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Chess: Sri Lanka’s top 12 vie for honours

Jan 29 (CT) Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) commenced over the board chess after the second wave of COVID-19 yesterday with the 8th SL Grand Prix at CFSL Headquarters, Nugegoda, adhering to strict health guidelines. Twelve top Chess players, including three National team players and the National Amateur Chess Champion, are participating in this major Chess event. CFSL is offering Rs. 110,000/- as cash awards along with Trophies and Medals to the winners. more..

'UNP to rebuild party from grassroots level'

Jan 29 (FT) The UNP will continue to rebuild the party from the grassroots level in the coming months, giving an opportunity for new blood to rise up the ranks forming a strong organisational base around electorates, said Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday. Wijewardene made these comments following a function at party headquarters Sirikotha, to assume duties as an office bearer for 2021, more..

Uma Oya Project receives global recognition

Jan 29 (CT) The Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project, which was shortlisted (finalist category) at the ITA Global Tunnelling and Underground Space Awards 2020, won the Certification of Appreciation under the Project of the Year 2020 (€50M – €500M) category. Following a lengthy judging session, which took place on 12 October, 16 judges, drawn from across the industry, finalised the shortlisted entries spanning the eight categories of the ITA Tunnelling Awards 2020. more..

7 more COVID-19 deaths; toll rises to 297

Jan 29 (FT) The country’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 297 with health authorities confirming seven COVID-19 deaths, of which two deaths occurred yesterday. A 73-year-old individual from Nittambuwa passed away at his residence yesterday. The cause of death is cited as high blood pressure, diabetes and a heart attack associated with COVID-19. A 76-year-old individual from Ratnapura yesterday passed away while receiving treatment at the Ratnapura Teaching Hospital. more..

Who knows what to do with 1m kilos of smuggled turmeric?

Jan 29 (ST) SL Customs, saddled with one million kilos of imported turmeric, is awaiting orders from the govt on its disposal. A consignment of 62 containers containing 27 metric tonnes arrived last July after the ban on turmeric in Dec 2020 was imposed. The stocks are being stored at the Customs storage facility in Orugodawatte, Colombo. A directive to importers to return the consignment to country of origin, as the govt directed, more..

HSBC Global Research predicts: Impressive Sri Lankan bounce back

Jan 29 (DN) A research report published by HSBC Global Research last December expects Sri Lankan GDP to grow by 7% y-o-y in 2021, largely due to base effects since they estimated a 5% drop in GDP during 2020, new President of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) Nandika Buddhipala told the 62nd AGM at Kingsbury Hotel on Tuesday. This report predicted that Sri Lanka should bounce back impressively. This will be the biggest upgrade to their forecasts. more..

380 million allocated for sports good of rural schools

Jan 29 (ST) The govt is set to reserve Rs. 380 million to develop sports infrastructure facilities of rural schools, a project through which less privileged schools will benefit with sports equipment and goods. The proposed project will cover all sports disciplines involved by schools from the rural areas to purchase the much needed sports goods. This project, propose and carried out by the Ministry of State Administration, is supervised by the Ministry of Education, through which sports equipment more..

Govt to crack the hard nut of too many institutions

Jan 29 (FT) Govt is to address the thorny issue of too many, and often overlapping, institutions in the coconut sector by setting up a single organisation. Cabinet this week approved the moves to amend the Coconut Development Act, to combine all Govt institutions regulating the coconut sector. Coconut Cultivation Board, Coconut Development Authority and Coconut Research Institute have been established under Coconut Development Act more..

Nestlé receives SLSI COVID-19 Safety Management System certification

Jan 29 (FT) Nestlé is one of the first F&B companies in SL to receive the new COVID-19 Safety Management System certification by the SL Standards Institution (SLSI). The certification verifies that Nestlé Lanka’s sites are protected from risk of exposure to COVID-19, and that all recommended safety measures are in place across its activities, products and services. “As a responsible company that cares deeply for our people, we are working tirelessly to keep our employees, more..

Badminton Federation expects Niluka to be fit for postponed Nationals

Jan 29 (Island) Badminton Federation of SL is expecting Olympian Niluka Karunaratne to be fit to compete at the Badminton Nationals 2020 which has been postponed by one week to Feb 17. Trevor Reckerman, the CEO of Sri Lanka Badminton said that Karunaratne who was found Covid 19 positive was doing his part to keep fit while in quarantine. “He is doing his best to keep himself fit. We are expecting him to be fit to compete at the Badminton Nationals 2020,” he said. more..

Govt reserves 2 m Pfizer doses

Jan 29 (TM) Govt has reserved two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine which are to be purchased soon. Secretary to the State Ministry of Primary Healthcare, Epidemics, and Covid Disease Control Dr. Amal Harsha De Silva said the reservation was made by the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC). “The SPC has reserved about two million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be purchased and received soon.” more..

Chathurya wins 3rd consecutive doubles title

Jan 29 (Island) Chathurya Nilaweera clinched his third consecutive doubles title when he paired his brother Vichinthya to beat Jaitra de Saram and Zaidh Zihar in the Under-16 boys’ final at the Tennis Nationals 2020 concluded in Colombo on Thursday. Nilaweera brothers scored 6-2, 6-7, 10-7 in the final to cap a remarkable National Championship for the family as they took home four titles. Chathurya who reached the semi-finals in the men’s singles, later paired Tehan Wijemanne to win both more..

Pramodya W. to replace de Mel?

Jan 29 (TM) Former World Cup winning SL fast bowler Pramodya Wickramasinghe will most likely be appointed as the chief of National Cricket Selectors replacing outgoing Ashantha de Mel. “Three names have already been submitted for the approval of the (Sports) Minister. The name of the Head of the panel has been nominated most likely as Pramodya (Wickramasinghe). One of the other two names is speculated to be of another former SL fast bowler Vinothen John,” more..

US$ 57m UDA project stagnates for 4 years

Jan 29 (CT) Governor of the North-Central Province, Maheepala Herath revealed that French aid amounting to Rs 280 million received for the Anuradhapura Integrated Urban Development Project (AIUDP) has been merely spent on maintaining its officers and consultants without spending even a cent on buying a single brick for the intended urban development project. Revelation was made in response to complaints made by people’s representatives more..

Five new orders under 2017 Foreign Exchange Act to come before P’ment

Jan 29 (FT) Govt is to present five new foreign exchange regulations for Parliament approval to ensure laws cater to the present situation. This is following Cabinet this week approving the move to bring amendments to the orders and regulations of the Foreign Exchange Act No. 12 of 2017. Govt said according to the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Act No. 12 of 2017, the minister in charge of finance is authorised to issue orders for the implementation of the provisions of Act subject to approval more..

CPC, LIOC to enjoy extra duty waiver on fuel imports

Jan 29 (FT) Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has recently granted an enhanced duty waiver on Customs duty on the import of petrol and diesel, a move that will benefit State-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and listed Lanka IOC PLC. Effective from 1 January, the new waiver ranges from a low of Rs. 11 per litre to a high of Rs. 17 per litre. For example, the duty on Petrol having Octane 92 was at Rs. 50 per litre and there was an existing duty waiver of Rs. 7 per litre. more..

Record 892 more persons test positive for COVID-19

Jan 29 (FT) The triple COVID-19 cluster that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons, yesterday exceeded 57,630 patients with the detection of 892 COVID-19 positive persons. This is the highest number of COVID-19 patients detected in a day, with 887 patients detected on 21 January and 878 patients detected on 2 Dec 2020. Patients detected yesterday include 852 associates of Peliyagoda Covid cluster. more..

Romanian job market to expand for Sri Lankan workers

Jan 29 (TM) SL migrant worker recruiting market in Romania is expected to increase with authorised employment agencies in SL recruiting and supplying personnel for all categories of employment in Romania. SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) Spokesman Mangala Randeniya said that the total number of vacancies approved in Romania was 52,685, while the total number of departures recorded was 535. Randeniya said that authorised employment agencies are allowed to recruit more..

COVID-19 patients to be confined for 2 days at home prior to being taken to hospitals

Jan 29 (DM) COVID-19 infected patients have to be confined to their homes for at least two days prior to be taken to hospitals and treatment centres due to the insufficient space at hospitals and treatment centres, sources said. According to the Public Health Inspectors Union, nearly 200 patients infected with COVID-19 in the Gampaha District had not been taken to hospitals by Wednesday (27) afternoon and therefore, had to remain in their homes. All patients, who were confined to their homes in more..

Bachelet concerns: HRCSL to discuss with Govt delegation

Jan 29 (TM) Human Rights Commission of SL (HRCSL) will discuss the serious human rights-related concerns raised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), led by Michelle Bachelet, once the govt delegation to Geneva is finalised. HRCSL Chairperson Jagath Balasuriya said that the HRCSL does not yet know as to who would comprise the delegation led by Ministry of Foreign Affairs more..

Structural reforms key to recreating the State and the social system

Jan 29 (FT) By now it is clear that SL as a country has fallen into the worst of times as never before. It has been possible to keep the COVID mortality rate comparatively at a lower level, which, of course, was mainly due to the BCG vaccine administered to almost every citizen; yet currently, the pandemic is spreading freely, without control. The manner in which the COVID pandemic is being handled can be considered as an important index reflecting the extent of failure of SL as a State. more..

Rupee is under stress with mounting debt commitments

Jan 29 (FT) SL Rupee, which has been under severe pressure during the past couple of weeks, slipped to nearly Rs. 200 per US dollar in the spot market last Friday. Banks were selling dollars at Rs. 199.19 (importer’s side) and buying at Rs. 194.31 (exporters’ side). The rupee depreciation has accelerated since early this month. Rupee depreciated by 7% against the US dollar during the last 12 months. The depreciation was even larger against some other key currencies such as more..

ඇමති කබ්රාල් කිව්ව ටූල්ස් නැතිවෙලා!

Video: Police recover firearm allegedly used in Panadura shooting

Jan 29 (AD) A firearm believed to have been used in the shooting incident at Keselwatta, Panadura which killed a 32-year-old has been recovered by the police. In addition, 16 rounds of live ammunition and a magazine have also been seized from Wanduramulla area, DIG Ajith Rohana said. Meanwhile, investigations have uncovered that the perpetrators had rented a house for 7 seven days to hatch the murder plot. The man who rented out the house to the murderers is currently under more..

Expolanka Holdings profits soar amid pandemic disruptions

Jan 29 (EN) Profits at Expolanka Holdings Plc soared to 4.5 billion rupees in the December 2020 quarter, up from 15 fold from 302 million rupees a year earlier, amid elevated freight rates in a Coronavirus pandemic. The group reported earnings 2.33 rupees per share. In the nine months to December the group reported earnings of 5.54 rupees per share on total earnings of 10.8 billion rupees. The firm posted similar results in the Sept quarter on revenues of 49 billion rupees. more..

Video: Sri Lanka kicks off COVID-19 inoculation drive

Jan 29 (AD) Three military personnel have received the first jabs of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccines in SL at the Army Hospital in Colombo. SL kicked off the vaccination drive against COVID-19 at eight hospitals in Western Province this morning – Colombo National Hospital, Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Homagama Base Hospital, Colombo East Base Hospital, more..

Stock trading halted over glitch at broker systems

Jan 29 (EN) Trading at Colombo Stock Exchange was halted shortly after noon over a technical fault at the back office systems of several brokers, an official said. About a dozen brokers were affected, CSE Chief Executive Rajeeva Bandaranaike said. “We thought it was only fair to halt trading,” Bandaranaike said “The system will be back up shortly.” It was not a problem with the trading system of the CSE, he said. Trading was halted at 12.07 hours. Trading resumed about 45 minutes later. more..

Johnston: Why were vociferous unions silent when Hambantota Port was given to China?

Jan 29 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando says that trade unions and civil society organisations now accusing the govt of trying to sell off the Eastern Container Terminal of the Colombo Port to India were silent when the Hambantota port was sold by the former govt. Speaking to media after a meeting of Kurunegala District Rural Infrastructure Development Committee, he said that there would be no selling of the ECT to India as alleged by some opposition parties & their supporters. more..

'Sri Lanka exporters should convert, rupee worth 185 to dollar'

Jan 29 (EN) SL’s rupee should be around 185 to the US dollar State Minister for Money and Capital Markets Nivard Cabraal has said urging exporters to convert dollar inflows without holding them back. “I think the rupee should be around 185 to the US dollar depending on the macroeconomic factors,” Minister Cabraal said. Cabraal a former central bank Governor kept the rupee stable for several years, more..

Two Aitken Spence companies rank in top 10 Most Awarded by LMD

Jan 29 (FT) Aitken Spence and Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings have emerged in the top 10 Most Awarded by LMD. Aitken Spence is the only Group that has two companies in the top 10 ranking. This is an inaugural edition of the Most Awarded ranks the nation’s most revered corporations. Aitken Spence (19 awards) and Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings (18) round off the top 10 in the Most Awarded listing for 2019/20. The total number of awards describe the cumulative awards won between Jan 2019 more..

Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama; first health official to receive COVISHIELD vaccine

Jan 29 (DM) Senior Consultant Physician at the IDH Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, became the first healthcare official to receive the COVISHIELD vaccine in SL, State Minister Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said. He was inoculated during a special programme held at the IDH while a senior nurse at the hospital became the second health official to receive the vaccine. It was expected to vaccinate 2,000 within today. "An individual will be administered with two doses of the vaccine more..

JVP faults govt for reopening universities, schools without providing proper facilities

Jan 29 (Island) JVP-led NPP has called on the govt to stop tinkering with the country’s education sector because such action would only result in negative outcomes. MP Dr Hairini Amarasuriya said that the govt’s failure to manage the COVID-19 pandemic was clearly visible when one looked at the prevailing situation in the country’s edu sector. “Govt seems to think that reopening of schools & unis would be the solution. more..

SLC summoned before COPE Committee

Jan 29 (DM) Officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket have been summoned before the COPE Committee on Feb 11, Committee Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath said. Meanwhile, National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has also been called before the COPE on Feb 12 where the Special Audit Report on the NCPA relating to child abuse in SL will be taken into discussion. Accordingly, the project of Resettlement of families living in High-risk Land Slide Zones in the District of Kandy of the Central Province more..

BMICH honours late Bandaranaikes

Jan 29 (Island) BMICH, SL’s most recognisable and iconic landmark, recently organised a religious event followed by a blood donation campaign in commemoration and honor of late PM S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, late PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike and of former Cabinet Minister and Speaker of Parliament Anura Bandaranaike and to invoke blessings for protection of the BMICH, its employees, their families and country from Covid-19. With wellwishers and BMICH staff signing up, more..

Sanctuary land grab: President hoodwinked?

Jan 29 (Island) Plans are underway to degazette more land area from the Dahayiyagala sanctuary which acts as a corridor for the elephants in the Udawalawa National Park and Lunugamwehere National Park. A senior official of the Forest Dept said that despite their objections, land clearance was continuing and already between 250 and 300 acres of forest had been destroyed. Villagers would meet the Forest Department more..

SLPP backbenchers unhappy with some Ministers

Jan 29 (NR) Backbenchers of the SLPP accuse certain Ministers of sabotaging the programme of the incumbent govt. MP Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon said they are prepared to make a strong stand against such persons, if they continue to derail the programme of the present administration. MP Tennakoon said a President has been elected for five years and he has presented a programme for the country. He said therefore the President should be allowed to take forward his programme. more..

Cruise-themed goods on sale to fundraise for preschool in Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (CIN) Pascal Wepner, a popular cruise blogger in Germany, is raising 31,000 euros to build a preschool in Sri Lanka with the help of a non-profit organization, Fly & Help. “We have children of our own and are doing very well. Many people in the world are far worse off than we are and, therefore, we want to give something back to the people and especially the children of the world,” Wepner, who runs two cruise-related German-language blogs Kreuzfluenzer and Schiffe & Kreuzfahrt said. more..

SL: UN rights chief decries mounting abuses

Jan 29 (HRW) The UNHRC, at its upcoming session, should act on the recommendations of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The council should adopt a new resolution to enhance scrutiny of SL’s deteriorating human rights situation and pursue accountability for past and recent violations. In her report released on Jan 27, 2021, High Commissioner for Human Rights more..

'Give priority to people’s aspirations'

Jan 29 (CT) State Minister of Tanks, Reservoirs and Irrigation Development related to Rural Paddy Fields, Anuradha Jayaratne instructed his officials to prepare plans giving priority to the aspirations of the people when carrying out any construction or renovation work. He said if any construction or renovation is done without considering the views of the pubic, the expectations of the Govt and the people will not be fulfilled and no party will be able to get the benefit of it. more..

Gampaha DCC decides to take over Muthurajawela Sensitive Zone area...

Jan 29 (Island) Gampaha District Coordinating Committee on Wednesday decided to take over the part of the Muthurajawela Environmentally Sensitive Zone, which is said to be owned by a private party. It has done so to prevent constructions in that section of the marsh, a senior environmentalist said. He said that the decision had been taken at a meeting chaired by Western Province Governor Air Marshal (retd) Roshan Goonetileke and District Coordinating Committee Chairman Sahan Withana. more..