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Video: Eight including Nigerians arrested over online fraud of Rs 1.7 mn

Feb 24 (AD) Kelaniya Divisional Crime Investigation Unit has arrested an organized crime group including foreign nationals who had defrauded over Rs 1.7 million in through an online scam. The arrest has been made based on investigations on a complaint lodged at the Peliyagoda Police Station yesterday. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the fraud had been committed by claiming that the victim had won a prize and requesting more..

Park and Ride comes to Piliyandala

Feb 24 (DN) Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge said that the Park and Ride City Bus Service will be operated from Piliyandala Main Bus Stand as well. New buses will be deployed and a stringent timetable will also be prepared for passenger transport ensuring efficency of the service, he said. Govt will also identify shortcomings in the Park and Ride City Bus Service, which is now operating between Kottawa, Makumbura Multipurpose Center and Colombo Fort and also launch it in more..

Seylan Bank records Rs. 3 b PAT in 2020

Feb 24 (FT) In the backdrop of an extremely challenging environment, Seylan Bank said yesterday it recorded a profit-after-tax (PAT) of Rs. 3 billion for the year ended 31 Dec 2020, down by 18% from the previous year. Interest Income of the bank stood at Rs. 52.3 billion, while interest expenses stood at Rs. 32.8 billion, reflecting a Net Interest Income (NII) of Rs. 19.5 billion with an annual growth of 4.6% in the year under review. The main contributor for NII was the loans and more..

Manusha accuses President of letting genie out of the bottle

Feb 24 (Island) Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration had allowed the clearing of 53,000 acres of forest land, and the govt henchmen were clearing five hectares a day, SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara said. Prez had been a vocal critic of deforestation before coming to power and had assured people that he would protect the environment, the MP said. Nanayakkara said that since the election of the Prez, more..

PCoI to make recommendations on increasing efficiency of Customs

Feb 24 (AD) A 5-member Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has been appointed to study the prevailing situation of Sri Lanka Customs and make recommendations on increasing its efficiency. Appointment of the Commission was made on the directives of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the statement read further. Supreme Court Judge Shiran Anthony has been appointed as the chairman of the Commission. In the meantime, Appeals Court Judge Priyantha Fernando, more..

COVID-19: Major clusters on the wane, says Health Ministry

Feb 24 (DM) While saying it is too early to comment on the slight decrease in COVID-19 cases in the country at present, Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said the major clusters in the country are on the declining stage. He said there are many reasons that could be attributed to the slight decrease in cases. “One, when there are no major specific sub clusters, there could be a reduction in overall cases. Also, when there are more cases reported at a given date or time, more..

SL yet to finalise decision about Chinese power plants close to the Indian coast

Feb 24 (EN) Sri Lanka has not yet arrived at a final decision to grant the hybrid power projects in the Northern Island to the Chinese company, Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament today. “Cabinet has not approved it yet because the Treasury has requested for a formal recommendation to provide them with more information about the new technology used in the power project,” he said more..

Power devolution based on PCs vital: Devananda

Feb 24 (CT) Experts Committee of the EPDP has reiterated that power devolution in the new Constitution must take place based on Provincial Councils (PCs). The Experts Committee, led by EPDP General Secretary and Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, submitted proposals in connection with power devolution to President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, President of the Committee appointed to draft a new Constitution. Suggestions in the proposal state that more..

Forex debt owed to non-residents only US$3.7bn in 2021: CB Governor

Feb 24 (EN) Sri Lanka has to repay only US$ 3.7 billion to holders of external debt in 2021 and the balance is held by resident holders, moreover, US$ 1.1 billion had already been paid, CB Governor W D Lakshman said. Some of the debt was denominated in debt but was owed to domestic holders. They included SL Development Bonds, borrowing from offshore banking units and also some international sovereign bonds were held by domestic holders he said, as foreigners exited. more..

Spotify launches in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (TM) Spotify, the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service, officially launches today in Bangladesh, Pakistan and SL. With a worldwide community of more than 345 million monthly active listeners including 155 million Premium subscribers, Spotify will offer a personalized listening experience for local and international music of over 70 million tracks. The Spotify service is available for free or more..

Is Sri Lanka poised for a fintech boom post covid-19?

Feb 24 (EN) Rohitha Perera, Founder and CEO of Crossborder Payments, says SL is ready to become the regional hotbed for tech innovation and disruption. Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) in 2020 partnered with the World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum to conceptualize, design and deliver the Global Covid-19 Fintech Market Rapid Assessment Report. The study found that although the global Fintech industry is growing amid the pandemic, more..

Jazeera Airways launches first direct flight to Colombo

Feb 24 (TM) The first flight of Jazeera Airways in 2021 has arrived at the BIA, Katunayake today, airport officials stated. The flight arrived from Kuwait to Colombo, connecting the passengers directly to SL. Jazeera Airways said Sri Lanka has shown its potential to serve as a resilient destination with strong safety and health measures. Rohit Ramachandran, CEO Jazeera Airways said, “Despite the current global situation for the airline industry, we are launching our first new more..

JVP press conference

Over 50 development agencies unite for justice for DIG Bimshani

Feb 24 (FT) The National Forum Against Gender-Based Violence in Sri Lanka, a collective of 53 agencies comprising of the Govt, UN, national and international NGOs, community-based organisations and individual experts in the field, has come forward to speak up for justice for DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi. In a statement, the Forum said it was deeply disappointed in the recent petition challenged by 32 Senior Superintendents of Police (SSP) and 1 Director SSP – in total 33 male officers more..

Battaramulle Seelarathna Thera to contest for SLC Vice Presidentship

Feb 24 (DM) Ven. Battaramulle Seelarathna Thera today handed over nominations to contest for the post of Vice President of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). The prelate said after handing over the nomination at the SLC, that he Intend to stop fraud and corruption at the local cricket governing body. "We love cricket very much. But today the game is completely ruined. We don't want to play cricket. We need a better administration to stop fraud and corruption. If I come to power, more..

18 countries pledge to speak on behalf of SL at UNHRC

Feb 24 (DM) Eighteen countries have pledged to speak on behalf of Sri Lanka during the ongoing session of the UNHRC, a top source said. These countries will share their views in support of the SL govt’s position during the High-Level Segment and events. According to the source, there are countries that hold the UNHRC membership among these 18 countries that will stand by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has undertaken more..

Video: Muthurajawela Wetlands brought under Environment Ministry and UDA

Feb 24 (AD) It has been decided to bring the Muthurajawela Wetlands under the purview of the Ministry of Environment and the UDA. The decision has been taken as per the advice of Prwz Rajapaksa, according to Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. Minister pointed out that the President focused his attention on protecting the highly sensitive ecosystem of Muthurajawela. The Muthurajawela Wetland Sanctuary had been taken over by various individuals the ecosystem more..

Imran’s meeting with Muslim MPs called off on security grounds

Feb 24 (FT) A scheduled meeting between visiting Pakistan PM Imran Khan and two Muslim MPs, namely MPs Rauff Hakeem and Rishad Bathiudeen, has been cancelled on security grounds. Cabinet Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that this was not the only meeting to be cancelled, that a visit to a sports complex too was cancelled. “The cancellation is not politically motivated,” Rambukwella said. The meeting had been scheduled on a request by Muslim MPs. more..

U.S. Ambassador inaugurates virtual platform to connect schools

Feb 24 (USE) U.S. Ambassador to SL Alaina B. Teplitz inaugurated a U.S.-funded online education platform today that connects students and teachers from different regions and responds to education challenges posed by COVID-19 restrictions. These Smart Classrooms connect Sinhala and Tamil speakers and provide remote schools with access to teachers trained in science and technology. more..

Vaccinate teachers, principals before O/L begins: Teacher Services Union

Feb 24 (DM) The Ceylon Teacher Services Union (CTSU) requested the Govt to take immediate steps to give priority to vaccinate all teachers and principals before the commencement of the 2020 Ordinary Level (O/L) Exam, CTSU Chief Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said. He said a total number of 46,000 teachers and principals will be on examination duties, which is scheduled to be held at 4,513 centres across the country from March 1 to 10. "Considering the recent COVID-19 more..

Imran Khan flies back after Sri Lanka visit

Feb 24 (AD) Pakistan PM Imran Khan left the island a short while ago after concluding his two-day visit to SL. PM Imran Khan arrived in SL last evening for a two-day official visit, accepting an invitation extended by his SL counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa. During the visit, the Pakistani Premier and his delegation met with the Sri Lankan PM, Prez Rajapaksa, and other state officials. The two prime ministers together presided over an event to sign 5 mutually beneficial bilateral MoUs yesterday more..

Video: Sri Lanka, Pakistan explore possibilities to promtoe trade & investment

Feb 24 (AD) Prez Rajapaksa and Pakistani PM Imran Khan have explored possibilities for promoting trade and expanding investment opportunities between the two countries. One-on-one bilateral talks between the two leaders began at the Presidential Secretariat this morning. PM Imran Khan, who is in SL for a two-day official visit, was accorded a warm welcome by Secretary to President P.B. Jayasundera and more..

Shani’s bail request: Justice Wijesundera recuses

Feb 24 (DN) Court of Appeal Judge Justice Menaka Wijesundera yesterday recused herself from hearing a revision application filed on behalf of former CID former Director Shani Abaysekara and Sub Inspector Sugath Mendis, citing personal reasons. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal (President) Justice Arjuna Obeyesekere has nominated another bench comprising Justice Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and Justice R.Gurusinghe to hear this application on March 1. more..

Cuba reiterates its gratitude to Sri Lanka for its support

Feb 24 (PL) Cuba reiterated its gratitude to Sri Lanka for the permanent support provided in the fight against the US blockade, which has been in force for six decades, the press disclosed here on Tuesday. SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received the Cuban Ambassador Juana Elena Ramos at the headquarters of the Presidential Secretariat, and both sides highlighted the historic relations of friendship and cooperation between the two countries, diplomatic source informed. more..

පිට්ටනිවල එන්නත් දෙන්න අපි කිව්වේ නැහැ!

President’s interesting, innovative style of governance: Will it succeed?

Feb 24 (FT) Governance is defined as the process by which decisions are made and decisions are implemented. Good governance is when it is participatory, consensus-oriented, accountable, responsive to needs and inclusive. As for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he got teams of the brightest and best scholars and professionals to create his manual for good governance. This had detailed action plans to deliver his 10 key policies. This was new, innovative, and was an approach never used before by more..

Erroneous conclusion on Sri Lanka by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Feb 24 (FT) It was expected from the UNHRC to diligently investigate every piece of evidence in order to validate impartiality. To seek authentication, leaving no stone unturned. The revelation highlighted by Lord Naseby showing the inconsistences of the Human Rights Council’s inability to carry out a proper, impartial type of investigation and showed that they failed to ask for vital attestation from Her Majesty’s Govt in the UK pertaining to the classified report more..

Video: FM requests UNHRC member countries to reject any resolutions against SL

Feb 24 (AD) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has appealed to all member states of the UNHRC to reject any resolutions against SL. He also said it is regrettable that despite the spirit of cooperation with UNHRC and its mechanism, elements working against SL intend to table another country-specific resolution based on the OHCHR report. This report, rejected by SL, has unjustifiably broadened its scope and mandate further, more..

PCoI on Easter Attacks recommends criminal proceedings against Maithri, Pujith & others

Feb 24 (TM) The PCoI on Easter Attacks has recommended the Attorney General to consider criminal proceedings against former President Maithripala Sirisena, former IGP Pujith Jayasundera and several others over their failure to prevent the attacks. According to excerpts of the report released by MP Harin Fernando, the PCoI said that President Sirisena has proceeded to India and then Singapore from 16 to 21 Apr, 2019 without making any acting appointment for the post of Minister of Def more..

Joint Health Workers’ Union protest, talks fail after Health Ministry siege

Feb 24 (TM) The discussions held between the Joint Health Workers’ Union (JHWU) and Secretary to the Ministry of Health, following yesterday’s (23) protest march and forcible entrance to the Ministry premises, have been unsuccessful. Demanding that the Govt addresses 11 issues faced by junior health workers, the JHWU marched and forcibly entered the Suwasiripaya Ministry of Health Premises in Colombo 10, before they were granted a meeting with the Health Ministry Secretary. more..

Easter Sunday attacks PCoI report, Moots action against politicos, officials, cops

Feb 24 (TM) PCoI on the Easter Sunday attack has recommended that legal action be taken against a topmost politician, senior police officers, and senior public officials, over the failure to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks and properly perform their duties. The report concluded that there was a failure and negligence on the part of the officials and authorities, including former Prez Maithripala Sirisena, former Defense Secy more..

Pavithra back in the saddle

Feb 24 (CT) All sections of the State health service have worked together from the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in the country which has helped to carry out control and preventive work of the viral infection without any hiccups, Health Minister, Pavitra Wanniarachchi said. Re-assuming duties at Ministry yesterday following her complete recovery from COVID-19, Wanniarachchi held discussions with Ministry’s officials on the current status of vaccination drive which is in progress, more..

Prez, PM inoculated against Covid-19

Feb 24 (DM) Both, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have been given the first dose of Astrazeneca vaccine to ensure immunization from Covid- 19, Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said. He added that renowned Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya took the jab in order to create confidence among the public. Minister charged that the Opposition has been on a campaign of sabotage from the very beginning of the pandemic. more..

Shocking documentary exposes LTTE’s atrocities

Feb 24 (CT) At a time when the SL Govt is coming under attack by int'l actors for alleged human rights violations, a video circulating on social media highlights a story of violence inflicted by the LTTE. The video is titled Truth Behind Dare and begins with a voice-over, describing the atrocities of the LTTE. The narrator argues that many were fed dreams, and whilst for a while it hid the pain, eventually the truth surfaced. more..

Not satisfied with CB bond scam investigations: Cabraal

Feb 24 (DM) While claiming that he was not satisfied with the investigation into the CB Bond scam, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said today further investigations should be carried out into the incident. He told Parliament that the investigation into the bond scam had not been completed and pointed out that further investigations should be conducted into certain matters connected to it. Responding to a question raised by SLPP MP Shantha Bandara, he said investigations into some incidents more..

SL confirms three new COVID fatalities

Feb 24 (AD) Sri Lanka has confirmed three more COVID-19 related fatalities, Director-General of Health Services confirmed today (23). Accordingly, death toll from the pandemic outbreak now stands at 453. A 75-year-old man from Wattala area died yesterday (22) while receiving treatment at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. He had been transferred from Colombo National Hospital after testing positive for the virus. COVID pneumonia was recorded as the cause of death. more..