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Light rail project: JICA demands clear answer from Govt

Jul 4 (ST) Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has urged the SL Govt to follow due process if it intended to shift from Japanese funding for the Colombo light rail transit system (LRT) to a public-private partnership. Govt is yet to respond to the strongly-worded letter to the Treasury Secretary from JICA’s SL Representative Fusato Tanaka. It expressed great shock at a recent pronouncement by Urban Development more..

Sri Lanka fixes cranes at terminal linked to India deal after protests

Jul 4 (EN) State-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority will fix three gantry cranes that had arrived from China at the East Container Terminal of Colombo Port, a top official said after some port workers staged dramatic protests to support the move. SLPA Chairman Daya Ratanayake said the three gantry cranes were ordered during the period of the last administration to expand the Jaye Container Terminal complex, but the berths had not been built. “Though they are not the right cranes to fix at more..

India’ Mahindra and Mahindra backing helps Sri Lanka’s Ideal Finance rating

Jul 4 (EN) Fitch Ratings said it was confirming a ‘BB-(lka)’ rating of SL’s Ideal Finance Limited, with a Rating Watch Positive after India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited injected captial amid a fallout from a Coronavirus pandemic. MMFSL had injected 1.1 billion rupees of capital in Feb 2020. “This has strengthened the company’s financial profile and bolstered its loss-absorption buffers against Sri Lanka’s challenging operating environment,” the rating agency said. more..

Central Bank approves Rs53bn in re-financed Covid-19 credit

Jul 4 (EN) Central Bank has approved 58 billion rupees of subsidized credit from re-finance (printed money), for Coronavirus affected businesses while import controls have been extended indefinitely. The central bank has it will re-finance up to 150 billion rupees of loans with printed money, which could result in forex reserve losses of up to US$ 800 million once private credit picks up or the money is re-used in the banking system more..

An issue of aid (MCC)

Jul 4 (FT) Understandably, every social/political activist will oppose an aid-package that carries an implication adverse to the sovereignty of the country. No one likes an intruder, even if he bears gifts, and it is in the nature of the world that men as well as nations, resent a benefactor. Although only a handful can claim first-hand knowledge of the proposed compact (if the complete agreement is finalised), many already have decided that Millennium Challenge Corporation is in its essence, more..

Three SEP candidates in Jaffna threatened

Jul 4 (DM) The fallout of the militarization process on some of the candidates in Jaffna contesting the general election under the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) was evident when some persons claiming to belong to military intelligence had forced three SEP candidates and their family members to provide personal information, SEP General Secretary Wije Dias, told a news conference. “We filed a complaint to Defense Secretary Kamal Gunaratne. It has been two weeks since the letter was sent to him. more..

මොරටුව විද්වත් හමුව: Anura Dissanayake

Sri Lanka sinks in April and May, must avoid a second wave

Jul 4 (FT) Last week was a tough week for the WHO as the single day COVID-19 cases crossed 183,000, which was the highest seen globally in the backdrop of 9.8 million people contracting the virus and 495,000 succumbing to the lethal virus. What is very alarming is that WHO announced that the earliest that the world can expect a vaccine would be in around 12-18 months from now, and the funding requirement until that time will be $ 11 billion, which is a tough task for an economy in recession. more..

AG to raise objections against FR filed seeking an order to arrest Karuna

Jul 4 (DN) Attorney General is expected to raise preliminary objections against the Fundamental Rights petition filed seeking an order directing the police to immediately arrest and take necessary legal action against Former LTTE armed group leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, the Senior Deputy Solicitor General (SDSG) informed Supreme Court yesterday. At a public meeting held in Ampara recently, Karuna Amman had allegedly stated that he is more dangerous than COVID-19 since more..

Video: How a retired bank employee helped drug traffickers transfer millions

Jul 4 (AD) The suspect arrested by Dehiwala Police with more than 1 kg of heroin and Rs 235,000 in cash has been identified as one the agents of the large-scale drug racket run by imprisoned drug trafficker Mervyn Jana. Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon stated that the police investigated their bank accounts it was discovered that large sums of money had been deposited to a bank account, which was under the name of more..

Sri Lanka watching northern coast to prevent refugees from India

Jul 4 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has raised surveillance along its northern coast, following reports of some SL refugees in India attempting to return by boats following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, authorities in Tamil Nadu denied any large-scale attempts by refugees to leave the country illegally. “We have alerted the Navy, coastal police, grama sevakas [local administrators]and fisher folk to be alert,” P.S.M. Charles, Governor of the Northern Province, said on July 2. more..

Match-fixing allegations: Aluthgamage risks court action if proved wrong

Jul 4 (DM) Former sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage runs the risk of being be tried under the Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports Act if he the allegations he had made are found to be false with regard to the 2011 Cricket World Cup final, former sports minister Harin Fernando said today. According to the Act any person making false allegations under Section 16, knowing the allegations to be false, commits an offence and shall, on conviction by a Magistrate, be liable more..

Govt offers soft loans, highway contracts to local constructors, instead of settling...

Jul 4 (ST) President’s Office has directed the Central Bank to issue instructions to commercial banks to grant loans at four percent interest to construction companies in lieu of settling nearly Rs 40bn worth of unpaid bills owed to them by the Govt. Prez’s Office also said the Ruwanpura Expressway from Kahatuduwa to Pelmadulla would be awarded to local contractors after they complained bitterly that they were routinely edged out of more..

PNB drugs scandal: DIG transferred to Police Welfare Division

Jul 4 (Island) In the backdrop of allegations that some Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) sleuths sold stocks of seized heroin to a clandestine underworld distribution network, the DIG in charge of the specialized unit was transferred to the Police Welfare Division last week. DIG S. C. Medawatte was replaced by Acting DIG G.K.J. Aponsu, who was moved out of Police Headquarters to head the PNB. SSP Sujith Wedamulla has been appointed PNB Director. In total 3 DIGs, 9 Acting DIGs, more..

Life term for UK convert who plotted Sri Lanka-type blasts

Jul 4 (HT) A Briton who converted to Islam and later plotted to bomb three busy places in London of the kind carried out in a Sri Lanka church in 2019, was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment, Scotland Yard said following a judgement in the widely-followed case. Safiyya Shaikh (born Michelle Ramsden), 37, will serve a minimum of 14 years before she is considered for parole for the plot to carry out terror attacks at a London train station, a hotel and the St Paul’s Cathedral, besides more..

'Four political bigwigs to be charged'

Jul 4 (CT) SLPP, Colombo District Candidate Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, said under a new SLPP regime helmed by the incumbent Prez and PM, politicians responsible for the CB Bonds scam and politicians who had allegedly provided shelter to extremists behind the 21 April 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks, will be prosecuted. He charged that when a case had been filed concerning last year’s Easter Sunday carnage more..

'Condoms found in CMC workshop drain'

Jul 4 (DM) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) will carry out an investigation into the findings of condoms inside the blocked drains of the Municipal workshop, a CMC member Saman Abeygoonaratne said. He said he had raised this matter during the council sessions on July 2 and added that the condoms were found when the blocked drains were being cleaned up. “Unwarranted things are known to be taking place at the workshop such as the abuse of women,” Mr. Abeygoonaratne said. more..

SLAITO Youth to infuse fresh thinking into tourism industry

Jul 4 (SO) The Covid-19 outbreak has given Sri Lanka the opportunity to rethink its strategy to woo international tourists as the country opens for visitors from Aug 1. In an organised event in line with healthcare guidelines, the SL Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) embarked on a journey at the Ramada Hotel recently to bridge the gap between traditional travellers and the emerging young traveller market. SLAITO Youth was launched in Colombo to infuse young blood more..

Census and Statistics Dept. launches first survey to assess COVID-19 economic impact

Jul 4 (FT) Department of Census and Statistics yesterday launched an islandwide web-based survey to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s economy. The survey is open to both the formal and informal sectors and large and medium-scale businesses, Director General of Census and Statistics Dr. I.R. Bandara said. “The country needs accurate and timely information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to more..

PM condemns Karuna’s statement as wrong and unacceptable

Jul 4 (Island) Condemning the recent statement by V. Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman that he massacred thousands of soldiers during the war, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said the claim by the former LTTE Eastern Province commander was "wrong and unacceptable". The premier was responding to a question by a group of Tamil journalists at Temple Trees last week. "You should ask him (Karuna) about his statement", Rajapaksa said, and added that the CID is now probing the matter. more..

MJF Foundation Launches first tri-lingual Online channel on DisABILITY

Jul 4 (Island) Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation launched disABILITY, an English, Sinhala and Tamil, YouTube channel that will share information, access to therapy and practical guidance for the care of children with disabilities. Disability channel aims to support families, caregivers and medical practitioners in rural SL and South India, a company news release said. "The disABILITY channel offers free, on demand content for parents and caregivers of children with more..

President floats committee on JCT and ECT

Jul 4 (FT) Prez Rajapaksa yesterday appointed a 5-member committee to examine and report on how to develop both the State-run Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) and the new ECT of the Colombo Port. The committee is headed by Ministry of Ports and Shipping Secretary M.M.P.K. Mayadunne, Ministry of Industrial Export and Investment Promotion Secretary Mapa Pathirana, Ministry of Roads and Highways Secretary more..

Motor Traffic Dept resumes normal services

Jul 4 (FT) The Motor Traffic Department yesterday said that as the country’s situation has gradually returned to normal it was returning to its standard services from this month. “Considering the current situation of the country, the services provided by our department were subject to certain limitations owing to the risk of the spread of COVID-19, but it has now been decided to normalise all services from 1 July,” Department stated. Dept said that since normal services have been resumed more..

EFL 3PL unveils hi-tech quality inspection center

Jul 4 (DN) EFL 3PL, a member of the leading global logistics conglomerate Expolanka Holdings PLC, unveiled a first-of-its-kind Quality Inspection Center for a leading apparel manufacturer and global brand recently. The deployment of modern technology and process re-engineering has enabled this operation to improve its efficiencies by over 40% and physical stock verifications (PSV) have been improved from 12 hours to less than 30 minutes whilst maintaining 100% accuracy throughout entire operation. more..

Tough actions needed against officials linked to narcotics trafficking: SLPP

Jul 4 (FT) Renewing pledges to eradicate drug trafficking in the country, SLPP said the Govt will investigate corrupt officials and take tough legal action against anyone involved in the illegal narcotics trade. A group of 12 Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officers were arrested for allegedly drug trafficking and Court on Thursday ordered the CID to detain them till 8 July, for questioning. Former MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena said more..

Unilever removes Fair from Fair & Lovely product, new name shortly

Jul 4 (ST) Unilever Sri Lanka announced this week the next step in the evolution of its skin care portfolio, with the rebranding of its flagship brand Fair & Lovely. Taking forward the brand’s journey towards a more inclusive vision of beauty, the company will stop using the word Fair in the brand name Fair & Lovely. The new name is awaiting regulatory approvals and the company expects to change the name in the next few months, the company said on Thursday. more..

EPF and Workers’ funds face new threats: Union

Jul 4 (ST) While the COVID-19 situation is continuing to have its adverse impact on employment, livelihoods, earnings and savings of the working people of Sri Lanka, their life savings have come under renewed threat from vested interests to add to their woes, a union complained. Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL), said that Securities Exchange Commlssion (SEC) is making frantic moves in harmony with the Fund’s custodian, Central Bank (CB) to mobilise part of EPF, more..

Mahindananda escapes jail term

Jul 4 (Island) Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has been under fire from all corners for his sensational match fixing allegations and he will be lucky to escape a jail term. SL became the first Asian nation last year to pass legislation against corruption in sports. A section of the new legislation deals with false match fixing allegations and if found guilty an individual faces a jail term up to three years. more..

Cargills Foundation early childhood program

Jul 4 (Island) The Cargills Foundation has implemented an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program to provide preschool-aged children with an opportunity to learn English whilst developing their foundational skills and being introduced to basic concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM). Cargills believes that children having an early start to learn English and acquire STEAM skills, would equip the next generation of Sri Lankans to lead and more..

Sri Lankan top ranked ITF players get custom-made wheelchairs

Jul 4 (SO) SL’s internationally ranked wheelchair tennis players Lance Bombardier DSR Dharmasena (ITF Rank 62), Corporal Dissanayake Gamini (ITF Rank 82) and Corporal Suresh Ranaweera (ITF Rank 101) after receiving their new chairs from CICT General Manager Catriona Jayasundera along with officials from the SLTA and officers from the Army. SL’s internationally-ranked wheelchair tennis players received a further boost with a donation of custom-made wheelchairs by more..

How Sri Lanka’s independent hoteliers are gearing up to welcome guests again

Jul 4 (Roar) Not all is well in paradise. The 2019-20 financial year dealt two heavy blows to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. The tragic Easter Sunday attacks came first, and just as the industry was starting to make a recovery, along came COVID19. With the country under curfew for a greater part of the past few months the entire tourism sector, among others, came to a screeching halt. more..

Today is Esala Full Moon Poya Day

Jul 4 (DN) The Esala Poya is in the month of Esala according to the Sinhala calendar and the Gregorian calendar in which it is called July. Several important incidents took place on the Esala Poya or Esala Full Moon Day. * The conception of Prince Siddhartha (Bodhisattva) in Queen Mahamaya’s womb occurred on this day. Prince Siddhartha & Princess Yashodhara’s son, Prince Rahula was born on an Esala Poya Day. On the same day, Prince Siddhartha gave up his lay life, more..

Elect MPs with integrity and pluck

Jul 4 (Island) The moan is common enough that many MPs are venal, not particularly well educated and unworthy of esteem – not everyone but a sufficiently large number to tar the reputation of the institution. It was not always so; parliaments of Ceylon/Lanka did seat men of the calibre of NM, SWRD, Colvin, Pieter and Suntheralingam. Their contributions were of intellectual merit. Not only were they of impeccable personal integrity immune from any trace of pecuniary misconduct, more..

Conservation in crisis

Jul 4 (DM) 2020 has been a testing and trying year for many people across the globe. A raging pandemic that has incapacitated major cities worldwide has put a pause to the significant threat towards a growing environmental crisis. A 2019 UN report noted that nature’s dangerous decline is unprecedented in human history, and the extinction rates of species is only accelerating. In Sri Lanka, the first half of 2020 has been brutal to some more..

Editorial: The dung in the milk

Jul 4 (Island) That Mervyn Silva was able to get UNP nomination for the forthcoming parliamentary election is much more than the proverbial spot of dung in the pot of milk. It’s a whole gob of the smelly stuff and there is no need to elaborate why. The public are too well aware of the reasons. Of course the in-coming Parliament, like its predecessor, will be no pot of milk – far from it. The quality of our legislature has deteriorated with succeeding elections and neither the political parties and more..

Division of labour at the top: Aiya, I will do the work, you do the politics

Jul 4 (Island) On the scale of election excitement, the upcoming August 5 elections is more like the July 1960 election than any other past election. In 1960, following a hard-fought March election six months after the assassination of PM SWRD Bandaranaike, the people were tired of going to the polls for a second time in four months. Today there is more political fatigue than election excitement. There is also abundance of caution on account of the coronavirus. more..

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