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Rs. 450 b govt revenue shortfall likely: ICRA

Feb 23 (FT) Govt is likely to face a revenue shortfall of Rs. 450 billion this year, which could see expenditure trimmed by Rs. 140 billion, pushing the deficit to 10.8% and total debt stock to 99.3% of GDP, ICRA Lanka said. Releasing there Economy Highlights report for 20/21 ICRA Lanka, which is a subsidiary of Moody’s Investment Services, said it projects growth to be around 3.6% in 2021 & hover around 4% for next 4 yrs more..

Workers’ remittances off to positive start in 2021

Feb 23 (FT) Inflow of workers remittances has got off to a positive start in 2021 reflecting double digit growth. The inflow in January was $ 675.3 million up by 16.3% from a year earlier. In local currency it was valued at Rs. 128.6 billion up 22% from January last year. Last year SL received $ 7.1 billion in workers’ remittances, up by near 6% from 2019 in which year inflows were down by 4% to $ 6.7 billion. December 2020 saw a record inflow of $ 813 million, reflecting a 22% year on year growth. more..

Sri Lanka exporters concerned over mandatory dollar conversion

Feb 23 (EN) Some SL exporter have expressed concern over a mandatory dollar conversion rule imposed amid unprecedented money printing that under modern monetary theory, that created foreign exchange shortages and reserves losses. SL ordered exporters to bring back export proceeds within 180 days and convert 25% of the proceeds into rupees, using provisions of the central bank law. While some exporters had domestic expenses including salaries and overheads of over 25% more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Pakistan, Sri Lanka agree to activate JWGs to boost trade

Feb 23 (DT) Pakistan and Sri Lanka had agreed to reactivate the forum of Joint Working Groups (JWGs) for redressal of technical issues pending between the two trading partners for prompting trade liberalization to increase bilateral trade between both of the countries. It was decided to conduct the next JWG meeting during the first half of 2021. The 7th Session of Commerce Secretaries Level Talks, hosted by Pakistan, were held virtually in Islamabad between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, more..

Mathivanan is ready to fight back

Feb 23 (TM) During the past two weeks, The Morning Sports published views of SLC's current President Shammi Silva and its Vice President Ravin Wickramaratne. Today we will meet Kangadaran Mathivanan, former Vice President of SLC, who will be leading SLC’s opposition camp in its next election, set for 20 May. In the field of local cricket administration which is full of unyielding controversies, mud-slinging, allegations of corruption, and bureaucracy, more..

518 more test positive for COVID-19

Feb 23 (FT) The country’s total COVID-19 patient count yesterday exceeded 80,000 with the detection of 518 new COVID-19 positive persons. The patients detected yesterday include 487 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster and three persons linked to the prisons cluster. Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons clusters have thus expanded to 76,413 patients. In addition to this, 2,010 SL returnees from abroad, more..

Black-out of West Indies series?

Feb 23 (TM) There will be possible a black-out of television live coverage of the long cricket series, to be played across all three formats, in the West Indies starting on 3 March with the T20Is, The Morning Sports learnt yesterday (22). The London-based Pitch International is reportedly has broadcasting rights of West Indies Cricket (WIC), which became WIC’s exclusive commercial consultant and sponsorship sales agency in September 2015 on a multi-year deal. more..

Domestic laws to address accountability

Feb 23 (Island) With the UNHRC sessions in Geneva starting on 22 Feb, several commentators have expressed opinions as to how Sri Lanka should address the issues raised in the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Others, some with extremely impressive credentials, have been more specific and confined themselves to issues relating to accountability. The prevailing perception is that domestic legal provisions are inadequate to address issues relating to accountability more..

42 trees felled; PS Chairman - a law unto himself ! Unjust enrichment via...

Feb 23 (DM) Ambagamuwa Pradesha Sabha (PS) Chairman Jayasanka Perera was allegedly accused of haphazardly felling 42 trees prior to widening Diyagala – Nallatanniya road without informing any state institute. We reported on this in the Daily Mirror recently. These felled trees are valued at more than ten million Rupees. It is surprising that no state institute was aware of this incident until the trees were sold. more..

2nd SL Women’s Chess Grand Prix 2021: 14-year-old Dahamdi emerges champ

Feb 23 (CT) K.M. Dahamdi Sanudula, 14- year-old from Musaeus College, won the 2nd SL Women’s Chess Grand Prix 2021 convincingly at the Chess Federation of SL headquarters on the 21st (Sunday). She led the event from start to finish and scored 9 points out of a possible 11 games. She came back strongly in the penultimate round to win the crucial game against the Silver medalist Niklesha Tharusi. Having 1 point lead she drew her final round match against Esha Pallie to finish the event. more..

Implementing PCoI recommendations will undermine Rule of Law and Democracy

Feb 23 (ST) The process set in motion by the appointment of the PCoI to investigate alleged political victimisation during the time of the Yahapalana Govt has raised questions with regard to its impact on the Rule of Law in particular and Democracy in general. It has been a common practice in the history of our country after the change of any govt, for the incoming administration to appoint a committee to inquire into and provide redress to public officials, more..

Face the Nation

Editorial: Release the report

Feb 23 (Island) Efficiency may not be a trait SL Presidents possess, but there is one thing they can do very efficiently, nay with great panache; it is swallowing PCoI reports. Speculation is rife in political circles that the same fate has befallen the report submitted by the PCoI on the Easter Sunday carnage. It should have been made available to Parliament immediately after it was submitted to Prez Rajapaksa. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith’s consternation is understandable. more..

Putting a stop to online blackmail

Feb 23 (CT) Human interaction is being taken up entirely online in recent years. We are becoming a generation of tech savvy netizens building virtual bridges with each other through the power of the internet. This phenomenon has become clearly apparent since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Whatsapp calls to Zoom meetings and working from home, we saw how much technology is capable of meeting new demands in our changing human society. more..

‘Senior female officers marginalised and victimised’

Feb 23 (TM) DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi was appointed as the first ever female DIG in Sri Lanka in October 2020. She graduated from the University of Ruhuna with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Economics, Sinhala, and Statistics. She later obtained a Masters in Human Rights from the Uni of Colombo. In 1997, Jasin Arachchi joined the SL Police Department as an Inspector of Police and was promoted to SSP in 2017. more..

Resolving the perilous external financial vulnerability

Feb 23 (ST) Although the country’s external financial vulnerability is increasing, there is considerable complacency and confidence among officials that it would be resolved. The repetitive refrain has been that the country has always met its debt obligations and it will do so now. We are told that the nation’s external finances are under control and that the govt has its own way of resolving it. There is no acknowledgement of the crisis in the external finances, nor an indication of how the country more..

Vaccination corruption

Feb 23 (DM) The whole world is banking on the few vaccines produced by major countries to protect its population that stands at over 7.8 billion from COVID-19 pandemic. Around another 200 vaccine producing candidates are awaiting laboratory and clinical tests, some of which are at their last phase of clinical tests. However, there has also been discouraging news that some widely used vaccines have failed in controlling new variants of the new corona virus in countries such as South Africa more..

'COVID-19 vaccine is safe'

Feb 23 (CT) Prof Suranjith Seneviratne, Professor and Consultant in Clinical Immunology and Allergy at the Royal Free Hospital and University College London, dispels some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. “All the data point towards the increased and prominent benefits of vaccination. You can look at the data from the countries that have vaccinated more people and that now it is preventing more..

Govt’s incorrigible foreign policy: Tail wagging the dog?

Feb 23 (DM) Barely a few months ago, with the govt of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was safely ensconced in power and with the ruling party SLPP having won a two-thirds majority in Parliament, the foreign policy interlocutors of the new govt outlined its foreign policy. SL would follow an equidistant foreign policy. Neutrality would be the whole mark, said the foreign secretary Jayanath Colombage. “We want to be a neutral country and maintain friendly relations with all countries in the world,” more..

The heritage of Richard de Zoysa as a victim of State-terror

Feb 23 (DM) Richard de Zoysa, who was kidnapped and killed by a death squad operating under the knowledge of the state on 18 Feb 1990, has over the past three decades been commemorated as an icon of State-sponsored suppression of free expression in SL. De Zoysa was a multifaceted prodigy with a background as an actor in theatre and film, as well as an emerging poet composing in English. In the late-1980s, with the escalation of political violence in the south, De Zoysa took a keen interest more..

No Chinese-funded projects on Jaffna islets: Shivajilingam

Feb 22 (CT) Former NPC Member, M.K. Shivajilingam said under no circumstance would the three islets of the Northern Province be allowed to be handed over for Chinese- funded projects. He said the people of the North would never consent to handing over the islets to Chinese firms. He said if the islets are allowed to be controlled by foreign firms notwithstanding the protests of Tamils in the North, then demonstrations would be staged more..

Video: Reports of influence being used to obtain COVID-19 vaccine

Feb 22 (AD) There have been reports of some parties obtaining the coronavirus vaccine via various influences, the Deputy Director-General of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath says. When inquired about non-systematic vaccination in violation of priority, he pointed out that everyone should be patient until their opportunity arises. “Some people have resorted to various forms of pressure such as using connections and positions to obtain vaccinations outside of the vaccination plan. more..

New State Ministry of Home Affairs will control all lands

Feb 22 (EN) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued an extraordinary gazette notification creating a State Ministry of Home Affairs which will control all issues dealing with land and will be administrated through the Divisional Secretariats. The new Ministry will handle all issues dealing with land and has been mandated to release underutilized state lands on a long-term basis to grow crops that will provide raw materials for various industries such as carpentry, rattan and reed making. more..

Vaas resigns 3 days after being appointed Sri Lanka's bowling coach

Feb 22 (CB) Chaminda Vaas, just three days after being appointed SL's consultant bowling coach for the tour of West Indies, announced his resignation from the post today, effective from March 26, 2021. He also informed the board that he wouldn't be able to tour West Indies as a member of the support staff, a SLC release confirmed. Vaas's resignation came just hours before the team was scheduled to depart for the Caribbean. more..

No stopping of Rumassala hotel and road?

Feb 22 (Island) Central Environmental Authority (CEA) would not approve the construction of a road that would cause damage to the Rumassala ecosystem, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, adding that the Southern Provincial Director of Environment had been instructed to take necessary steps to remove the gravel from the existing narrow road and to see if it could be done in an environmentally friendly manner. Amaraweera also instructed the officials of the CEA to submit more..

Digital literacy sharply increases to 49.5%

Feb 22 (CT) SL’s computer literacy rate increased from 30.8% to 32%, while its digital literacy rate sharply increased from 46% to 49.5% end 2019 figures versus end first half (1H) 2020 figures, Census and Statistics Dept (CSD) said. CSD said digital literacy is higher than computer literacy for all disaggregated levels, showing the drift from personal computer to smartphones/tablets. CSD defined disaggregated levels encompassing age; sex; urban, rural and estate sectors, more..

Lahiru Kumara tests positive for Covid-19, to miss West Indies tour

Feb 22 (CI) Sri Lanka quick Lahiru Kumara has tested positive for Covid-19, which rules him out of the tour of the West Indies in March, Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed on Monday. Suranga Lakmal is in the frame to be his replacement in the travelling party. "Following PCR Tests carried out on the squad nominated to take part in the white ball segment of the tour of West Indies, Lahiru Kumara has tested positive for Covid-19," more..

Opposition accuses govt. of trying to tamper with evidence

Feb 22 (Island) The SJB accused the got of trying to tamper with evidence to take legal action against those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage selectively. Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the PCoI had completed its investigation into the Easter Sunday terror attacks after studying evidence for nearly one and half years and handed over its report to the President recently. more..

Special unit formed on deforestation, env. destruction: Minister

Feb 22 (DM) A special unit has been formed comprising of STF personnel and Police Environmental Unit to take immediate action against deforestation, Minister Sarath Weerasekera said. Those who are indulging in deforestation, poaching and causing destruction to environmental activities will be caught by the police and punished severely. To provide any alert to the STF on these illegal activities, the emergency phone number 1997 is active all the time to apprehend the culprits, more..

North granted land powers: Douglas silent on issue at Romesh de Silva Committee

Feb 22 (Island) SL’s Ambassador in Myanmar, Prof. Nalin de Silva, has said that the govt owes an explanation as regards EPDP leader Douglas Devananda’s recent claim that the current administration granted the Northern Province (NP) land powers in terms of the 13th Amendment. Responding to The Island report headlined North granted land powers published on 19 Feb, Prof. de Silva emphasised the responsibility more..

SL’s RTI Act and RTI Commission feature in UNESCO’s global report

Feb 22 (FT) SL has been positively featured in the UNESCO's 2020 Global Report on the status of Right to Information (RTI) regimes worldwide, the RTI Commission of SL said in a statement to mark the fourth anniversary since coming into. The UNESCO Report titled From Promise to Practice has observed that 85% of the Commission’s Orders, during 2017-2019 have released information in full or in part, along with detailed reasoning on the importance of the right to know, more..

Use pipe-borne water sparingly as dry weather sets in: Water Board

Feb 22 (DM) National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) requested the general public to use the tap water carefully due to the prevailing dry weather condition in the country. They said due to insufficient water levels at the intake, the water purification and supply could become low. Also he said that certain areas may also receive water at low pressure. Due to the low pressure supply, the water supply to higher grounds might get disrupted. Therefore people are requested to collect more..

Tax exemptions for dedicated Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Zone: Govt

Feb 22 (FT) Govt has announced numerous tax exemptions for the dedicated Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Zone being built on 400 acres of land in Hambantota. Tax exemptions have been granted under the provisions of the Strategic Development Projects Act. The dedicated Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Zone will be built in an area of 400 acres of land owned by the BOI in Hambantota-Arabokka area in two stages of more..

Video: O/L results out by June, A/L classes start in July: GL

Feb 22 (AD) The results of the GCE O/L Exam, which is scheduled to be held from March 01, will be released by June, Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris stated. Accordingly, the A/L classes for the same batch will commence from July, he added, joining a press conference held today (22). He said that their main objective is to not waste the precious youth of children of the country. A total of 622,305 candidates are to face the O/L exam at 4,513 centers from 1st to 10th of March. more..

Real estate market set to face undersupply of apartment stock: RIU

Feb 22 (FT) The annual real estate report by the Research Intelligence Unit (RIU) shows that the industry had performed with tenacity and resilience during the past year, given the economy’s extraordinary challenges. The report concluded that within the next two to three years, Sri Lanka would face an undersupply of apartments and other real estate assets due to a combination of variables which would essentially navigate it towards establishing a sellers’ market. more..