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COVID-19: Country touches high risk margin: GMOA

Jan 23 (DM) The country has exceeded the risk level of COVID-19 positive patients rate, as per the WHO analysis, the GMOA said. GMOA Editor Dr. Haritha Aluthge said the COVID-19 positive rate has got past the 5.5 margin. "The positive rate was at level 3.0 a month before. Then the rate increased to level 4. Now has got past level 5 and has reached 5.5; which is higher in risk," he said. However, the Epidemiology Unit says the virus is still not more..

Authorities keep mum over plea not to build another Elephant Holding Ground

Jan 23 (Island) Neither Prez Rajapaksa nor a govt representative had responded to a letter sent by environmentalists requesting that the new Elephant Holding Ground (EHG) project at Lunugamvehera National Park be stopped, Supun Prakash of the Biodiversity Conservation and Research Circle said. He said that they had brought to Prez’s notice that the project, funded by WB, would be a colossal waste of money, at a time when country was trying to reduce unnecessary expenditure. more..

No waste disposal site in Hatton; Garbage transported 52km daily

Jan 23 (ST) Hatton Municipal Council, facing an issue of disposal of garbage, currently transports its garbage for 52 km, daily. This was revealed at a recent meeting of the District Infrastructure Development Committee held at the Nuwara Eliya District Secretariat. “Due to the lack of a landfill site in Hatton, our councils have to dispose the garbage accumulated within city limits on a land belonging to the Maskeliya PS, located about 52km away,” Mayor of Hatton S. Balachandra said. more..

Anti-Corruption Secretariat squanders over Rs 3 billion

Jan 23 (CT) Informed political sources said that legal action would be instituted against former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and 21 others who were part of the controversial Anti-Corruption Secretariat (ACS), which operated during the previous UNF-led regime, on charges of wanton incurring of a sum of Rs 3,371 million and gross misappropriation of State property. Recommendations by the PCoI formed to more..

GL Peiris tests negative for COVID-19

Jan 23 (NR) Minister of Education GL Peiris has tested negative for COVID-19. Issuing a statement, Ministry of Education said Minister Peiris was identified as a close contact of State Minister Piyal Nishantha who tested positive for COVID-19 previously. Subsequently, Minister Peiris, his family members and selected members of staff were directed to quarantine. Statement said PCR tests conducted on Minister Peiris has confirmed he has not contracted the novel coronavirus. more..

Health minister sent to Covid-19 beach resort

Jan 23 (EN) Sri Lanka’s health minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi was isolated Saturday at a beach hotel after she tested positive for the Coronavirus, officials said. The 56-year-old minister was tested twice since Friday and both results confirmed she was infected, but it was not immediately clear how she caught the virus spreading rapidly. Wanniarachchi catching the virus shattered claims by a shaman that a potion made by him could give life long immunity. more..

Nearly 70,000 migrant workers in 137 countries awaiting departure

Jan 23 (ST) As many as 69,000 SL migrant workers are awaiting repatriation from 137 countries, with many people pleading with the Govt to bring them back to SL, due to difficulties they are currently facing. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament last week that so far 61,750 Lankans have been repatriated. He also revealed that 89 workers have died from the virus. The number that came back from West Asia alone is 31,102. more..

Dammika Bandara claims no responsibility for Pavithra contracting COVID-19

Jan 23 (DM) Ayurvedic practitioner Dhammika Bandara said he was not responsible for Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi contracting COVID-19, as she had failed to follow his advice on taking the syrup made by him. In a Facebook post, he said when taking his herbal syrup, people should avoid smoking, consuming alcoholic liquor and avoid eating meat. “Minister Wanniarachchi did two things which I advised her to avoid. Therefore, I cannot take responsibility for she had fallen ill now,” more..

Third group of investors arrive in Sri Lanka under Investor Bubble scheme

Jan 23 (DM) Serial Entrepreneur and Silicon Valley Investor Insaaf Mohideen has arrived in Sri Lanka for a brief visit under the “Investor Bubble” scheme. Insaaf Mohideen is a large-scale investor in alternate asset classes and has managed sovereign wealth across four countries. He is accompanied by Jezri Mohideen, Managing Director and Global Chief Digital Officer at Nomura International PLC. Mr Insaaf and Mr Jezri are due to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, and are due to discuss more..

රේගුවේ නිලධාරීන්ට ජනපතිගෙන් සැර ප්‍රකාශයක්...

Education must continue

Jan 24 (SO) Asked to name a field or endeavour that was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, most people will say tourism. True, international tourism has suffered a massive downturn as countries keep their borders closed to keep the virus at bay. Millions of people who depended on tourism have lost their jobs and the aviation, cruise and hospitality industries will take years to recover. On second thoughts, there is another human endeavour that has been adversely affected by pandemic, more..

Living the dream

Jan 24 (TM) Through the ages, politics has often been described as the art of the possible. In more recent times, adapting to a world in transition, it has been described as the art of compromise. Both hold true in today’s context. It is said that politics is as old as the oldest profession, and is often as sleazy. Four years ago, Americans who had grown tired of traditional politics voted en masse to elect a non-politician as their 45th Prez. By his own admission, Trump had one job to do – drain the swamp. more..

'Govt will present its position clearly at the UNHRC'

Jan 24 (SO) Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage explain about the upcoming UNHRC position. Q: As far as SL is concerned what will happen at the upcoming UNHRC sessions beginning late Feb? A: In 2015 we co-sponsored a resolution 30/1, which is detrimental to SL as a sovereign nation. Then again in 2018 & 2019, roll over resolutions were passed. In 2021 Mar, the term of this 30/1 and subsequent resolutions more..

Positioning Sri Lanka as South Asia’s Dubai after COVID-19

Jan 24 (GV) Using the policy tool of a dedicated special economic zone for services, Colombo Port City in SL aspires to become an international financial centre after the pandemic in a bid to emulate Dubai’s success. However, global uncertainties in the COVID-19 economic era and decision-making lags by previous govts suggests that it will take time to realize this ambition. Implementing a competitive special economic zone framework and conducive national policies more..

A blessed nation, relative to the socially divided Western world

Jan 24 (SO) A British Guardian article that’s written by a family that came from Zimbabwe to London makes me want to laugh — and then cry a little too. It’s about a Zimbabwean family that ended up in London fulfilling a long-held dream to live the good life. These days they feel it’s better to get back to Harare. Apparently, London under the lockdowns and the Covid-19 scares, feels ghastly. They feel Zimbabwe is better. Yes, that’s right — post Mugabe Zimbabwe, with all that runaway inflation and more..

'Govt has no idea of selling ECT to any foreign country'

Jan 24 (SO) Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said under any circumstances, the Govt has no idea of selling the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port to any foreign country. Minister said the agreement pertaining to the ECT was signed by the former Yahapalana Govt in 2017 as a public-private partnership to develop the ECT. This partnership will continue only for 35 years. After that, the ECT will be fully owned by the SL Govt. more..

The general rule

Jan 24 (ST) My dear Gota maamey, I thought I must write to you only because we hear many people grumbling already that the Paradise they hoped for when they voted you in to high office just over a year ago has not materialised- and some are indeed complaining that we are in a worse state now than they were under Cheerio Sirisena! I don’t really think we have reached that state quite yet but it is true that there has not been much progress either. The time has come to take a look at more..

Govt caught between devil and deep blue sea

Jan 24 (ST) It was barely three weeks ago (Jan 1) that all public servants were asked to take an oath to uphold the pledges in the election manifesto of the ruling coalition. Controversial as it was, demanding public servants swear by a political party’s agenda, has now come to boomerang on the very authors of that document accused of breaking their own oath. Included in that manifesto was a specific reference to the Colombo Port as a national asset. From public platforms there were solemn promises to more..


How to prepare for landslides

Jan 24 (CT) Yet another rainy season has reached its peak and heavy downfalls are being experienced. Rains will be most welcome by those involved in the agriculture sector and hydropower generation. On the negative side, landslide risks in hilly areas especially in the mid-country, and flood risks in low lying areas will escalate. Hence, people have to remain vigilant as we have lost many lives and property due to natural disasters in the past. This article discusses some technical aspects of more..

The galloping stock market

Jan 24 (Island) Colombo stock market has been galloping like nobody’s business these past several days with little or no rational explanation of why this is so in the context of a pandemic-hit business downturn. Among the reasons that have been proffered by brokers and analysts for this surge in confidence of market players, and they have increased substantially in recent months according to the CSE, is that interest rates are plunging. Investors who could earn as much as 12-13% more..

Storm over Colombo Port’s ECT project, SJB not ready to rock the boat

Jan 24 (ST) The SJB, the main Opposition party, has not yet taken up a position on foreign investment to develop the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port. In terms of the latest move, both India, through the Advani group, and a yet-to-be identified Japanese company, are to make a joint investment in the project. The matter was discussed in detail by Prez Rajapaksa with Indian External Affairs Minister more..

Govt by, for & with the UNHRC or the people?

Jan 24 (Island) Last week we wrote that it’s time for the Geneva Circus and that it would come with molehills and mountains. Well, now we have it all in a single document. The report of High Commissioner for Human Rights on SL is now in the public domain. A dismissing observation frequently used by high school debaters in another era is apt: It reminds one of a Texan bull — a point here, a point here and, yes, a lot of bull between. As expected the report waxes eloquent over Resolution 30/1, more..

Sunny side up

Jan 24 (TM) State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, who spent 14 days in a Covid-19 treatment centre after testing positive, last week returned home and is currently undergoing a week of self-isolation. “Happy to have returned home today after being declared Covid free. I will now be subject (to) one week of self-isolation at my residence. I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers throughout my recovery over the last few days,” Jayasekara tweeted last Wednesday (20). more..

Five SJB leaders up in arms against Champika’s 43 brigade

Jan 24 (CT) A 3-member Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has been appointed to probe, inquire into and report or take necessary action on findings of preceding Commissions or Committees on alleged human rights violations, serious violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other such offences in SL. Prez Rajapaksa appointed the Committee through an Extraordinary Gazette Notification published on 21 Jan. more..

Sri Lanka Olympic chief promises to provide athletes with everything

Jan 24 (SO) President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) Suresh Subramanium claims that he has many ideas on how to produce another medal winner by the year 2028 while noting that the country has just two successful Olympians in Duncan White and Susanthika Jayasinghe in 52 years. Subramanium confessed that Sri Lanka has abundant talent among athletes who are often seen running around bare foot until they develop into a top level athlete and come into recognition. more..

Senior players not allowed to take part in Abu Dhabi League cricket

Jan 24 (TM) In a fare move aimed towards the betterment of national cricket, some current players who have requested from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to participate in the Abu Dhabi T10 League – which is to be held from 28 Jan to 6 Feb – have not been issued the above. “There is an international tour. We are going to the West Indies. Most of these players who have requested NOCs are in that pool to carry out training for that tour,” said SLC CEO Ashley de Silva. more..

Niroshan Dickwella's dance of destruction. Or creation. Or whatever it is

Jan 24 (CI) Below are two Niroshan Dickwella truths and one Niroshan Dickwella lie. One time, in the middle of a match, Dickwella made the team manager Google Translate an insult into Urdu, so he could sledge Pakistan's players in their own language. (#Thoughtful) Another time, batting to draw a Test, Dickwella initiated an extended verbal tussle with an opposition player. When his senior partner told him to cool it, our guy responded: more..

PayPal: What’s the big deal?

Jan 24 (TM) Recently, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal tweeted that he was happy to learn from the CB's Payment and Settlement Department that PayHere, DirectPay, WEBXPAY, Xoom, Skrill, Payoneer, Earthport, and Genie are suitable alternatives to PayPal. Well, the tweet did not stop there – he added: “SL entrepreneurs please take note.” Tweet was soon flooded with comments emphasising the need for PayPal, even though there are plenty of other digital payment platforms, more..

Sachini: the gymnast who turned pole vaulter

Jan 24 (SO) Sachini Perera of the Army set a new SL record in the women’s pole vault event at the 98th National Athletic Championship held at the Sugathadasa Stadium. This was the only SL record set in the National championships as she cleared 3.56m to shatter the previous record of 3.55m held by Jaffna’s Anitha Jegatheeswaran last year. Sachini started her sports career in gymnastics & never had any idea to be a pole vault athlete. It was a very rare achievement for her to meet with success. more..

Number portability facility by mid-2021

Jan 24 (TM) The number portability facility announced by the Govt last year is expected to come into effect by mid-2021, enabling customers to retain their numbers while changing service providers, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of SL (TRCSL). TRCSL Director General Oshada Senanayake said that the public consultation paper, which is a formality arrangement, has been released last week more..

Transfers, inquiries amidst port agitation

Jan 24 (ST) Port workers continued their agitation on Friday amidst punishment transfers and inquiries initiated against the trade union leaders that have been campaigning to ensure that the East Container Terminal (ECT) will be run solely by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). Friday’s demonstration was to be carried out at the Gate 3 entrance to the Colombo Port with the participation of all trade union members during the lunch hour, All Ceylon General Workers Union General Secretary more..

Justice Minister Sabry disassociates his Ministry with recruitment of quazis

Jan 24 (Island) Minister of Justice Ali Sabry yesterday said that his Ministry had nothing to do with the recruitment of quazis for the Muslim quazi court system. There were newspaper advertisements during the last few days announcing vacancies for a number of quazi courts across the country. “This has nothing to do with me. A wrong impression has been created by a group carrying out a systematic campaign. The advert was published by the Judicial Services Commmission and more..

Sri Lanka seeks diversion, not justice, over wartime abuses

Jan 24 (HRW) SL’s grim record is under scrutiny at the UNHRC, so the govt of Prez Rajapaksa has announced yet another internal inquiry. Foreign govts should not be swayed by this disingenuous attempt to avert urgently needed international action. There have been at least a dozen domestic commissions of inquiry during the decades of SL’s civil war, often created to forestall int'l pressure on human rights. more..

Colombo Port City: Special Economic Zone Bill to be enacted soon

Jan 24 (SO) The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill will be enacted hopefully by the end of next month under which the Colombo Port Commission will be set up to oversee operations, market and position the Port City to be a competitive investment hub in the region. “The legislation for the SEZ has been approved and it will be in force soon enabling the Commission to carry on marketing and promotional activities that will help attract global investors to the financial city,” more..

Super League to lay foundation for professionalising sport

Jan 24 (ST) The Super League, planned by the Football Federation of SL (FFSL), is expected to lay the base to a futuristic assurance of making the most globally followed sport more prominent, said its president Anura de Silva. Though the Super League promises a brighter and secure future to the local footballers, who are mostly amateurs, some clubs are facing teething issues with the current socio-economic background. However, FFSL is willing to take the risk as de Silva explained, more..

East Container Terminal: Trilateral talks ongoing: Japan

Jan 24 (TM) Govt is attempting to hand over the entirety of the 49% of shares allocated for foreign investment in the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port to India, by abandoning Japan, trade unions (TUs) attached to the SLPA alleged. Meanwhile, the Japanese Embassy in Colombo maintained that trilateral discussions were still ongoing. Port TUs alleged that the sudden urgency shown by the Govt to more..

Finance Ministry wants its nominees as independent directors in private banks

Jan 24 (ST) Questions are being raised on the much promoted meritocracy by the current govt with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) moving to remove certain independent directors in some private banks. These commercial banks are being pressurised by the MOF to remove certain independent directors, in a bid to replace them with political cronies. Sources close to the Treasury say that the MOF had written to certain banks directing them to remove at least two directors each & appoint MOF nominees. more..

Two more deaths bring COVID-19 fatality count to 280

Jan 24 (AD) Sri Lanka has reported two more coronavirus related deaths today (23) One of the deceased is a 69-year-old male from Mount Lavinia who had passed away at the Homagama Base Hospital yesterday (22). He had been transferred from the Colombo National Hospital upon being diagnosed with COVID-19. The cause of his death has been determined as COVID-19 pneumonia and a kidney infection. The other victim is an 82-year-old woman from the Ranala area who more..

Lanka tightlipped over Indian protest over deaths of fishermen

Jan 24 (ST) Colombo has not responded, and is unlikely to respond, to New Delhi’s strong demarche earlier this week over the death of four fishermen on board an Indian poaching vessel which sank off. SL’s northern Delft Island after a mid-sea collision with a SL Navy boat. Foreign Ministry said it had no statement and that the matter would be under the AG’s Department, Defence Ministry or the Fisheries Ministry. more..