recently appointed more..

Sri Lanka, Philippines foreign ministers agree to enhance diplomatic relations

Jan 23 (MFA) Foreign Ministers of the two countries agreed yesterday to focus on new strategies to further strengthen the existing economic, political, social and international relations between SL and the Philippines. Agreement has been reached during a telephone conversation that Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had with Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, to congratulate the Govt of the Philippines on the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations more..

First registered undergraduate of BCI Campus inducted by President

Jan 23 (Island) President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa paid a special visit to BCI Campus, Negombo (Benedict XVI Catholic Institute) on Jan. 15 on the invitation of Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo. The event was conducted under strict health protocols and was attended by a limited audience among which were the Archbishop of Colombo, Rector of BCI; Rev. Fr. Quintus Fernando, Prof G L Peiris, Minister of Education, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, more..

Ex-Director of Customs acquitted from bribery charges

Jan 23 (CT) Colombo HC Judge Adithya Patabendige on Friday acquitted and released from the case former Director of the Customs, Ranjan Canagasabey, who was charged with soliciting a bribe of Rs 1.6 million to compile a report for the release of certain goods. Justice Patabendige, announcing his verdict, stated that the evidence, brought against the accused by the prosecution, had been contradictory. more..

Local consumer goods marketed in Austrian supermarkets

Jan 23 (TM) With the assistance of MTC Exotic Supermarket, SL Embassy in Austria obtained shelf space, without any cost, to position SL consumer goods in the heart of Vienna, Austria. This initiative aims to further enhance market access to SL products and attract new market opportunities for SL products in Austria. MTC Exotic is said to be a popular supermarket chain in Austria with a strong customer base, which would provide the ideal platform to promote SL products and more..

Massive project to restore Deegawapiya Stupa to be launched soon

Jan 23 (ST) Govt is to launch a massive project soon to restore the Deegawapiya Stupa in Ampara and crown it as the fifth tallest stupa in the country. Public assistance is being sought to raise Rupees one billion for the project, said General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, Defence Secretary and Chairperson of Presidential Task Force for Archaeological Heritage Management of the Eastern Province. He said about 23 million bricks are needed for the project that will take about three years to complete. more..