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Sri Lanka to extend controversial Press Council law to electronic, new media

Jan 5 (EN) Sri Lanka will extend a controversial Press Council law enacted in 1973 to electronic and media, according to a decision by the Cabinet of Ministers. The cabinet of ministers has approved a decision to structurally reform and reorganise the Press Council to cover electronic and new media, the statement said, though it did not specify what is considered new media. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella could not be reached for comment. “SL Press Council has been established by more..

‘Our LCs now need foreign confirmation banks’

Jan 5 (TM) Letters of Credit (LCs) issued by local banks will mandatorily require to be backed up by a confirmation bank if they are to be approved by an international bank, said SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva. He made this statement in response to a recent announcement made by the Central Bank claiming that none of the LCs issued by local banks have been rejected by int'l banks. “That's true. No LCs have been rejected, more..

70% of SL females affected: Sajith

Jan 5 (CT) Approx 70% of SL’s female population suffer from period poverty, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said. He said, “Only 30% of SL women have access to sanitary products during their menstruation period. This situation pushes our country to face period poverty, and women suffer from medical complications such as cervical cancer, Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and urinary tract infection (UTI).” Premadasa further claimed that approx 1.3 million days of a girl child are wasted due to more..

Urban Forestry Park vested with the public

Jan 5 (CT) The Urban Forestry Park on Baladaksha Mawatha created on the instructions of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa was vested with the public on 30 December. The area is opposite Galle Face in Colombo Transforming the Saubagyaye Dekma programme to a reality, the objective is to create a place of leisure and enjoyment for the public with a network of infrastructure facilities such as forestry parks, water parks and urban green areas and more..

Politics stymies bid to get Lankan Muslims the right to bury COVID dead

Jan 5 (NIA) The SL govt’s ominous silence on the demand that the bodies of Muslims who die of COVID-19 should be allowed to be buried and not cremated, has demoralized the Muslims. Muslims leaders, especially those who have been working hard to impress upon the govt with the scientific argument that burial will not pollute groundwater and endanger public health, now feel helpless and resigned to cremation. more..

Slight downward trend in SL’s daily COVID-19 cases inconclusive; more testing needed

Jan 5 (EN) Daily COVID-19 cases in SL since the emergence of the second wave are showing a slight downward trend from end Dec 2020, data shows, though it is too early to say anything conclusive. The number of daily PCR tests has also seen a drop over the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to one official, which may explain the shape of the curve. In early December, SL recorded an average of around 700 cases a day, but over the latter part of the month the numbers more..

Locals languish as isolation prolongs

Jan 5 (CT) Since eleven, Grama Niladhari Divisions in the Kalmunai Urban Council (UC) area has been declared isolated zones for the sixth consecutive day yesterday (03), the livelihood of locals have become severely affected and Rs 35 million is required to provide relief to these people, Kalmunai Divisional Secretary M. M. Naseer said. He was addressing the Media at the Divisional Secretariat’s auditorium regarding relief works to be carried out for the people in the quarantined areas. more..

Sugar tax fraud: Rs 10B loss to govt

Jan 5 (CT) The JVP lodged a complaint with the CID yesterday, regarding the loss of Rs 10 billion in tax revenue to the Govt, following the amendment of the tax imposed on sugar, via Gazette Notifications. JVP politburo member, Wasantha Samarasinghe, alleged that this is an organised financial crime where acquaintances of the Govt engaged in sugar imports have benefited from the change in tax imposed on sugar. more..

Suspect in baby farming case remanded again

Jan 5 (CT) Manjula Ukwatte, who was out on bail in the case of alleged baby farming was ordered to be remanded until 18 January by Moratuwa Chief Magistrate, when the suspect was produced before Court yesterday. Ukwatte was arrested in Matale on 21 Dec 2020 and was produced before the Moratuwa District Court the next day and released on strict bail conditions. He was ordered not to visit the office premises where some pregnant women were being sheltered. more..

Limit mining near Victoria Dam: Experts recommend

Jan 5 (NR) The expert committee appointed to investigate the tremors reported in Digana recently has recommended a ban on limestone mining within a 100m radius encircling the Victoria Dam. The report pertaining to the tremors was submitted to Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera this morning. Committee was chaired by Chairman of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau Anura Walpola. Minister Amaraweera said the tremors reported recently have had no impact on more..

Harsha, SF ridicule Champika

Jan 5 (CT) SJB MP Dr Harsha de Silva has decimated the 43 Brigade formed by MP Champika Ranawaka, without the consent of the SJB leadership, when the former launched a virulent verbal attack against the new group, at the SJB Parliamentary Group meeting, Party sources said. Sources also said Ranawaka was criticised during the meeting following details regarding his group’s formation were revealed in Ceylon Today. more..

Farmers get no compensation: Namal

Jan 5 (CT) Convener of All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation (ACFF), Namal Karunaratne alleged the Govt has not taken any steps to compensate the farmers although about 75% of the total maize plantations in the country have been completely or partially destroyed due to the Sena caterpillar menace. He said that in 2018 alone, the farmlands in the Ampara District that were endangered by the Sena caterpillar had to be paid around Rs 34 million as compensation. more..

CID arrests three former Swarnamahal Directors

Jan 5 (AD) Three former Directors of Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd. have been arrested for running an unauthorized finance business, says the Attorney General’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne. Attorney General Dappula de Livera, earlier this evening, had directed the IGP to conduct a criminal investigation against the Directors of the ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd. Further directives later came to arrest former Swarnamahal Directors Jeewaka Edirisinghe, more..

Health Ministry keen on rectifying mistakes with Ukraine tourists

Jan 5 (DM) As the Govt has decided to completely reopen all airports for overseas visitors, the Health Ministry said it has taken steps to rectify the mistakes by a few Ukraine tourists when the airports were reopened on Dec 26 last year as a pilot project. There were reports that the Ukraine tourists, who arrived in SL had failed to follow health protocols recommended by the Sri Lankan Govt. more..

Co-operation not profit, answer to Covid-19

Jan 6 (DM) Speaking at a media briefing on Dec 28, 2020, WHO Director General in his opening remarks said that December marked the first anniversary since WHO learned of cases of ‘pneumonia with unknown cause’ via a bulletin issued by the health authorities in Wuhan and ProMed. The WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic more than nine months ago and since then, the illness it causes, known as COVID-19, has spread to nearly every country in the world. more..

2020 was the year of doctors

Jan 6 (DM) One year ago, so-called astrologers took to two television stations to tell the nation what to expect in 2020. A person going by the name Chandrasiri Bandara explained that the stars were so moved by political developments in Sri Lanka that 2020 would be an extraordinarily prosperous year. At the same time, someone called Manjula Peiris was on TV explaining that the election results caused a planetary alignment that would open the floodgates of foreign investment in 2020. more..

Detection of agro-waste containers: Mounting garbage in the isle

Jan 6 (TM) Environmentalists have raised concerns over the importation of a consignment of agriculture waste to SL from Ukraine even before the completion of reshipping the controversial garbage containers imported from the UK. They alleged that the importation of garbage has now become a practice, and urged the Govt to conduct an immediate investigation to find out the importer of the waste containers and take necessary more..

3 formidable challenges in 2021: Containing COVID, debt repayment and fiscal deficits

Jan 6 (ST) The containment of the COVID-19 virus, meeting the nation’s foreign debt obligations and moving towards fiscal consolidation are three foremost and formidable problems that have to be resolved this year. Each one of them is a formidable problem, resolving all three are daunting tasks. Reviving the economy and achieving even moderate economic growth is only possible after these severe constraints are addressed. Expectations are for a four percent growth in the economy in 2021. more..


Jan 6 (CT) COVID-19 may be the biggest threat facing Sri Lanka this year. In that context, the spread of COVID-19, possibly complemented by the re-opening of the country to tourism, its third largest foreign exchange earner, is something that the authorities need to watch out, because the culprits behind both the first and the current COVID-19 second wave, have allegedly been identified as being two foreigners, a Chinese tourist and an Ukrainian cockpit crew member, respectively. more..

Safari jeep drivers left in the lurch

Jan 6 (CT) Following the 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 260 people and injured many more, activities in a number of sectors that play a major role in strengthening the country’s economy were totally disrupted. The damage caused to the tourism industry in particular cannot be overstated. After the events of that fateful day, the country was gradually recovering when an even worse nightmare more..

Where have all the fish gone?

Jan 6 (DM) There is a widely held belief that the seas around Sri Lanka are full of fish. This conviction surfaced twice in the Daily Mirror last month. First, IGP C.D. Wickramasinghe banned serving imported fish in the mess; instead the Police will purchase locally caught fish in pursuance of the govt’s policy to reduce imports and support SL fishermen. Afew days later the French Agency for Development (AFD) announced plans to introduce European based standards in four harbours more..

Wanted: A credible ally for the West

Jan 6 (CT) Going by Media reports and related analyses and speculation, western sponsors of UNHRC resolution on war crimes probe and reconciliation at the UNHRC in March, is there someone who is in SL that could convincingly carry the weight of their masses, to target the SL State, the armed forces, individuals and other institutions? In this, the role of or for the Rajapaksas may be more political than criminal, unless otherwise someone wants to take it all the way more..

Lalith Weeratunga

Editorial: Marriage of Blues on the rocks?

Jan 6 (Island) Speculation is rife in political circles that the relationship between the SLFP and the SLPP has turned sour, and their bickering could lead to a breakup. This has come about following a discordant note SLFP leader and former Prez Maithripala Sirisena struck in a recent; he hinted at the possibility of the SLFP going it alone at the next Provincial Council (PC) elections. Coalition partners usually issue such veiled threats to up the ante in negotiations over nominations, etc., more..

Vaccines against Covid-19: How can Sri Lanka benefit? Insights & Solutions

Jan 6 (Island) It is almost one year since the world started battling the Covid-19 pandemic; there are over 80 million confirmed cases and 1.8 million deaths. WHO estimates that 10% of the world’s 7.8 billion population is already infected with Covid-19, and if that is the case the true case number is ten times higher. However, we are still without a proper treatment that can cure all the patients. Sri Lanka has recorded more than 200 Covid deaths and 40,000 cases by now. more..

Dimuth Karunaratne rues spate of Sri Lanka injuries in series that got away

Jan 6 (CI) Sri Lanka lost 2-0, going down by an innings in the first match, and ten wickets in the second, but captain Dimuth Karunaratne is not about to beat himself or his team up. Partly this is because Sri Lanka have felt the injuries that felled around a third of their touring squad - mostly first-choice players - were somewhat out of their control. They were unable to prepare for this tour as they normally might, thanks partly to the LPL, more..

SLC decides to withhold NOCs for cricketers

Jan 6 (DN) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided not to grant No Objection Certificate (NOC) for cricketers to play abroad in any form of tournaments. SLC arrived at this decision after several Lankan cricketers were enticed to participate in tournaments - especially T-10 and 20 – which are due to commence early in this year. The National team has a busy domestic cricketing calendar where they will be engaged in back-to-back fixtures, commencing with the England home series, followed by more..

Can we escape from IMF/ISB Debt Trap?

Jan 6 (Island) The setback due to the pandemic has aggravated some of the perennial macro-economic and sectoral problems in Sri Lanka. For example, borrowing and accumulating external debts has been a practice of successive governments since 1978, which was the year of partial liberalization of the economy. During the early periods, when Sri Lanka was considered a low-income country, we were entitled to substantial grant aid as well as concessionary finances. more..

Japan Increases Aid by 28.95% to Rs 48B

Jan 6 (CT) Japan increased its concessional official development assistance (ODA) to Sri Lanka in 2019 by 28.95% or Japanese Yen (JY) 5,817 million to JY 25,908 million; year on year (YoY), JICA’s 2020 Annual Report released on Monday (4) showed. In rupee terms this YoY increase to 2019 was 28.95% or Rs 10,787.05 million to Rs 48,043.80 million. Conversions are based on the selling rate of JY as at Monday more..

Story behind Shanika’s record breaking feat

Jan 6 (Island) Hailing from a not so well to do family from Gampaha, Shanika Lakshani had many an obstacle to overcome before she shattered the 35 year old Junior National record held by Dammika Menike at the last month’s National Athletics Championships. Probably the most challenging one was the Covid 19 forced lockdown strictly enforced in the Gampaha District following the outbreak of the second wave of the pandemic. According to her coach Madura Perera who has been training more..

Vishwa first Sri Lankan to claim five wickets at The Wanderers

Jan 6 (DN) The ambition and ultimate satisfaction of every talented fast bowler is to pick-up a five-wicket haul in a Test match against any opposition.To achieve that task while performing away from home under tremendous pressure against a formidable batting line-up is even more outstanding. This is exactly what Sri Lanka’s Vishwa Fernando performed on day two of the second Test match against South Africa at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday. more..

England touring party in Sri Lanka faces anxious wait on Covid-19 test results

Jan 6 (CI) England's touring party in SL faces an anxious wait in their hotel rooms just as their preparations for the Test series should have begun in earnest. England were due to have their first training session of the tour in Hambantota on Tuesday. Instead, the squad was consigned to their rooms as they await the results of a further round of medical tests following the positive Covid-19 result revealed by Moeen Ali more..

Alagic’s panacea for ailing Sri Lanka football

Jan 6 (ST) Science and high technology will play a greater role to change the course of football in SL in future under the direction of Amir Alagic, whose aim is to make the sport played and run by top professionals. Grassroots programme, women football, education of coaches, officials and referees, and revamping the archaic system of playing will be some of the key areas of focus during the next four years, said Alagic who has been grounded by COVID-19 pandemic since his arrival in SL more..

3Q20 made strong comeback: Nielsen

Jan 6 (TM) The third quarter of 2020 witnessed a strong comeback from a resilient nation just after one of the most hit quarters in recent times as the key economic indicators showed a positive swing, according to a recent dashboard on Q3’20 released by Nielsen Company SL. According to the dashboard, the business and consumer sentiments picked up and the General Trade recorded a V-shaped recovery. Furthermore, it noted that SL’s trade deficit narrowed, driven by more..

UDA repeals 29 development plans, raising concerns

Jan 6 (ST) At least 29 development plans have been repealed by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) issuing a controversial gazette notification recently under the signature of subject minister and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, a group of professionals alleged. The cancellation of these plans devised during the previous regime have been announced by the UDA with the aim of legitimising new development plans with zonal factor more..

Fernando and Bhanuka: All you need to know about Sri Lanka’s latest Test debutants

Jan 6 (ICC) Asitha Fernando and Minod Bhanuka were handed their Test debuts by SL on Sunday (3), the duo being named in the XI to face South Africa in the second Test in Johannesburg. Bhanuka and Fernando earned Test caps number 152 and 153 for Sri Lanka, and the visitors will hope the influx of youth will help improve on their display in the first Test of the series, in which they were beaten by an innings and 45 runs. Below, we look at how Bhanuka and Fernando reached the world stage. more..

PM to chair new committee to achieve SDGs

Jan 6 (FT) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa will chair a new Committee to guide and monitor SL’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN. The new committee is based on a proposal submitted to Cabinet jointly by the PM Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and will comprise relevant ministers and state ministers and the secretaries of the relevant ministries for leading and pioneering and guiding the process of implementing SDGs. more..

Reopening SL eyes 1.5 m tourists this year

Jan 6 (FT) Govt expressed confidence in attracting 1.5 million tourists this year with the opening of the airports in two weeks’ time with due compliance with COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday formally announced that all airports will be opened for commercial flights and int'l tourists from 23 Jan, preceded by a soft opening on 21 Jan. “We hope to attract 1.5 million tourists this year more..

Cabinet nod for Legal Draftsman to prepare Colombo Port City Commission Bill

Jan 6 (FT) Cabinet this week gave approval for the Legal Draftsman to prepare the Colombo Port City Commission Bill in accordance with the structure desired by the Government to meet national requirements and in a way that can attract international investors. The move is a follow-up to efforts to make the Colombo Port City a Specialised Economic Centre with a wide scope of service to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, and an excellent regional hub aimed at more..

Eravur Fabric Park to muster USD 300 mn investments

Jan 6 (DN) Fulfilling one of the most urgent needs of the local appeal sector, a SL’s first ever Fabric Park will commence operations from mid next year in Eravur in Batticaloa. This is one of top priorities for the BOI for 2021, BOI Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala said. “The 275-acre plot Park which received the Cabinet approval was planned from early 2020 on, has now reached the final stages and we envisage around US$ 300 million from five investors who have already committed for this. more..