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Govt’s first Budget to Parliament today

Nov 17 (FT) PM and Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa will present the new Govt’s first budget to Parliament at 1:40 p.m. today. The private sector is hoping that the Budget 2021 will provide clear-cut policies as well as tax and other support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly those targeted at import substitution. Ahead of the Budget presentation, key Govt officials had indicated the Budget would also more..

Romesh Kaluwitharana: Just how effective was Sri Lanka’s innovative opener?

Nov 17 (Wisden) Sri Lankan opener was a part of the famous side which won the 1996 World Cup, yet his name is not quite as synonymous with that team’s success like teammates Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan. Looking back it is easy to see why. Despite his partnership with Sanath Jayasuriya being referenced as key part of SL’s success in 1996, Kaluwitharana made just 73 runs across six innings at an average of 12.16. more..

Give immunity boosting meds to prison staff, inmates

Nov 17 (CT) State Minister Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, instructed the Prisons Department to take steps to provide immunity enhancing medicines to prison officers and inmates, to help them combat the spread of COVID-19 within the prisons system. She had also ordered the Prisons Department to initiate a probe into how the pandemic had spread fast within the system and forward a report on it to her. State Minister had also ordered the Prisons Commissioner General to subject inmates to more..

Bathiudeen, Haleem visited suspect Ahamed’s house: GN

Nov 17 (CT) Former Ministers Rishad Bathiudeen and Mohamed Haleem had on a number of occasions visited the house of Muhinuddin Ihsan Ahamed, who was arrested in connection with the Easter Sunday bombings. This was revealed yesterday, when Nilantha Fonseka, Grama Niladhari (GN) of the GN Division where Ihsan's house is located, testified before the PCoI. A State Counsel questioned the witness whether there was more..

Companies paying pro-rate wages to require permission from Labour Ministry

Nov 17 (FT) Labour Ministry yesterday said companies paying pro-rate wages had to notify the Ministry of why they were facing cash flow issues and get permission to initiate paying partial salaries to employees not reporting to work. Earlier this year a tripartite COVID-19 task force, which included the Labour Ministry, Trade Unions and the Employers Federation reached an agreement for private sector employees to be paid the highest of either 50% of the total salary or a minimum of Rs. 14, 500. more..

Central Bank says inflation is on target despite food price pressures

Nov 17 (Island) While it is correct to say that the cost of living is rising particularly in terms of food prices, the Central Bank observes that inflation is well anchored broadly within the target range of 4-6%, Dr. Chandranath Amarasekara, Director of Economic Research at the Central Bank told the Island Financial Review (IFR). IFR put this query to the Central Bank as many people are often heard complaining about rising food prices adding that there is no mechanism in place to stem it. more..

Sri Lanka to receive same benefits of EU GSP+ for UK from 2021

Nov 17 (CT) Since the UK is the main market for SL’s exports to the EU region and the second largest export market after the USA, it is important for SL to receive the same tariff preferences it was enjoying prior to Brexit when trading with the UK in the post-Brexit period, Export Development Board (EDB) said. Once the transition period ends on 31 Dec this year, UK Global Tariff will replace EU’s Common External Tariff more..

Lanka IOC nearing completion of Sri Lanka’s first grease plant

Nov 17 (FT) Lanka IOC Ltd. is nearing the completion of work on SL’s first grease manufacturing plant in Trincomalee, a move which will help save valuable foreign exchange as at present the requirement is met entirely via imports. The company began construction work on the ground breaking venture early this year and is estimated to have invested Rs. 200 million. The plant’s capacity of 3,000 tons is capable of meeting the entire market demand in Sri Lanka. more..

Customs takes new steps to speed up cargo clearance

Nov 17 (FT) Customs has announced new measures to improve facilitation benefitting its users with quicker clearance of shipments and reduced cost. From now on, import consignments containing multiple containers will be split electronically based on the risks involved. “This mechanism will replace the Out Panel examination,” Customs sources said. In this fully automated process, some containers in a consignment will be selected for examination at Rank Container Terminal (RCT), while more..

Export Villages expected to save $ 1 b

Nov 17 (TM) The recently approved Cabinet proposal to set up Export Production Villages (EPVs) around Sri Lanka is expected to save the country $ 1 billion in the next four years. The project proposal for the initiative that was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on 3 Nov stated that the Govt plans to reduce SL’s dependency on imports of raw material for export purposes and save the country $ 1 billion between the years of 2021 & 2024. more..

Third coal power plant has been shut down

Nov 17 (Island) Third plant of the Norochcholai coal-fired power complex has been shut down due to a technical problem. The boiler system of the first power plant was replaced in January this year due to its continuous failure. Attempts to construct a fourth coal power unit at the Norochcholai complex has come to a halt due to the delays in the EIA process. Earlier this month, a probe by COPE found that although the Norochcholai Lakvijaya Power Plant was to add 900 MW electricity to national grid more..

Arjuna raises questions about LPL

Nov 17 (CT) Former World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga questioned the legitimacy of SLC’s franchise based T20 league Lanka Premier League (LPL) in a letter addressed to Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa. In the letter he has highlighted allegations against some of the individuals who are involved in the LPL, and has also raised six question regarding the league as follows: 1. Does this league have ICC approval? Is it a direct involvement? more..

LPL: All five teams sold

Nov 17 (CT) Indian actor Sachin Joshi bought Lanka Premier League (LPL) franchise Dambulla and renamed it Dambulla Vikings, and now all five teams have been sold with 11 days to go for the tournament. Two Indian actors, an Indian businessman, a Pakistani businessman and a London based businessman, are the owners of the five LPL teams who will play 23 matches in the league starting 26 Nov in Hambanthota. more..

Melstacorp invests Rs. 175 m more in upcoming cement JV

Nov 17 (FT) Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena-controlled Melstacorp PLC has invested a further Rs. 175 million for the upcoming cement bagging business via a joint venture. The new venture, Melsta Gama, is with Pyramid Gama, a joint venture between Gama Corp. of Indonesia and Pyramid Holdings of Sri Lanka. The latest investment is by way of enhancing capital. Originally Melstacorp’s stake in JV was Rs. 952 million and in FY20, it had increased to Rs. 1.127 billion. more..

City of COVID-19: Colombo’s isolated areas need special attention

Nov 17 (DM) COVID-19 pandemic has a devastating effect on Colombo life, with the continuing second wave and the Peliyagoda wholesale fish market exploding with a quick spread of the virus even beyond Colombo. With Colombo city grabbed by the pandemic with less mercy, the Govt was compelled to isolate and lockdown Mattakkuliya, Muttwal, Bloemendhal, Kotahena, Grandpass, Foreshore Police area, Aduruppu Street, Maligawatte, Dematagoda, Keselwatte and Borella, more..

Commit funds to support transitional justice process for victims of conflict

Nov 17 (AI) SL govt must remain committed to delivering truth, justice and reparations to thousands of victims of the country’s civil war, said Amnesty International (AI), ahead of tomorrow’s announcement of the national budget for 2021. Following the govt’s withdrawal of support in February for the UNHRC resolution committing the country to a transitional justice process for victims, AI is deeply concerned that the budgets of more..

Sri Lanka Tourism goes global on Nile TV to woo the Mediterranean traveler

Nov 17 (Island) Sri Lanka Tourism, as one of its initiatives to promote the island destination on social media and virtual platforms shared engaging content of its many attractions and resources turning the pandemic to an opportunity. As result of this effort, Sri Lanka Tourism was able to participate on a destination promotional programme on Nile TV international, with the continuous effort and guidance of the Sri Lanka embassy in Cairo, Egypt, to make this become a successful reality. more..

Real estate upbeat despite Covid curfews: Lanka Property Web

Nov 17 (TM) SL’s real estate market has suffered no damage from the Covid-19 curfews imposed since October in various parts of the country and has in fact operated positively through them, property listing website Lanka Property Web (LPW) said. The company based this on a comparison done between website visitors and users of LPW during the first week of the initial lockdown imposed in March and the last week of October, which showed an increase of 153% and 115%, respectively. more..

Not all deaths at home due to coronavirus: GMOA

Nov 17 (Island) Ministry of Health should prepare guidelines for health staff on handling the bodies of those who die of COVID-19 at their homes to prevent the spread of the disease, Editor of the GMOA, Dr. Haritha Aluthge said. “We proposed that we do a review of COVID-19 deaths and Director General of Health Services, Dr. Asela Gunawardena agreed. He has appointed a committee to look into it and they have been given a week to study more..

First Ceylonese migrant family Down Under

Nov 17 (DM) Last Wednesday Daily Mirror reported about a SL-born Doctor being named Queensland’s Australian of the Year. In a remarkable coincidence, exactly five years ago on 16 Nov 2015, the writer contributed an article sub-titled, Lankans CONQUER Bundaberg, Queensland on Nov 18, 1882’; the main title being,Australian town ‘Badagini' named by Sinhala migrant labour in the 1880s? This article received wide attention after it was reproduced in two SL-sponsored magazines in Australia. more..

Editorial: A welcome judgment

Nov 17 (Island) Court of Appeal (CA), which heard a case filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) against SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen over clearing part of the Kallaru forest reserve in Mannar for a housing scheme, has ordered him to bear the cost of reforesting the affected area. The CEJ deserves public plaudits for its successful legal battle against the destruction of forests. The CA judgment is most welcome and sure to have a deterrent effect on those bent on destroying more..

Poor progress results in two athletes losing IOC funding

Nov 17 (CT) Two track and field athletes, Vidusha Lakshani and Gayanthika Abeyrathne, have been removed from the SL’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) Solidarity Scholarship recipients list targeting the 2021 Olympic Games, after a progress review. Both athletes received USD 670 per month from 2016 post Rio Olympic era till 2020, but lately both Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) and National Olympic Committee (NOCSL) more..

Hayleys Plantations bags top 10 ranks at tea auction for Western High Grown Tea

Nov 17 (FT) Tea estates of SL’s leading plantations company, Hayleys Plantations achieved another unprecedented milestone after the company’s estates secured all of the Top 10 positions for highest Gross Sales Average (GSA) at the auction for Western High Grown Tea in Sept. Six estates of Talawakelle Tea Estates, three estates of Kelani Valley Plantations and one estate of Horana Plantations made up the Top 10 estates in Sept, marking another first in the industry more..

Constitutional changes in Sri Lanka

Nov 17 (Island) In recent times much attention has been focused on the subject of constitutional changes in the press and other media. During the last prez election which Gotabaya Rajapaksa won comfortably he asked the people to give him a two third majority to abolish the 19th Amendment as well as draft an entirely new Constitution replacing the 1978 constitution of the late J.R. Jayewardene. The people gave him this mandate. Since Independence this country has had the benefit of more..

Face the Nation

Devalue Rupee

Nov 17 (CT) The country’s foreign reserves fell to a 42 month low last month (Oct), bludgeoned by the settlement of a maturing US$1,000 million sovereign bond payment. Consequently, reserves, last month over Sept 2020 declined by 12.12% ($ 807.80 million) to $ 5,858.50 million. A reserves figure lower than $ 5,858.50 million last took place 42 months ago in end April 2017, when the country’s foreign reserves fell to $ 5,045.52 million then, from $ 5,119.85 million in March 2017, more..

It’s one year on and the worst is yet to come

Nov 17 (GV) Just before the Prez election of Nov 16, 2019, the UK’s Guardian newspaper began its editorial on SL with this line: There are worse things than disappointment… But the electorate, fed up with the broken promises, inefficiency and corruption of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe combination, went on to give a resounding victory to Gotabaya Rajapaksa. That victory was consolidated by a landslide in the general elections of Aug 2020. Immediately, the draconian 20th Amendment more..

Covid-19 goes behind bars

Nov 17 (TM) Department of Prisons is once again challenged by the spread of Covid-19 in a few of its prisons, with the amount of infected persons this time hitting record numbers. Given the present virulence of the virus, the prisons system in SL has to now look at decongesting the prisons and ensuring that any inmate who comes into contact with a Covid-19-positive inmate is separated and placed under quarantine in a separate more..

J.R. Jayewardene and the 20th Amendment

Nov 17 (FT) If J.R. Jayewardene was alive today, he would surely be delighted at the adoption of the 20th Amendment to our second Republican Constitution (1978), the ownership of which is primarily attributed to him. This Constitution, which launched us on an odyssey along untrodden ways of an executive presidency, was hybrid in nature, a departure from the Westminster style parliamentary system we had enjoyed from 1948. Given the doubtful political maturity of country, concept was troubling, more..

Colombo Chief medical Officer reveals

Nov 17 (DM) Colombo’s CMO of Health Dr. Ruwan Wijemuni, after conducting a series of random PCR tests in Colombo City, had said days ago that there may be more than 30,000 people infected with COVID-19 in City of Colombo. He said that around 300 people in the city had been randomly selected for a PCR test and that 5% of them had tested positive. Since there are about 600,000 people in Colombo, he opined that more than 30,000 people in city were suspected to have been infected. more..

Covid-19 re-emergence & mixed messaging

Nov 17 (TM) Once again, the public is being pushed to decipher the very confusing technical statements of Covid-19 prevention measures that the health authorities have issued for each institution to disseminate, explaining the restriction of service to the public. When the Western Province travel restriction was announced on Wednesday (11) evening, stating that no one was allowed to leave the Western Province starting from 10 p.m. more..

Takeaways and Parallel Lines: 2020 US Presidential Election and Sri Lanka

Nov 17 (GV) A deeply polarised nation, a capitalist theme park, an embedded infrastructure of racism and segregation, and one of the poorest social welfare systems in one of the richest countries in the world — the United States offers an engrossing lens into the loopholes of modern democracy. Reflecting on the tumultuous 2020 US election, we are offered valuable insight into the state of Sri Lankan politics. Here are three takeaways from the US presidential election. more..

COVID-19: Govt at a crossroads on the issue of burial

Nov 17 (DM) Govt of SL (GoSL) appears to be on the horns of a dilemma over whether it should allow Muslims to bury (as per their religious beliefs) those who had died of COVID-19, or if they should be required to submit to cremation, even though they consider cremation to be haram (sinful and forbidden). Health Minister has appointed a committee of scientists to study the matter and advice, given the notion that public health will be in grave danger if bodies of COVID-19 victims more..

Two female officers commissioned as pilots for first time in SLAF history

Nov 16 (CT) Two Lady Officers of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) were commissioned as Pilots of the General Duties Pilot Branch for the first time in the history of the SLAF, at the the SLAF Academy in China Bay today. Today’s parade was handed over to the newly commissioned Officers to command, and today marked the first instance in the history of SLAF when a Lady Officer commanded a parade with the Presidents Colour. more..

June quarter earnings down 58% but transportation booms

Nov 16 (TM) The June 2020 quarter recurring earnings followed suit of previous quarters by declining 58.0% Year-over-Year (YoY) for 267 companies, First Capital Research said. On a recurring basis, June 2020 quarter earnings dipped by 58.0% YoY to Rs. 17.7 billion, primarily owing to sluggish performance in diversified financials (-97% YoY), capital goods (-471% YoY), consumer services (-108% YoY), and real estate (-84% YoY) sector earnings. However, negative performance of more..

World War Heroes remembered on the Poppy Flowers Day

Nov 16 (MoD) The Poppy Day ceremony, organized by the SL Ex-Servicemen’s Association (SLESA) was held yesterday at the Colombo Vihara Maha Devi Park cenotaph. A brief ceremony was held with the presence of a limited gathering due to COVID-19 pandemic health guidelines and regulations. The Day also known as Armed Forces’ Remembrance Day, remembers the unsung heroes in World Wars I & II. Next of kin of those dead ones placed the Poppy wreath to the cenotaph and more..

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