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A reckoning in Geneva

Jan 28 (FT) The jagged asymmetry in the treatment of Sunil Ratnayake and Hejaaz Hizbullah is the most telling symptom and best illustration of the state of human rights and justice in Sri Lanka today, as well as of the character of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime. Ex-Army Sergeant Ratnayake, a Sinhala-Buddhist, was serving a sentence upheld by highest courts for the crime of cutting the throat of a five-year-old Tamil child. He was pardoned by the President and welcomed on release by more..

Whose hand was it?

Jan 28 (Island) The PCoI, probing the Easter Sunday carnage, has reportedly wound up its sittings. The last witness to testify before it was former CID Director Shanie Abeysekera. He neither rejected nor confirmed the claim made by others that there was an invisible hand behind the Easter Sunday carnage (2019). His statement on the issue smacked of gobbledygook. Several key witnesses who gave evidence before him, however, clearly stated that there had been a hidden hand more..

'මුන්ට ඕන මහින්ද මහත්තයා මරා ගන්නයි'

All MPs invited to attend random PCR tests at Parliament

Jan 28 (AD) Random PCR tests are being carried out once a week for the staff of the Parliament at the Parliament complex, says Serjeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando. All Members of Parliament have also been invited to attend these PCR tests, he stated issuing a statement today (28). With the support of the Department of the Director-General of Health Services, these tests will be conducted once a week during the sitting days as well as non-sitting days, Mr Fernando added. more..

Govt gets ready to sink sand mafia

Jan 28 (Island) The Presidential Task Force had intervened to put an end to sand being sold at exorbitant prices, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Amaraweera yesterday said a cube of sand bought from Manampitiya for Rs. 14,000 is sold in the market at Rs. 55,000. “If this situation is not brought under control, the price of sand will exceed Rs. 60,000 in a very short period of time,” he said. He said that PTF had recommended that state-owned entities intervene to control more..

GL: Vaccine no panacea, don’t lower guard

Jan 28 (Island) Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris warned that vaccines were not the panacea for the unprecedented Covid-19 challenge. Declaring that the govt was to receive the first consignment of vaccine on Thursday afternoon, Prof. Peiris, who is also the Chairman of the ruling SLPP, urged the public to follow health guidelines in spite of the launch of a high profile vaccination programme. The acute warning was given at the opening day more..

Minister Ratnayake opts for voluntary quarantine

Jan 28 (Island) Wildlife and Forest Conservation Minister C.B. Ratnayake yesterday decided to undergo quarantine voluntarily at his residence after his close colleague State Minister Arundika Fernando tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. State Minister Fernando has been directed for medical care. Rathnayake and Fernando met at a ceremony held in Walapane on Sunday. Walapane PS Chairman Ananda Hiththetiya and a group of others were also present at the event. more..

Vehicular movement around Independence Square restricted from Jan 30 – Feb 4

Jan 28 (AD) Vehicular movement around the Independence Square in Colombo will be restricted from Jan 30 until Feb 4. Rehearsals for Independence Day are set to be carried out from Jan 30 to Feb 3. National Independence Day celebrations will take place on February 04 at the Independence Square. Accordingly, the vehicular movement will be limited around Independence Square, Independence Avenue and other connecting roads from 6 am to 1 pm during rehearsals more..

Tamil parties unitedly escalate demands at UN in Geneva

Jan 28 (FT) Only God can save the Tamil people now (Thamil Makkalai Inik Kadavul Thaan Kaappaatra Vaendum) was the anguished response of respected Sri Lankan Tamil political leader Samuel James Veluppilaai Chelvanayakam after the results of the 1970 Parliamentary Elections were known. United Front (UF) led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike had swept the polls with a two-thirds majority. more..

Major impact on education by Covid on South Asian kids

Jan 28 (EN) Neighbours India and Pakistan are experiencing the impact Covid 19 has had on their education systems very differently. While the closure of schools and the introduction of e-learning has been the norm this past year in most countries, including SL, India sees the gains she has made in the field of education these past decades lost, while in Pakistan the disparities between the various economic classes in accessing education, has now become conversation of national importance. more..

Eleven SPC employees test COVID-19 positive

Jan 28 (CT) Eleven employees of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation were detected with COVID-19 yesterday, informed sources said. They included persons serving in the Post Delivery Unit, Pharma and Human Resources divisions. Although a group of employees had contracted the virus, the management attempted to ensure that work progressed normally. “An employee of the PD Unit tested positive following a PCR Test, but he wasn’t sent to hospital, and returned to his more..

Video: First consignment of COVISHIELD vaccines arrives in Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (AD) The first batch of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD Covid-19 vaccines from India reached Sri Lanka today. A special flight chartered by Air India (AI 281) touched down at the BIA at around 11.45 am this morning, with 500,000 vials of doses packed in tailor-made boxes for the purpose. Reportedly, the weight of the vaccines stored in the aircraft’s special cold storage is at 1,323kg. more..

Cabraal defends govt. decision on ECT

Jan 28 (Island) State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that obtaining the assistance of India was the ideal option for SL in developing the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port because the facility was expected mostly to be engaged in transshipment cargo to and from India. Addressing the media at the Waters Edge, the Minister said that India was the largest client obtaining the services of the ECT and most of the business of the terminal was destined to that country. more..

COVID-19 situation gone out of control: PHIU

Jan 28 (DM) The COVID-19 situation in most of the areas in the country has gone out of hands due to the negligence and poor sense of responsibility from the part of general public, the Public Health Inspectors' Union claimed. Union Secretary M. Balasuriya said people have taken the gravity of the COVID-19 situation in the country for granted. “People living in areas where curfew and isolation status are imposed, have forgotten to follow the basic health guidelines. more..

Dilhara Lokuhettige found guilty under ICC Anti-Corruption Code

Jan 28 (CI) Former SL allrounder Dilhara Lokuhettige has been found guilty of three offences under the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. An independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal has found Lokuhettige guilty of: Article 2.1.1 - for being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of a match. Article 2.1.4 - Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, more..

Facebook’s Blood Donations feature launched in Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (DN) In an effort to make it easier for people to donate blood, Facebook has launched the Blood Donations feature in SL in partnership with the Health Ministry’s National Blood Transfusion Service supported by Health Promotion Bureau. Till date, 24 blood cluster centres have been onboarded as part of the joint initiative. Globally, millions of lives depend on access to safe and sustainable blood supply. COVID-19 pandemic has also changed how and where people donate blood. more..

SL overtakes Singapore in Coronavirus

Jan 28 (EN) Sri Lanka has overtaken Singapore with total confirmed Coronavirus cases reaching 60,694 compared to 59,825 with steady growth in numbers in a second wave, according to data from SL had recorded 290 deaths compared to 29 in Singapore. SL had 7,838 active cases compared to 258 in Singapore. Singapore had an early outbreak which it controlled, while SL controlled the disease in early 2020 but failed to effectively control a second outbreak. more..

70 students infected with COVID-19

Jan 28 (CT) Secretary of CTU, Joseph Stalin said, number of students from recently opened schools, who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus had increased to 70 as of yesterday. Subsequent to the new school term commencing on 26 Jan, in the Galle District, 43 students from 26 schools in the Galle District were infected with the virus, so said Regional Epidemiologist Dr. Venura Singaarachchi. more..

Dinara, Luka, Savini and Nilaweera brothers shine as Tennis Nationals edge closer...

Jan 28 (Island) Men’s doubles champions Chathurya Nilaweera and Tehan Wijemanne added the Under-18 boys’ doubles title to their impressive record as they lived up to their reputation to beat Luka Knees and Kaveesha Ratnayake in the under 18 age category final of the Tennis Nationals 2020 at the Tennis Association courts on Wednesday. On Tuesday, Chathurya Nilaweera was prevented from clinching another title when Knees fought back in the third set (6-2, 5-7, 10-3) to win the U-18 more..

Sri Lanka sees highest single-day COVID-19 recoveries as 1,869 more regain health

Jan 28 (AD) Sri Lanka saw the highest daily count of recoveries from COVID-19 today as 1,869 more persons who were infected with the virus returned to health. Epidemiology Unit’s data showed that 54,435 patients in total have so far been discharged from medical care upon recovery. Majority of recoveries were reported by Giriulla Treatment Centre (157), Dr Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (127), Gallela Treatment Centre (118), Bingiriya Treatment Centre (116), Polgolla Treatment Centre (115), more..

Kumudesh warns govt not to create crisis by vaccinating people in a hurry

Jan 28 (Island) Certain Health Ministry officials were falsely claiming that they could start the vaccination process immediately after Sri Lanka took delivery of the vaccine consignments, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science, Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday. He told The Island that the vaccination process was not that simple and those false claims might make the people lower their guard. Kumudesh said: more..

Father-son duo of JAT Holdings acknowledged in LMD’s 2020 Sri Lankans

Jan 28 (FT) Paying tribute to Sri Lanka’s top business people, JAT Holdings’ renowned father-son duo was recently acknowledged in LMD’s latest 2020 A-list edition. Aelian Gunawardene, Founder and Managing Director of JAT Holdings, was recognised among the top 100 Sri Lankan business people who continue to drive the nation’s engine of growth, whereas his son Richard Gunawardene, Director of Head and Strategic Planning, was listed among LMD’s A-list of 25 leading millennials. more..

Consider new legal provisions to extradite suspects living abroad: ASG requests PCoI

Jan 28 (DM) Although there is an extradition law in the country, there could be certain hindrances in bringing such suspects who were behind Easter Sunday attacks and currently in abroad with the existing legal provisions, the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) who represented the Attorney General's (AG) Department said. The ASG pointed out to the Commission that there is a matter whether the existing legal provisions are adequate to conduct a successful investigation. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Our populism, their populism

Jan 29 (CT) Ever since Athens and Rome, populists have been trying to win it big. Under them words acquire new meanings. Thus people become the people, the addition of an article investing an otherwise hackneyed term with sanctimonious awe. I am the people, Jayalal Rohana declares at a crucial moment in Jayantha Chandrasiri’s Hankithi Dahathuna, and indeed for much of its history populism claimed to not just stand for, but be with, the populi. Populists did this by pitting voters more..

Demanding a change in the face of politics

Jan 29 (DM) During the COVID-19 pandemic several SL expatriates chose to return home and they were brought back in batches. But why did they leave their homeland in the first place? The majority of them left the shores of SL because they found two things to their liking in the country they adopted; one is a better pay for their labour and the second is they preferred the refined taste of individuals who above all regard all humans as equal. In most of these countries the law is the same for everybody more..

Nandasena govt appoints Tissa Attanayake’s daughter as diplomat to Australia

Jan 29 (CT) Breaching his own pledges to end nepotism in govt Prez Rajapaksa’s Govt recently delivered a bonanza of diplomatic posts to the sons, daughters and nephews of ministers and regime loyalists and in a shocking twist, the list includes the Dulmini Attanayake, the daughter of newly minted National Organizer of the main opposition SJB. CT learns that Dulmini Attanayake has been appointed as the Third Secretary more..

A lesson for Sri Lanka’s Prez from the failed Trump administration

Jan 29 (CT) Many in Civil Society are of opinion that the Prez, in keeping with the commitments of his successful election manifesto accepted by a majority of voting citizens and the pledges he reiterated upon the assumption of office and the inaugural address to the parliament, must ensure that the govt led by him, including his cabinet and the key decision making executives, desist from knowingly uttering falsehoods, presenting non-transparent information or engaging in deceptive acts; more..

It’s natural for U.S. ambassador to stand for Indian involvement in ECT

Jan 29 (DM) The business model proposed by the Govt for the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of Colombo in partnership with an Indian company has come under severe criticism by the trade unions including those affiliated to the govt. A section of the powerful Buddhist clergy has also thrown its weight behind the port workers’ agitation- a move that really made it difficult for the Government to decide on it. Some eminent Buddhist monks such as Ven. Elle Gunawamsa Thera more..

WB cites Puttalam experience: Free movement of people, challenge to combat...

Jan 29 (CT) Puttalam District which negotiated the first wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic, however, finds it challenging to negotiate the second, currently plaguing the country, the WB said in a document released on 18 Jan. Laboratories are overburdened, and there is no system to prioritise tests, the WB, quoting Consultant Community Physician Dr. Thushani Dabrera from the District said. Dabrera, having worked as more..

Reconciliation in Practice

Jan 29 (GV) Our country is ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse and our survival depends on equal treatment. Discrimination and violence against Tamils led to civil war and displacement. After the 2019 terrorist attacks, the govt detained hundreds of Muslims without charge and turned a blind eye when mobs attacked Muslim homes & businesses. Today, media outlets spread rumors blaming Muslims for Covid-19, while govt mandates a forced cremation policy that strips Muslims of dignity in death. more..

$114 million will counter COVID

Jan 29 (CT) SL received 500,000 doses of the expensive anti-COVID-19 vaccine from India, free of charge from the Indian Govt yesterday. The efficacy of the Indian vaccine is 90%. These vaccines have to be stored between two and eight degrees Celsius to ensure their potency is preserved. According to Lalith Weeratunga, Chairman of Prez Taskforce Appointed to obtain the COVID-19 Vaccine, the vaccines would be distributed in freezer trucks belonging to the State Pharmaceuticals Corp more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Equipping Young Adults to Shine in Next Steps in New Normal

Jan 29 (ST) Young adults have to grapple with myriad issues today as they face a very uncertain future in the new normal. Education prospects, career prospects, life prospects are evolving. Competition is increasing. Only the fittest can survive in every sector. Rainbow Institute of Communication and English, which has been at the helm of training in Communication, English and Soft skills for over a decade has successfully tailored it’s training to meet the new challenges of more..

Pathiraja: The adaptable film maker

Jan 29 (Island) As we remember Pathiraja the filmmaker on his third death anniversary, falling on the 28th of Jan, I want to remember him for his versatility. Much has been written about Dr. Pathi as many of his students and the younger cohort of filmmakers and fans knew him, but little on his television contributions. At a time when the television medium was in its early stages, Dr. Pathi turned to it, to create an idiom that branched off from his usual cinematic style, adapting it to television more..

It’s all De Mel’s faults

Jan 29 (Island) A senior sports writer warned us that less than ten percent of people who read this article are going to like it. But facts are stubborn. As one visionary priest – late Fr. Bernard Quintus OMI used to say, cheap popularity is not going to get us anywhere. With the stepping down of Ashantha De Mel, cricket has found a scapegoat on whom all sins are pinned. It’s as if Sri Lankan cricket hit rock bottom due to De Mel’s blunders. more..

Women in Management, IFC and Govt of Australia honour Sri Lankan women

Jan 29 (FT) Neelika Malaviga, a university professor known for her work in researching COVID-19, is among the winners of this year’s ‘Top 50’ Professional and Career Women Awards 2020, by Women in Management (WIM), in collaboration with Women in Work, a partnership between IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Govt of Australia. The awards – now in their 10th year – saw inspirational business and career women honoured for the roles they have played in their more..

Net foreign selling at CSE tops Rs. 6 b in less than a month despite market’s 30% gain

Jan 29 (FT) In less than a month net foreign selling at the Colombo Stock Market has surpassed the Rs. 6 billion mark, renewing concerns among analysts that SL is increasingly being overlooked largely owing to macro concerns. On Wednesday, net foreign selling was Rs. 1.3 billion, which First Capital said was the highest figure after nearly 37 weeks. This saw year to date net foreign selling amount to Rs. 6.18 billion. Asia Securities said the estimated net foreign selling topped in JKH more..

Over 100k migrant workers ineligible for help

Jan 29 (TM) Over 100,000 SL migrant workers registered under the SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) have service contracts that are out of date and require renewal, making them ineligible for any coverage or benefits provided by the SLBFE during this Covid-19 pandemic. SLBFE Spokesman Mangala Randeniya said that 100,000 SL migrant workers from the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Maldives should renew more..

Editorial: Virus and scourge

Jan 29 (Island) The elusive virus the world is busy fighting, with might and main, albeit without much success, seems to have eclipsed another danger to humankind—the radicalisation of the youth. This phenomenon usually plagues trouble-torn societies in the developing world full of inequalities and racial and religious tensions that fuel armed conflicts. But other nations are also not safe as evident from the massacres in Christchurch, NZ (2019) and in Utoya, Norway (2012) and stabbing attacks in more..