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US$ 2.5bn currency swap deals with China and India

Jan 3 (ST) Govt will shortly opt for currency swap arrangements with China and India for US$ 2.5 billion aimed at boosting SL’s foreign currency reserves and maintaining foreign exchange liquidity, Treasury and CB officials said. Cabinet approval will be sought shortly for the proposed currency swap with China’s Central Bank – People’s Bank of China — and Reserve Bank of India. A currency swap is a transaction in which two parties exchange an equivalent amount of money with each other more..

Mixed bag of issues for ruling alliance: More difficult than 2020

Jan 3 (ST) A worrying reality that has escaped most Sri Lankans appears to be the fast-changing national security landscape as a New Year has just begun. Apart from painfully inflicting people or killing them, the deadly coronavirus is unbelievably the cause. Exacerbating it enormously is the deteriorating economic situation. It is now 11 years, 7 months and 16 days since the security forces and Police militarily defeated LTTE. more..

Recognising garment workers

Jan 4 (ST) On Wednesday, 83 employees of a garment factory at Avissawella had tested positive for COVID-19. Ever since the Minuwangoda cluster broke out in Brandix factories earlier this year, the number of victims from factories in the garment sector has been on the rise and along with that, the poor women, who toiled hard for the benefit of others, have also had to face a different kind of stigmatization. These women who were called juki girls or cornered with similar degrading labels more..

For safer roads…

Jan 4 (CT) A total of 39 individuals were killed in fatal road accidents during 10 days across the country in the last week of December, Police said. Total of 527 accidents were reported where 122 sustained serious injuries while 238 were slightly injured. Around 130 had to face property losses as a result of the road accidents. According to a recent study, the highest number of accidents in the country takes place between 25 Dec 2020 and 5 Jan 2021. Police will be conducting special operations more..

'SLPP-SLFP alliance: Intact despite grievances'

Jan 4 (TM) Over the past several weeks, the marriage between the SLPP and the SLFP showed signs of breaking, and the statements made by the SLFP to the media were thought to have added fuel to the fire. However, following the recent party leaders’ meeting and the SLFP’s meeting with the Prez and PM, things seem to have been patched up at present. The Sunday Morning spoke to SLPP General Secretary MP Sagara Kariyawasam, more..

Countering harmful speech: Why trust the State?

Jan 4 (TM) Words can, and often do, harm others. A society is usually justified in restricting speech that causes harm. The nature and extent of such restrictions depend on the type of harm involved. States are then expected to strike the right balance between the interests of the individual engaging in the speech and the interests of others affected by the speech. Much depends on how much trust we can place in the state to strike that balance in good faith. more..

Tourists in a pandemic! Is it dicing with nation’s health?

Jan 4 (ST) Lanka left her door ajar this week to let a trickle of Ukrainians slip into the island to be given a right royal conducted tour that will cover 12 designated spots of tourist interest within a period spanning 10 to 14 days. After soaking the sun for seven days on the island’s southern beaches guarded by security forces to prevent natives access to the hotels’ otherwise public beach fronts, the group — 185 of them — that flew in on Monday, will visit the Yala National Park, more..

Covid-19 potion gets nod to begin clinical trials

Jan 4 (CT) A shaman claiming that he invented a miracle cure with the help of goddess Kali for COVID-19 and the media hype that followed could rank as the hottest topic in SL in 2020, the year which we bade farewell two days ago. Even though we could find at least 20 persons who claim they have found a cure for the virus, only one of them was able to attract the attention of the nation – Dhammika Bandara, the shaman of more..

Yet more about the Burghers of Ceylon/SL

Jan 4 (Island) Of those Burghers, Oh! Those Burghers, we can only dream In the Arts, in Sports, in Law, or the Groves of Academe They were the brightest of the bright, the very, very, best. Whether North or South of Lanka, whether East or West. Burghers were indeed a very talented and dedicated community. They were a minority in numbers, but their contribution to this country was major in every sense of the word. Unfortunately for this country the post 1956, cry of Sinhala Only and more..

Quackery, cozenage and double standards

Jan 4 (Island) Legal action has been taken against a quack who exploited a large number of cancer patients. Department of Ayurveda and the police raided his treatment centre in Tissamaharama and sealed it, during the weekend. They should have done so a long time ago because many a patient who received treatment from him died, according to media reports. He has been living in clover at the expense of the poor patients if some of his assets shown on television are any indication. more..

Sri Lanka Epic 4hr Supercut

How important is media contribution in building a healthy nation?

Jan 4 (SO) A program titled Niyamuwo - Nidahas Aragalaya guiding a countr y to be free from tobacco and alcohol, was organised by the National Authority of Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA), the focal point for tobacco and alcohol control, functioning under the Ministry of Health, on Dec 23, 2020. The Chief Guest at this event was Health Minister, Pavithra Wanniarachchi. This was the first occasion in the history of NATA that a ceremony was held to felicitate media personnel striving to create more..

On bargains struck with the devil and a New Year with little cheer

Jan 4 (ST) The sorry sight of a meekly genuflecting Minister of Health before a crowd of militant monks in front of the Presidential Secretariat who were insisting that, they brought this Presidency and this Govt into power and that, no Muslims were involved in that exercise is just an inkling of potential hatreds and misery that 2021 holds in store for Sri Lanka. This is, mind you, quite in addition to the frightfully burgeoning covid-19 virus spread and the decimation of the economy. more..

Lekamge’s omission stirs debate over national pool selection criteria

Jan 4 (ST) Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) is confident of winning medals at the Asian Athletic Championships scheduled to be held in May going by the performances at the 98th National Athletic Championship but pundits are questioning the selection criteria following the omission of a leading athlete in the 41-member Elite and National pools. There was no place for Dilhani Lekamge, javelin throw SAG gold medallist, Asian C'ship silver medallist more..

Gladwyn re-elected NCC President

Jan 4 (CT) Gladwyn Anandappa was re-elected uncontested as the President of the Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) club for the ensuing year at the 131st AGM held recently at their club house. Senaka Obeysekarawas elected Secretary and Amitha Abeynaike, Treasurer Angelo Perera led NCC in the 2019/20 cricket season. NCC were runner-up in the 50 over tournament and the League tournament, which was delayed due to the pandemic. The club won 5 out of 6 matches and qualified for more..

Resuming school rugby far from reality

Jan 4 (ST) Hopes of foreseeing a possible start to school rugby activities remains far from reality, according to the Vice President of SL Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) Susantha Mendis. School rugby came to a standstill on March 14, 2020, after the Ministry of Education took a decision to shut down schools across Sri Lanka, with the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the SLSRFA has made several attempts to resume Schools Rugby League C'ship, more..

Anrich Nortje six blows Sri Lanka away before Dean Elgar cements strangle hold

Jan 4 (CI) Anrich Nortje gutted Sri Lanka's middle order after Wiaan Mulder set a top-order collapse in motion, as South Africa skittled the visitors for 157 and moved into a commanding position at the Wanderers. Nortje frequently hit speeds of above 145kph on a pitch with steepling bounce at times, unsettling several SL batsmen with his bouncer, and backing them into positions where they did not trust their defence against him. more..

Rise of Anrich Nortje heralds new era of security for South Africa

Jan 4 (CI) Let's get this out of the way: of all the things CSA has to worry about, Anrich Nortje signing a Kolpak deal is not one of them. We're mentioning it both because of his career-best haul and because it's that time of year and against this opposition when South Africa's most promising quicks have historically sprung surprises about the directions of their careers. Kyle Abbott signed off at Newlands during the New Year's Test against SL four years ago and Duanne Olivier's last appearance more..

Northshore signs partnership with Lincoln Uni College to bring multitude of study...

Jan 4 (FT) Northshore International Campus, SL’s state-of-the-art modern university, very recently tied up with Malaysian-based Lincoln University College (LUC), bringing a multitude of study options for students here at home. The degree programs are fully recognised by the UGC. The partnership between Northshore Int'l Campus and LUC was signed on 1 Dec. The programs on offer range from foundation and undergraduate through to doctoral level with the widest choice of fields including Business, Computing, Engineering, more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Sri Lanka reports two more COVID-19 deaths

Jan 4 (AD) Sri Lanka’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic went up with two more deaths caused by the virus being reported. Two females aged 57 and 76 years have succumbed to the virus in this manner. The 57-year-old woman had succumbed to a severe chest infection and COVID-19 pneumonia. The Welipenna resident had been transferred from the Kalutara General Hospital to the Homagama Base Hospital where she passed away today (3). more..

Wholesale trading hub for Mihintale

Jan 4 (DM) The govt will set up a commercial trading hub in Mihintale to cater to ten districts in the northern half of the country while decentralizing the Colombo - based trade monopoly. Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane said that it would be a multi-purpose trading centre with facilities for wholesale trading of essential items. He said a landmass adjacent to the Mihintale railway station had been identified for the project. A discussion with the political leaders representing the district more..

Sri Lanka Telecom and Mobitel join forces

Jan 4 (FT) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and SLT Mobitel on 1 Jan unveiled their unified brand identity forming a formidable force creating a lasting legacy as the national Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions leader. The historic unification of products and services were symbolically launched at the event that took place with the participation of Sri Lanka Telecom Group Chairman Rohan Fernando, more..

As England visit SL: Covid-19 hits SLC

Jan 4 (TM) An employee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has tested positive for Covid-19 and been isolated with immediate effect, the Cricket Board said. “The SLC also took steps to immediately isolate the direct contacts of the infected employee and also has carried out PCR tests of the same today (3). The group was also subjected to antigen tests, and the results have shown negative. The infected employee has been found to be Covid-19-positive, following a PCR test carried out more..

Record judges to expedite cases

Jan 4 (ST) Justice Ministry has decided to create a new administrative position known as Record Judge for a pre-trial ahead of court hearings. The position will be above the existing Registrar position and will come under the purview of the Judicial Services Commission. (JSC). The position of Record Judge will be created in all courts. The Justice Ministry’s Additional Secretary Piyumanthi Peiris said amendments to the Judicature Act would be brought in to give legal powers. more..

68,000 Sri Lankans awaiting return

Jan 4 (MFA) Despite the worsening global situation triggered by the Covid pandemic, process of repatriation of Sri Lankans, one of the most pressing challenges at hand has been judiciously spear headed by Foreign Ministry under directive of Minister Gunawardana, enduring insurmountable challenges overseas amid lockdowns, isolations, curfews & closure of air space, to ensure swift return of Sri Lankans who are in distress. more..

Ponnambalam’s TNPF comes out opposing Provincial Councils

Jan 4 (Island) The Tamil National People’s Front, on Saturday, expressed its opposition to the provincial council system which is being promoted by many other Tamil political parties. TNPF leader MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said that the Provincial Councils could neither solve the national problem nor were suitable for a country the size of Sri Lanka. MP Ponnambalam said that he would campaign against the Provincial council system in and out of parliament. more..

Anniversary of Royal Navy arriving in Sri Lanka after devastating Boxing Day Tsunami

Jan 4 (RN) On this day in 2005, the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary arrived in Sri Lanka to begin helping people recover from what was the worst natural disaster of the 21st Century. The Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 caused devastation across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region – including the east coast of SL, around 1,000 miles from the epicentre of the earthquake which caused the killer wave. HMS Chatham was dispatched from counter-terrorism work in the Gulf, more..

Prof. Ravi Silva of Surrey Univ. gets highest British honour title CBE

Jan 4 (Island) Renowned Sri Lankan scientist, Professor Ravi Silva, Director, Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, has been awarded a CBE for his services to Science, Education and Research. Prof Silva said: “I am amazed and humbled to receive such an honour from Her Majesty at a time when the world is in such turmoil. I thank all the wonderful researchers who have worked with me in the past, more..

Presidential pardon granted for Uwatenne Sumana Thero serving life sentence

Jan 4 (CT) Uwatenne Sumana Thera, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige, after being convicted for possessing explosives in a temple in 2010, was granted a Presidential Pardon. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on 1 June 2020. Sumana thera acted as the Common candidate’s coordinator of the clergy. Two T56 weapons and 10 rounds of live ammunition were found at the temple of Sumana thera during the election time. more..

CB printed a record Rs. 650 billion in 2020

Jan 4 (FT) The Central Bank had printed a record Rs. 650 billion in 2020 to help manage with the country’s monetary and fiscal challenges. As per Bank data, as at 31 December 2020, the face value of CBSL holding Government securities amounted to Rs. 725.19 billion whilst at the beginning of 2020 it was Rs. 74.7 billion. In contrast, the net figure of money printed in 2019 was Rs. 4 billion. The Central Bank also began the New Year by printing Rs. 13.2 billion as per its data. more..

England is here

Jan 4 (FT) The England cricket team arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday to play two a Test series against Sri Lanka in Galle, a development widely welcomed by sports enthusiasts and tourism industry. A special British Airways charter flight carrying 40 passengers – players and support staff arrived at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport yesterday afternoon. The first test match begins on 14 Jan, followed by the second on 22 Jan. more..

Burial or cremation: Two expert committees give conflicting views

Jan 4 (ST) Health Ministry has failed to come to a decision whether to allow burials for COVID-19 infected dead, as two expert committees held opposing positions and were unable to reach agreement, at a face-to-face meeting on Thursday. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi who chaired the meeting has indicated that she would make the decision shortly. The two committees are the Technical Committee on the Disposal of COVID-19 Infected Bodies — chaired by more..

We are helpless: Drivers who took Ukrainian tourists on safari lament

Jan 4 (DM) A group of safari drivers who have taken the Ukrainian tourists on a safari tour in Yala said they have been asked to undergo quarantine for two weeks. According to a video circulated in social media platforms, the drivers claimed that they had not been informed earlier that they would have to undergo quarantine process after the safari tour. “It was only after we came back from the safari, we were asked by the Army to serve the mandatory quarantine period for 14 days. more..

Triple clusters exceeds 41,000 patient count over the weekend

Jan 4 (FT) The triple COVID-19 clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons crossed the 41,000 patient mark over the weekend, with the detection of 515 patients on Saturday, and 403 patients yesterday. The 403 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday include 401 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster and two persons linked to Prisons cluster. On Saturday, 419 associates of Peliyagoda cluster, more..

Sri Lankans banned from Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya when Ukrainians visit

Jan 4 (EN) SL will restrict access to important religious and archaeological sites to its citizens as a group of Ukrainian tourists – the first foreign travellers to the island since the Covid outbreak – will be visiting those sites the govt announced. Announcement said that Sri Lankans will be restricted from entering these sites when Ukrainian tourists are due to visit. “These restrictions are in place to prevent Sri Lankan pilgrims from mingling with the Ukrainian visitors” more..

Video: Yala safari drivers who escorted Ukrainian tourists quarantined

Jan 4 (AD) A group of Ukrainian tourists who arrived in Sri Lanka visited the Yala National Park last (2) afternoon. The tour was attended by 113 Ukrainians including 11 children. Reportedly, they are from the host of Ukrainian tourists who arrived in Sri Lanka last December 28 and 29. However, it was observed that none of the tourists had been wearing their face masks. Meanwhile, 28 safari jeep drivers who accompanied the Ukrainians have been escorted for 14-day mandatory quarantine last night. more..

Udayanga’s Ukraine project puts tourism sector’s comprehensive plan in abeyance

Jan 4 (ST) On Dec 9 last year, the tourism regulator was made aware that Udayanga Weeratunga– SL’s former Ambassador to Russia who now gives his official address as Temple Trees, Colombo 3–intended to bring a large number of Ukrainians to the country as a pilot project. Health Ministry had not even issued protocols for tourism at the time the information came. Ukrainian project effectively overrode the plans SL Tourism and more..

Challenge is to turnaround bankrupt Sri Lanka Inc.

Jan 4 (FT) Aseni, the Whiz Kid, and Sarath Mahatthaya, Economics Guru, have been in a passionate exchange of views on SL’s present economy, codenamed Economy.20, and what Economy.21 will offer to the country the next year. Following are excerpts. Aseni: Grandpa, I have been reading about the present condition of SL’s economy. Official sources like the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance, and top leaders of the Govt have been trying to assure us that more..

Equality and difference: Some thoughts on religion and the pandemic

Jan 4 (FT) This article will argue that there is a tension between equality and difference in modern South Asia. That tension defines South Asia and is reflected in issues related to religion and ethnicity. It is manifested at individual, community and state level. In the near future, because of the pandemic, this tension may be over-determined by economic hardship and economic inequality, leading to unintended consequences. The fight for equality was the primary theme of the 20th century more..