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Fresh bid to prevent drugs being pilfered out of custody of Govt Analyst’s Dept, Police

Jan 6 (Island) A new mechanism would be introduced soon to destroy stocks of narcotics after samples are obtained, Minister Rear Admiral (Retd) Sarath Weerasekera told Parliament. The ministry had initiated discussions with the AG’s Dept to implement the new mechanism as soon as possible, Minister said, responding to a question by SJB MP Chaminda Wijesiri. Minister Weerasekera said that the new mechanism would be more..

Will make Prez’s Manifesto a reality: Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera

Jan 6 (CT) Leader of the OPPP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera vowed to transform Prez Rajapaksa’s Manifesto into a reality. Thera told Ceylon Today yesterday, after being sworn in as an MP. He pointed out that he would give maximum support in Parliament to achieve success regarding many of the factors in the Prez’s Saubagyaye Dekma Manifesto, including a country without toxicity, promotion of a local food culture, free education, free health services, more..

Sajith gets rap on knuckles from Speaker for digression

Jan 6 (Island) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa was warned by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday to adhere to Standing Orders and parliamentary procedures. The warning was given when govt rank members informed the Chair that Opposition Leader Premadasa had digressed from the subject and he should not be permitted to flout the parliamentary procedures. When time was given (allocated) for him to make a special statement on COVID-19 vaccines, more..

Triple clusters rise to 41,977 with the detection of 484 patients

Jan 6 (FT) The Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons COVID-19 clusters rose to 41,977 patients with 484 persons testing positive for the virus yesterday. 479 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster were among the patients detected yesterday. The total number of COVID-19 patients detected in the island currently stands at 45,726, of which, 7,249 are currently under medical care. 512 persons at the Bingiriya Treatment Centre, 370 persons at more..

Arrest of Mannar poet under PTA: Academics, writers and activists cry foul

Jan 6 (FT) The continued incarceration of 25-year-old poet Ahnaf Jazeem under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has drawn serious criticism and concern from fellow writers, Tamil academics and human rights activists. Jazeem, a resident of Mannar, was arrested by the CID in May 2020 on terrorism charges, on the basis that a book of poetry he had authored in Tamil contained extremist messages and had been circulated among young people at a school in Puttalam. more..

Worst rape of environment last year in country’s history: CENS

Jan 6 (Island) Centre for Environmental & Nature Studies estimates that SL lost more than 10 acres of forests on a daily basis from January to Dec 31, 2020. Centre’s Executive Director Dr. Ravindra Kariyawasam claimed the occurrence of a massive environmental destruction throughout the country and that made 2020 the year of worst eco-devastation in the history of the country. He also said Circular 01/2020 was issued cancelling the previous circulars for the protection of the remaining more..

CID arrests 3 former Swarnamahal Directors

Jan 6 (CT) CID arrested three former directors of ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers on the Attorney General’s orders. Last evening, Attorney General Dappula de Livera directed IGP Chandana Wickremaratne to launch a criminal investigation against the former Directors of ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Jewellers. In less than two hours, former directors of Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd, Jeewaka Edirisinghe, more..

Sri Lanka bleeds Rs.76 b more than 2019

Jan 6 (TM) SL’s equity and bonds markets wrapped up the year, recording a massive overall net foreign outflow throughout the year, which is over Rs. 76 billion higher than the net foreign outflows, reported in 2019. Net foreign outflows recorded from the equity and bond market in 2020 stood at about Rs. 148.44 b as of 31 Dec, out of which Rs. 97.84 b was the net foreign outflows from the Treasury bills and bonds held by foreigners, while the rest of the net foreign outflows were from the CSE. more..

UNDP’s Global Human Development Report handed over to PM

Jan 6 (AD) UNDP Resident Representative in SL, Robert Juhkam officially handed over the Global Human Development Report (HDR 2020) to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa today (5) at his official residence in Wijerama. The HDR is the annual flagship report published by the Human Development Report Office of the UNDP that evaluates and measures human progress. This year’s 30th publication, emphasises on the relationship between people and nature, more..

Acid test for bio bubble today: Ukrainians at Dalada Maligawa alongside locals

Jan 6 (TM) The Govt’s biological bubble or biosecure bubble concept will face its litmus test today (6) with the Ukrainian tourists set to visit the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth Relic) while it is open to local visitors. According to Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General Dhammika Wijesinghe, the Ukrainian group will visit the Dalada Maligawa today from 11 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. more..

Digital land registry pilot project goes live

Jan 6 (FT) The Govt has launched the first Digital Land Registry Service (DLRS) at the Colombo Land Registry as a pilot project. Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, Ministry of Defence Secretary Gen. (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne and Registrar General K.P. Dharamathilaka attended the launch. The Govt plans to launch the service at 45 Registrar offices countrywide by the end of the year. The DLRS will use the e-land software to digitally register land ownership documentation with the aim of more..

Nalaka Edirisinghe surrenders to CID

Jan 6 (AD) ETI Director Nalaka Edirisinghe, the fourth suspect in the Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd. case has surrendered to the CID at around 9am this morning. Attorney-at-Law representing Nalaka Edirisinghe said his client could not surrender yesterday due to health reasons. ETI depositors who gathered near the CID premises stressed that legal action must be taken against the arrestees without granting bail. Last evening, Attorney General Dappula de Livera had directed the IGP to more..

උපන්දිනේට කේක් කාල සංඝ විනය විනාශ කළේ...

ICT that benefits us today: Early beginnings and how all govts ensured

Jan 6 (FT) Sri Lanka has come a long way from the 1960s when communicating instantly was limited to a few, was costly and at times subject to long delays. I remember my father in the late ’50s and early ‘60s having to wait three-six hours to make a long-distance telephone calls to Colombo from his hometown Horowpothana even though he was a MP and had Official Priority calling facility. However, we tend to take for granted the communication facilities that we have presently. more..

Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s rejection of Provincial Councils – sour grapes

Jan 6 (FT) I woke up this morning (5) and was shocked to read that Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam will oppose Provincial Councils, and all our Tamil aspirations to take decisions about ourselves by ourselves. Every Tamil likes to be guarded by kindly police who speak to us in Tamil. We want ministers to whom we can express our needs and shortcomings with clarity – in Tamil. We want control over our lands so that they are not leased for exploitation to companies and our forest and more..

India’s economic recovery will benefit Sri Lanka: Dr Jaishankar

Jan 6 (EN) India’s Covid numbers have come down sharply and with vaccination in sight, India’s economic recovery will be full-blown by the next quarter with beneficial effects on SL, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said. Addressing a joint press conference with SL’s Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Colombo this afternoon Jaishankar said Covid “is not just a public health issue but equally, more..

Speaker requests MPs not to waste time by raising irrelevant points of order

Jan 6 (Island) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday requested MPs not to waste the time of Parliament by raising irrelevant points of order and maintain the decorum of the House. Making a special statement at the commencement of the Parliament session for the year, Speaker said that it had been observed during the sessions last year that MPs from both govt and the Opposition had abused their right to raise points of order and wasted valuable time in the process. more..

Dialog Enterprise partners Zoho to empower businesses with smart collaboration tools

Jan 6 (Island) Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of Dialog Axiata PLC, SL’s premier connectivity provider, announced its strategic partnership with global technology company Zoho. This partnership will provide Dialog’s exclusive corporate customers access to Zoho Workplace, a cloud-based enterprise collaboration suite that is built on a common data model and unified through common search and AI, allowing organisations to solve business problems, quickly and more..

Health Ministry officials cause delays in bringing Covid vaccine to SL: AMS

Jan 6 (DM) While expressing that vaccination is the best available solution that Sri Lanka has at present to face Covid-19, the Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) alerted the Govt of alleged delays caused by Health Ministry officials in the endeavour to bring the vaccine to SL. AMS President Dr L. A Ranasinghe said that certain officials in the Ministry of health had track records for causing delays in many tasks, more..

PS member arrested for sexually harassing relative

Jan 6 (AD) A member of the Yakkalamulla Pradeshiya Sabha has been arrested for sexually harassing a woman. Police said a 27-year-old woman had been molested at Bataketiya in Nakiyadeniya, in Yakkalamulla police division, last evening and that the suspect was arrested by police following investigations. The victim, a 27-year-old mother of three, is reportedly a relative of the 46-year-old accused. PS member has been remanded until Jan 19 after being produced before more..

Has govt prepared NDVP as required? – Sajith

Jan 6 (CT) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, questioned whether the Govt has prepared, a National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) as recommended by the WHO before applying for the COVAX facility to bring COVID-19 vaccines to the country. Raising a question under Standing Orders in Parliament, Premadasa stated that according to the WHO, it is important to prepare a plan to determine as to how the vaccines are given to the public, how to store and transport them more..

Five mafias obstructing growth in agri-sector: Minister

Jan 6 (DN) Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage stated that there are five mafias currently operating in agriculture which are obstructing the pro-country movement of building a manufacturing economy instead of an import economy. He stated that these large scale mafias such as paddy, rice, vegetables, seeds and fertilizers are completely destroying the future of agriculture in the country. more..

Name of British Monarch to be removed from Acts

Jan 6 (CT) Govt has decided to remove the name of the Queen of Great Britain from the ancient Acts where reference is made to the Monarch. Minister of Justice, Ali Sabry (PC) has presented a proposal in this regard at the meeting of MPs of the governing party, held on 4 Dec and approval was granted. The name of the Queen of Britain will be removed and the Acts will be amended and the relevant Draft Bills are scheduled to be presented in Parliament today (6), by the Minister of Justice. more..

No decision by Education Ministry to deploy Air Force personnel as...: GL

Jan 6 (Island) Minister Prof G.L. Peiris told Parliament that his Ministry had not made any decision to deploy Air Force personnel as teachers at schools. He said so responding to a question raised by SJB MP Rohini Wijeratne, who said that there were media reports quoting teachers’ unions that Air Force personnel had been deployed to teach English and IT in schools at Kebitigollewa and Vavuniya; the Secretary to the Ministry of Education had accepted a proposal by the Commander more..

Tourism Chief calls for better coordination from industry

Jan 6 (FT) SL Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando yesterday cleared the air on misconceptions with regards to the pilot project, and called on the industry to work in coordination to implement the guidelines outlined by health authorities. She admitted that the travel itineraries of the Ukrainian tourists were not shared with the SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), and that their visit to Yala saw 28 safari drivers more..

Another inmate who escaped from COVID-19 treatment center recaptured

Jan 6 (AD) Another prison inmate who had escaped from the Gallella COVID-19 Treatment Center has been arrested by the Police at Anawilundawa, Arachchikattuwa this afternoon. The arrestee is a 55-year-old male named W. Nimal Wasantha, who was confirmed to be a resident of the Waikkala area in Wennappuwa. It was revealed that the address of Welipennagahamula, Dummalasuriya he had provided to the prison to be a fake. Following the escape, the COVID-19 infected inmate more..

Ukrainians bored following excursion ban

Jan 6 (CT) Udayanga Weeratunga who is currently supporting the Government to generate tourism and flew in Ukrainian tourists to Sri Lanka said, after temporarily calling off excursions to Sigiriya and Dambulla, they have expressed a sense of boredom being confined to hotel rooms but anticipate the ban to be lifted soon. Weeratunga told Ceylon Today the tourists were bored after checking into hotels in the coastal areas in the South, despite all facilities being provided to them. more..

Covid-19 vaccine: Getting the ball rolling

Jan 6 (TM) As Covid-19 began spreading around the globe, various nations pioneered the development of vaccines to help curb the transmission and build immunity. With several vaccinations indicating high levels of success among recipients, many countries have come forward to purchase these vaccines and roll out vaccination campaigns. While countries such as the US, the UK, and many other European nations, more..

Video: Updated announcement on isolation orders for several GN divisions

Jan 6 (AD) General Shavendra Silva has issued an updated announcement on the isolation status on eleven Grama Niladhari divisions. Thereby, following Grama Niladhari divisions have been isolated with effect from 5.00 am today (6). Poojapitiya police area: • Bamunugama Diwanawaththa GN division Eheliyagoda police area: • Moragala GN division. In the meantime, isolation status on following Grama Niladhari divisions has been lifted with effect from 5.00 am today. more..

Pavithra praises achievements, while noting some setbacks

Jan 6 (Island) Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi recently addressing the members of the Association of Gynaecologists and Paediatricians at a ceremony to mark the election of its 35th President at the BMICH said the government policy was to keep the rate of maternity deaths at a very low level. The Minister said she was happy to note that the programme launched by the country’s health sector to reduce the maternal deaths during a period of 40 years had been hailed globally. more..

Govt green-lights $ 49 m fighter jet overhaul as No. 10 Squadron turns 25

Jan 6 (FT) Govt has approved a proposal worth $ 49 million to overhaul and upgrade five Kfir fighter jet aircraft of the SL Air Force (SLAF). Cabinet of Ministers had approved the proposal and that the contract will be awarded to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Israeli Aircraft Industries. SLAF inducted the Israeli built Kfir C2 fighter jets and TC2 trainers in 1996 standing up No. 10 Squadron, which evolved into more..

SLFP will not join SJB but remain with the Govt: Prof. Piyadasa

Jan 6 (CT) Vice Chairman of the SLFP Prof. Rohana Luxman Piyadasa said the party has no intention to join the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) or leave the Govt in the future. When Ceylon Today queried about the SLFP’s stance on MP Kabir Hashim’s invitation to join the SJB, Prof. Piyadasa said they would not hesitate to hold discussion with other political parties regarding future plans in the country. He also said the SLFP invites other political parties for discussions with them. more..

A consignment of smuggled dried turmeric and cardamom seized in northwestern seas

Jan 6 (SLN) A special operation carried out by the Navy in northwestern seas on 5th January, led to the seizure of 1680kg of dried turmeric and 150kg of cardamom attempted to be smuggled into the island and apprehension of 04 Indian nationals along with an Indian dhow. After having spotted a suspicious Indian dhow in Sri Lankan territorial waters north of Kudiramalei Point, Puttalam, the Northwestern Naval Command deployed Inshore Patrol Craft to intercept the suspicious dhow. more..

'Sri Lanka seeking investor for East Terminal, expert committee report awaited'

Jan 6 (EN) Sri Lanka is seeking an investor to complete the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port and a report from a technical committee is awaited, Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said. He said 440 metres of the 1320 metre East Container Terminal had been built by Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Four years ago it was estimated that 590 million dollars would be needed to complete it. more..

Tamil politicos to jointly voice concerns

Jan 6 (CT) Several Tamil political parties agreed to unite to voice on the minority issues including the Tamil national issue at the upcoming UNHRC session in Geneva in March 2021. A joint meeting to discuss this is scheduled for today in Colombo, said General Secretary of ITAK Mavai Senathirajah who could not participate in the previously held meeting. Three MPs namely, TNA M.A. Sumanthiran, TMTK C.V. Wigneswaran and TNPF Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam, agreed to table their concerns more..

Former ETI Directors granted bail

Jan 6 (AD) Four former Directors of Swarnamahal Jewellers Ltd and ETI Finance who were arrested by the CID have been granted bail. The former Directors Nalaka Edirisinghe, Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Anjalee Edirisinghe and Asanka Edirisinghe were produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate today where they were granted bail. Last evening (5), Attorney General Dappula de Livera had directed the IGP to conduct a criminal investigation against the Directors of the ETI Finance and more..

SL GDP to grow 3.3% in 2021: World Bank

Jan 6 (EN) Sri Lanka’s economic growth is expected to recover to 3.3% in 2021, and 2.2% in 2022 after contracting 6.7% in 2020, the World Bank said in a Jan 2021 projection warning on external uncertainties. “In SL, the pandemic-induced shock further increased an already-high risk of debt distress with its sovereign spread over a thousand basis points above pre-pandemic levels,” WB’s Global Economics Prospects report said. more..

Printing driving licences temporary task, primary role ensuring country’s...

Jan 6 (Island) Defence Secretary Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the driving licence printing project taken over by the Army was a temporary measure following a Cabinet decision to save state funds. He said, “There is no acquisition of state sector institutions by the military as alleged. The other functions of the Motor Traffic Department’s system remain unchanged and the Army is involved only in the printing process. Responding to the issue of Ukrainian tourists arriving in the country more..

SLPP constituent proposes recognition of dissidents, stricter controls on lawmakers...

Jan 6 (Island) The civil society group Yuthukama, represented in parliament, having been elected on the SLPP ticket, has proposed that dissident lawmakers be constitutionally empowered to function independently. The Speaker’s recognition should recognise them if 25% of members elected from a particular party or over 5% of the 225-member parliament take a common stand contrary to that of the position taken by a political party. This is one of the constitutional proposals, more..

Sri Lanka seeks access to Covid-19 vaccine from India

Jan 6 (DM) Sri Lanka has expressed interest in procuring COVID-19 vaccines from India, visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar said. Indian External Affairs Minister who arrived in the island at the invitation of the Foreign Minister of SL Dinesh Gunawardena, held bilateral discussions with Prez Rajapaksa this morning as a part of the first official visit to Sri Lanka by a foreign dignitary in 2021. more..