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Face the Nation

Mount Clifford Residencies sold out even before completion: ICC

Jan 26 (Island) International Construction Consortium (ICC), the multi-sector contractor, has been successful in selling out all apartment units of Mount Clifford Residencies, Homagama before reaching completion. It’s an achievement despite the external pressures faced by the construction sector due to the ongoing pandemic. ICC expresses heartfelt gratitude to investors of the project, many of whom were first time homeowners, for placing their trust with the company that has more..

Shares and sugar

Jan 26 (ST) As I walked into the garden on this bright and sunny Thursday morning to get a breath of fresh air before starting the day, I was drawn to a heated argument at the gate. Aldoris, the choon-paan karaya, had arrived and the trio appeared to be arguing with him over the prices of his product range. Aei me kimbula banis wala mila wedi wela thiyenne (Why has the price of kimbula-banis – the crocodile-shaped bun with a sprinkling of sugar on top -, gone up),” asked an angry-looking more..

Relentless rally at Colombo Stock Market

Jan 26 (FT) Colombo Stock Market rally remained relentless as it notched up a record Rs. 15 billion in turnover and the more active index soaring by over 5.6%. The benchmark ASPI gained by 2.7% or 231 points and the S&P SL20 by over 188 points or 5.69%. Turnover was Rs. 14.9 billion, a one-year high. First Capital said the two giants competed (John Keells and LOLC) to sustain the record-breaking streak more..

SL’s education system needs an overhaul

Jan 26 (GV) Achieving a 92% literacy rate, universal primary education, gender parity and free education including at the tertiary level, Sri Lanka should have literate, numerate and confident young people ready to take on the world. But despite these impressive statistics, the fact remains that 15% of the over 300,000 students who enter school each year drop out before they sit for their O’Levels and only 60% of the original 300,000 plus pass their O’Levels and go on to do A’Levels, according to statistics more..

Ceylon Tea 2020 production lowest in 23 yrs

Jan 26 (ST) Sri Lanka’s annual tea production of 278.4 million kg in 2020 was the lowest on record since 1997 and a significant drop compared to 2019’s 300 m kg. The lowest on record was in 1997 when 276 mn kg was produced, Asia Siyaka Commodities report stated. “Climate change has played a part in a shrinking national harvest which peaked at 340 million kg in 2013. Since then it’s been a steady slide but the 2020 crash cannot be attributed entirely to the hot dry conditions more..

Govt directs biz to local contractors

Jan 26 (FT) Govt directed all State institutions, including Ministries, PCs, Local Govt Authorities and statutory boards to allow local companies to exclusively bid for Govt construction contracts. The Finance Ministry, issuing a circular, said the projects should be worth between Rs. 150 million to Rs. 600 million. Ministry added that for contracts with an estimated cost of more than Rs. 150 million and up to Rs. 300 million, bids will now be called more..

Sri Lanka Insurance ups revenue by 13.5%

Jan 26 (FT) Amidst a turbulent and challenging year, Sri Lanka Insurance has closed year 2020 on a positive note, recording phenomenal revenue growth with exceptional service innovations. SL Insurance, the premier insurer to the nation, recorded stellar performance in 2020 to record Rs. 55.2 billion revenue for the year, a marked improvement on the Rs.48.6 billion in the year 2019. In the year of 2020 SL Insurance reported 30 % growth in life insurance premium increasing to Rs. 19.2 billion more..

Jerome Jayaratne appointed Sri Lanka team manager

Jan 26 (DN) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) yesterday, appointed Jerome Jayaratne as the National Team Manager for the team’s upcoming tour of the West Indies. Jayaratne was appointed as the present Team Manager, as Ashantha de Mel has decided to step down from the position due to personal reasons at the end of the England tour of Sri Lanka. Jayaratne currently functions as the Chief Cricket Operations Officer of the SLC and his appointment as the Team Manager is an interim measure. more..

Mickey Arthur bemoans poor batting after second Test goes horribly wrong for SL

Jan 26 (CI) Sri Lanka threw it away. Their hyper-aggressive approach to the second innings wasn't part of the plan. And their 126 all out ruined three days of good work. These were Mickey Arthur's takeaways after the dispiriting 2-0 loss against England. SL had established a 37-run first-innings lead on the fourth morning, with England due to bat in the fourth innings. And yet, their batsmen crumbled to 66 for 6 before lunch more..

Niluka tests positive for COVID-19

Jan 26 (CT) Olympian shuttler Niluka Karunarathne has tested positive for COVID-19 and stated he will seek treatment at a COVID-19 treatment centre. Earlier his brother, cricketer Chamika Karunarathne, tested positive for COVID-19 along with Binura Fernando in random PCR tests conducted at the National team’s white ball training camp in Colombo. Subsequently, the National Badminton pool was dissolved, as Niluka was attached to the pool. more..

Champika to join SJB

Jan 26 (FT) MP Patali Champika Ranawaka attended the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Executive Committee meeting on invitation yesterday to work closely with the party in the future, Ranawaka said, issuing a press release. According to Ranawaka, SJB will discuss his future role and responsibilities at the next working committee meeting and inform him. The former Cabinet Minister downplayed allegations regarding his political future on social media, stating that he will represent more..

No room for beggars: Sri Lanka’s only centre for beggars at capacity

Jan 26 (TM) Ridiyagama Detention Centre for Beggars, the only detention centre in the country that accommodates beggars, is at full capacity at 600 inmates with no room left to house anymore. Dept of Social Services Director said that Police and prisons officials have also inquired regarding the issue. “The camp can only facilitate about 600 persons. However, now there are around 600 detainees at the camp, more..

Govt grapples to drive economic growth amidst fiscal woes

Jan 26 (ST) The recession-hit SL Treasury is grappling to drive economic growth towards 5 to 6% of GDP this year amidst current fiscal woes. The main task at hand is to raise funds to repay loans and for finance development activities from local and foreign borrowings as revenue is not sufficient to meet rising expenditure, a senior official disclosed. The anticipated actual expenditure is expected to rise to around Rs. 5 trillion exceeding the estimated expenditure of Rs. 3.52 trillion more..

Ranil should step down as UNP Leader: Ravi

Jan 26 (CT) Former Deputy Leader of UNP, Ravi Karunanayake, said UNP Leader should take the blame for its predicament and leave, if he wants the Party to regain its past glory. He said several frontline figures of the UNP were doing their best to remove Ranil Wickremesinghe as Party Leader. He added that UNP supporters longed for a new Leader. Karunanayake asserted that he and Navin Dissanayake & Arjuna Ranatunga, would never ditch the Party, despite leaving their portfolios. more..

Govt spends Rs. 5.4 mil on prisoners daily

Jan 26 (TM) Govt incurs a cost of approx Rs. 5.4 million on a daily basis for the maintenance of 20,000 prison inmates, which adds up to Rs. 1.97 billion per year. An examination of these statistics reveals that the daily cost per inmate is Rs. 270 and that therefore, for 20,000 inmates, the amount for the same would come to Rs. 5.4 million. Rs. 98,550 is spent per year on each inmate while the amount for the year for 20,000 inmates more..

Mobitel willing to co-operate on a cashless world

Jan 26 (DN) Mobitel is willing to cooperate with other industry stakeholders to bring about a society with lower cash usage. Infrastructure connectivity and non-recognition of other payment services have impeded the increased usage of digital payments. Acting CEO Mobitel Chandika Vitharena noted that he was working to bring about closer cooperation among the telecommunications providers and the banking industry to increase the usage of digital wallets. Vitharena was of the view that more..

SLPA to clear all imported goods via e-payments

Jan 26 (CT) SLPA introduced an online electronic payment system to clear imports at the Port of Colombo. This allows port users to make payments from their homes or offices. Implemented on instructions of SLPA Chair, Daya Ratnayake, this special facility will enable port users to make their payments easily. Despite Covid-19 pandemic, all terminals of Colombo Port have been made readily available with necessary arrangements towards required services for all stakeholders. more..

Triple clusters rise to 55,288 patients

Jan 26 (FT) Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons COVID-19 clusters that first emerged on 4 Oct rose to 55,288 patients, with health authorities confirming that 737 persons tested positive yesterday. 737 patients detected yesterday were associates of the Peliyagoda cluster. In addition to the triple clusters, 1,815 returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, 651 persons from the Kandakadu cluster more..

Central Bank protects Rupee

Jan 26 (CT) Central Bank of SL defence of the rupee, from the country’s foreign reserves, prevented the exchange rate (ER) breaching the Rs 200 mark amidst a culture of fear anxiety and uncertainty, due to the impingement created by the external sector on the country’s political domain, led by persistent net foreign outflows from the bourse at yesterday’s trading as well, market sources told this reporter. Consequently the ER weakened by a mere 50 cents to be trading at Rs 198/199 to USD more..

COVID-19 death toll rises to 287

Jan 26 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 death toll yesterday rose to 287 with health authorities confirming four COVID-19-related deaths. An individual from Beruwala tested positive for COVID-19 while receiving treatment at the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital and was transferred to the IDH. However, she died of COVID-pneumonia, blood poisoning and cancer yesterday. She was 49 years old. On 24 Jan, a 43-yr-old individual from Deraniyagala died receiving treatment at Homagama Base more..

New office-bearers of SJB

Jan 26 (CT) New office-bearers of the SJB were appointed at the first meeting of the Party’s working committee held yesterday. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa was nominated as Party Leader, while MP Ranjith Maddumabandara was nominated General Secretary. Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka has been appointed Party Chairman. MPs S.M. Marikkar and Manusha Nanayakkara have been appointed as more..

Peliyagoda Central Fish market records 70% sales

Jan 26 (DN) Central Fish Market Employees Federation (CFMEF) said due to the drop in the pandemic situation, 70% fish is now being distributed to all parts of the country from Peliyagoda Central Fish market every day. CFMEF, Chairman Jayasiri Wickramarachchi said this is a significant improvement by all sectors involved in the industry including the fisherman, large and small scale fish distributors and traders in the main fish market at Peliyagoda and outstation fish stalls. more..

Declare Sinharaja Elephant Corridor sensitive area: Forest officers

Jan 26 (TM) Faced with dealings concerning the ongoing development activities at the elephant corridor between the Handapan Ella and Dellawwa Ella connecting the Sinharaja Rainforest, Ratnapura District Forest Conservation officers have requested Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to declare the area as an environmentally sensitive area. “This elephant corridor runs through lands which are privately owned so they don’t need to obtain an EIA to start development. more..

Sri Lanka: Forced cremation of COVID victims’ bodies must stop: UN rights experts

Jan 26 (UN) In a joint appeal, Special Rapporteurs Ahmed Shaheed, Fernand de Varennes, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule and Tlaleng Mofokeng, said that the practice ran contrary to the beliefs of Muslims and other minorities. It ran the risk of increasing prejudice, intolerance and violence, they said in a statement, insisting that no medical or scientific evidence indicated that burying the deceased increased the risk of spreading more..

Probe underway over Negombo Prison inmates engaging in parties

Jan 26 (DM) A probe into parties being allegedly held at the Negombo Prison during the tenure of its former Superintendent Anuruddha Sampayo is underway and legal action will be taken accordingly, Prisons Department said. Prisons Spokesman Chandana Ekanayake said this in response to video footage released through the media showing inmates enjoying themselves during parties organised inside Prison cells. “The probe is being carried out by Prisons Dept & CID,” he said. more..

Health guidelines should be followed even after vaccine rollout: Dr. Herath

Jan 26 (DM) People should continue to adhere to health guidelines even after the vaccine rollout against COVID-19, Deputy Director General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said. He said that mass inoculation against the coronavirus would have a different effect in the containment of the pandemic. He said people, bar a few, had been cooperating with the health and law enforcement authorities in the fight against COVID-19. He said vaccination would reduce hospitalisations more..

MPs show little cooperation to undergo PCR tests

Jan 26 (DM) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has made a fresh appeal to MPs to undergo PCR tests for COVID-19 after only an estimated 90 MPS from both the govt and opposition have undergone the tests as of last week in the wake of at least four legislators being infected with the virus back then. With the number of MPs who have been infected now rising to 6, Speaker has urged all MPs to get them tested to prevent further spread. more..

Dialling out the drama

Jan 26 (FT) Sri Lanka has to beware, moving mindfully and prudently forward, not to be waylaid by COVID superstition of which too much is afoot these days. It is a serious virus, and it is being effectively managed here, and on the other side of hysteria, we can say so confidently, based on very low related mortality by any global standard (and even there, many being called “COVID deaths” are not actually dying due to respiratory illness, so COVID was a bystander, or perhaps at most, more..

Ranjan Ramanayake, the courts and justice

Jan 26 (FT) The recent Supreme Court order in the Ranjan Ramanayake contempt case has aroused an unusual degree of public disquiet, with almost every person you talk to expressing an opinion on the severity of the four-year sentence of hard labour on the MPs. Was the errant Member of Parliament cocking a snook at the Judiciary or scandalising the courts of justice, reducing the institution in the eyes of the public, rendering it ineffective? Our courts are said to exercise the people’s judicial powers; more..

ජනාධිපති නීතිඥ කුවේර ද සොයිසා

Contempt, freedom and responsibility

Jan 26 (Island) The imprisonment of MP Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of court has perturbed SJB beyond measure. Some Opposition legislators were at their oratorical best recently in Parliament, waxing eloquent as they did on the virtues of freedom of expression and other such democratic rights of citizens and lawmakers. They would have the public believe that Ramanayake’s jail term is too harsh a punishment. True, many were those who expected him to receive a lenient penalty. more..

Sampath Bank continues to partner Central Bank on promoting QR payments

Jan 26 (Island) Sampath Bank PLC joined hands with the Central Bank of SL yet again to raise awareness and increase acceptance and usage of LANKAQR, the common Quick Response (QR) code standard for the country that was introduced in 2020. Encouraging consumers to adopt LANKAQR for their day to day transactions, Sampath Bank held a 2-day promotional drive at one of Colombo’s latest outdoor dining destinations, Dining Capsule at Baladaksha Mawatha, more..

Video: Covid-19 vaccines to be administered free of charge in Sri Lanka

Jan 26 (AD) The govt will be providing the Covid-19 vaccines to the general public free-of-charge, says State Minister Sudarshani Fernandopulle. She said SL expects to kick off inoculation drive against novel coronavirus as soon as the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccine consignment containing nearly 600,000 vials of doses arrives from India. Nearly 300,000 health workers who are on the front line more..

UNFPA partners with Wijeya Digital to advocate for issues faced by SL women

Jan 26 (DM) United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has partnered with Wijeya Digital and Social Media to advocate for issues faced by women and girls in SL while bringing issues around women and girls to the forefront. Pandemics such as COVID-19 affect women and men differently, further exacerbating existing inequalities faced by women and girls and other marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those in extreme poverty. In response to these issues, more..

Three-member committee to look into Indian fishermen issue

Jan 26 (AD) A 3-member committee has been appointed to probe the issue concerning Indian fishermen trawling in SL maritime boundary. The committee was set up by Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda. It comprises the senior officials of both Ministry and Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, as well as representatives of fisheries unions. Fisheries Ministry said the committee is expected to submit recommendations to provide a permanent solution to prevent more..

New Constitution: Talks put off indefinitely over corona fears

Jan 26 (Island) Meetings scheduled for last Saturday (23) to discuss proposed constitutional and electoral reforms couldn’t be held as political parties believed some of those expected to attend them, had been affected by Covid-19, well informed sources said. The PHU, NFF, MEP and SLPP National List MP Tiran Alles sought postponement due to the fear of Covid-19 epidemic. They were the first group of lawmakers to more..

GMOA seeks university admission for medical students at the age of 18

Jan 26 (Island) GMOA has asked the education authorities to take steps to ensure that students should be allowed to enter medical faculties at the age of 18 and pass out as medical graduates when they turn 23. General Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Shenal Fernando urged all SL professionals to apply similar pressure on the govt. He said: “We note that parents always complain that their children lose a number of years because of avoidable delays. A few decades ago, a student could pass out as more..

Ranjan transferred to Angunukolapelessa Prison

Jan 26 (DM) MP Ranjan Ramanayake who was sentenced to 04 years of Rigorous Imprisonment has been transferred to the Angunukolapelessa Prison today. Prisons Spokesman said that he was transferred after completing his quarantine period at the Correctional Center for Youthful Offenders in Pallansena. Spokesman said that Ramanayake had been detained at the E Ward of the prison. The SC sentenced MP Ranjan Ramanayake to 04 years of rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court more..

දේශපාලන පළිගැනීම් කියලා හොරු නිදහස්...