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COVID-19 related expenditure from March to Nov. exceeds Rs. 68 bn

Nov 16 (DN) Expenditures over COVID-19 related affairs in SL from March 31 to Nov 13 exceeded Rs.68 billion, the Govt said. Govt has spent Rs.68.64 billion of public funds so far on COVID-19 measures and of that the highest amount has been allocated to provide the families with the Rs. 5,000 allowance during the lockdown period. 12.7 million families have received this concessionary allowance during this period. more..

Project E-mprovise: Helping Sri Lankan community learn Arduino' technology

Nov 16 (NIA) The project E-mprovise is a three months course on Embedded Systems Development and Engineering organized by the Leo Club of the Uni of Sri J'pura which provides a precious opportunity for the SL community to learn about the world trending and highly demanded Arduino technology. Lions Clubs International is the world's largest organization with 1.4 million members. Today, there are approx 46000 Lions clubs in over 200 countries & geographic areas. more..

SLADA to employ law enforcement officer to fight doping in sports

Nov 16 (Island) Obtaining the service of a qualified law enforcement officer and joining hands with the Director General of Health Services and the Public Health Inspectors are among strategies that the SL Anti Doping Agency is going to employ to fight the use of prohibited drugs in the sports field. Dr. Seevali Jayawickreme, Director General SLADA expressed these views, as his agency marked its seventh anniversary on Sunday. There is wide belief that sportsmen both professional and more..

Pandemic and import restrictions put vehicle traders out of business

Nov 16 (FT) Vehicle importers said COVID-19 and import restrictions have put several vehicle traders out of business, prompting the industry to call for help. “There are a number of small and medium scale car sales island-wide that have gone bankrupt. Most of them were unable to maintain their business with no stocks to sell, pay rents and salaries,” Vehicle Importers Association of SL (VIASL) Immediate Past Prez Ranjan Peiris said. more..

Softlogic opens unique hypermarket in Mt. Lavinia with Glomark, Odel and Softlogic Max

Nov 16 (FT) Softlogic Group last week opened its brand-new hypermarket in Mount Lavinia offering a massive total retail space of 25,105 square feet. Three of its celebrated retail brands, Softlogic Glomark, Odel and Softlogic Max have come together to create a spellbinding retail revolution. Staying true to its vision of providing customers unparalleled product offerings and superior service excellence, the all new Softlogic hyper-market combines the best of int'l & local brands more..

Vehicle ploughs in to Col-7 car showroom

Nov 16 (FT) A luxury Land Cruiser vehicle ran off the road and rammed in to the Nanda Motors car showroom on the corner of Albert Crescent and Independence Avenue on Colombo-7, damaging a number of vehicles last afternoon. According to the Police, the vehicle had lost control while taking the bend and rammed into the showroom. Several vehicles that were displayed at the showroom have been damaged. No one was hurt in the incident and public property was not damaged, more..

Colombo Port: A slow return to normalcy

Nov 16 (TM) Operations at the Colombo Port are slowly returning back to normal, SLPA said yesterday, assuring a full recovery within the week with the additional staff called on for work. SLPA Chairman Daya Ratnayake said the SLPA had already called the retired employees, expecting to resume operations within the next week at a normal pace. “We hope that the operations will return back to normal by next week as more..

Rosy fears there could be 30,000 undetected infections in the city

Nov 16 (Island) Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake said that there could be as many as 30,000 undetected COVID-19 cases in the Colombo Municipal Council area. She said that the population density, lifestyle and public behaviour in Municipal areas were contributing factors to the high number of COVID-19 patients detected in the city. On Saturday 275 infected persons were detected during random PCR tests conducted across the city, she said. “Irrespective of warnings people in flats more..

Aitken Spence achieves 33% growth in 2Q PBT from non-tourism sectors

Nov 16 (FT) Aitken Spence Plc’s non-tourism sectors have reported a Profit-Before-Tax (PBT) of Rs. 1.13 billion in 2Q, a growth of 33% compared to the previous year in the midst of challenging economic conditions. These sectors also reported an EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Expense, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) of Rs. 1.59 billion prior to the impact of forex compared to 2Q of previous year. The Group’s non-tourism sectors continued their positive performance more..

Burial or cremation: GMOA wants experts to decide

Nov 16 (Island) The GMOA said that SL didn’t need international mediation to decide whether to allow the burial of those who died from COVID-19, GMOA official Dr. Haritha Aluthge said. He said that UN Resident Coordinator in Colombo Hanaa Singer had written to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, raising concerns over the Health Ministry guidelines according to which the creamation of those who die of COVID-19 is mandatory. more..

Dr. Harsha Subasinghe, inspires winners of the AIA Higher Education Scholarships

Nov 16 (Island) 12th AIA Insurance’s Higher Education Scholarships Programme, now in its 26th consecutive year, rewards the top performers from each district at the Grade 5 scholarship examination, by giving them a monthly bursary from Advanced Level (A/L) class right up to the completion of their University degree. Started in 1994, the programme was initiated to lend a hand to Sri Lanka’s brightest and most promising students, as they are the future of our nation. more..

Case for a health system on compassion and heritage

Nov 16 (SO) With around 25,000 traditional medicine practitioners and thousands of other Ayurveda doctors, why have we not incorporated a policy to use the expertise of each of these physicians/doctors in the country, towards our battle against Covid-19? Yes, there is no medicine for Covid-19 in the Western medical system just as there is no cure for Dengue. The only closest alternative is the immunity boosters and diverse methods for respiratory ailment curative more..

Lifters ranked among top three in Commonwealth

Nov 16 (CT) Weight lifting has been Sri Lanka’s most successful sport recently. Especially in the Commonwealth Games, it has been the only sport which produced medals in the last four editions. Even though Lifters are ranked among the top three in the Commonwealth,(even in the latest ranking updates), yet their funding has been cut-off since last April, and slow progress in setting up new funding guidelines have left them frustrated. more..

Nikoli Bandara the athlete turned swimmer

Nov 16 (DN) Nikoli Bandara, an outstanding Swimmer of Mahamaya Girls College, Kandy and a promising Long distance Runner who had to give up running as she had to concentrate on swimming. Nikoli started swimming in the year 2008 when she was 7 years old and studying in the Grade.2 class. She started Swimming competitions only in the year 2014 and then she won the 77th Annual two mile Sea swim at the Under 14 age group at Mt. Lavinia. Her Swimming Coach, U.H. Sugath more..

COVID-19: No respecter of religions!

Nov 16 (CT) After the second wave of COVID-19 broke out early October, COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 related deaths have been on the rise. Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit data shows that as of 15 Nov, Sri Lanka had recorded 53 COVID-19 related deaths and a total of over 16,000 COVID-19 cases. Majority of these deaths and cases were from the second wave of COVID-19, and health authorities have cautioned that the second wave is more dangerous than the first one. more..

Covid-19 re-emergence & mixed messaging

Nov 16 (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..

COVID 19; How it unfolded

Nov 16 (Island) The COVID 19 pandemic caused by the SARS-COV-2 respiratory virus has been spreading worldwide at an alarming rate, claiming many lives and causing socioeconomic and psychological destruction along the way. The US and Europe appear to be facing the most devastating consequences so far. However, with the number of new patients rising rapidly, SL too may possibly be heading towards adversity. The first COVID 19 patient in SL was confirmed on more..

Health workforce: The greatest asset amidst pandemic

Nov 16 (DM) A lot has been written on the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these portray the dangers of acquiring the infection. It is no secret that anxiety levels and the social stigma associated with this virus are more dangerous than the disease itself. We are witnessing a race against time in discovering an effective vaccine or cure. But have we put much thought into producing health care workers at a rapid pace? Has world news featured heads-of-states declaring they have doubled their investment more..

රතු ඉර - කාලීන දේශපාලන සංවාදය

Editorial: Virus and Big Brother

Nov 16 (Island) Whoever would have thought, a few years ago, that a runaway virus would upend the modern world in this manner? Coronavirus has brought about an unprecedented situation where everyone, across the globe, feels just like Winston Smith in George Orwell’s dystopian novella, 1984. Winston is troubled by his omniscient party leader, Big Brother, watching him and monitoring even his thoughts. Surveillance as a pandemic control measure has become the order of the day. more..

Growing fatalities and misleading claims

Nov 16 (DM) A little over a month ago —4 Oct 2020— a new outbreak of the Coronavirus was detected at a Brandix factory in Minuwangoda. It was, at that time, referred to as the Brandix Cluster. At that time the country had a total 7,872 confirmed cases of the virus. A total 3,803 victims had recovered and 13 persons had succumbed to the disease. By yesterday (15) according to statistics of the Health Promotion Bureau, SL has 17,127 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 58 deaths. more..

A Year in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Nov 16 (GV) A pandemic with no end in sight, an economy that is unravelling, a fiscal abyss, a debt pile-up, an overwhelmed public health system – and Gotabaya-Mahinda govt is planning to build a leisure park near the Peralanda wetland in Ragama. The cabinet paper was presented by PM last week and approved. The cost was not mentioned, but is likely to be stupendous; money that should have been used to increase our testing capacity, more..

Sri Lanka’s covid-19 dark riders

Nov 16 (ST) The fearsome sight of armed motorcycle riders, clad in black, complete with sunglasses and masks completely obscuring their faces conducting covid-19 temperature checks on the public in Colombo and then roaring away in a concerted cloud of darkness as it were, raises an unfortunate analogy to mind. At the height of the terror-ridden years of Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier, his all-black masked Tonton Macoutes used to roam the capital city in much the same way, more..

Vaccine light flashes positive to end COVID’s global terror reign

Nov 16 (ST) On the day the Lankan Govt flung open the gates on a locked-up people and freed them to run the risk of the coronavirus gauntlet in a health guidelines bubble, thousands of miles away in Manhattan, New York, US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was announcing the news the world would have gladly given an arm and a leg to hear. The drug maker declared that an early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19. more..

Minister Namal Rajapaksa to restructure sports sector and create opportunities

Nov 16 (TM) The youngest Rajapaksa in Parliament and the youngest Cabinet Minister of the present Govt has been under severe criticism by the well-seasoned politicians and the public who have been very vocal about the choices he has made in appointing certain individuals to committees and councils, be it the sports sector or the youth sector. This week, The Sunday Morning managed to sit for a full-length interview more..

The Covid juggernaut

Nov 16 (TM) During his speech presenting the Appropriations Bill for 2020, PM revealed that the govt will grant Sri Lankan Airlines a loan of $150million, i.e. bout SLR 27.7 billion. This same govt has not added a single new ICU bed, a single new ventilator to the existing stock since March this year. Prez’s explanation is as incomparable as the decision itself: “Our doctors and hospital staff were able to diagnose COVID infections in the first stage and treat them accordingly. more..

Budget Blues

Nov 16 (CT) Budgeting in the face of a combined attack on public health and national economy by a global pandemic is indeed a daunting task for any govt. After all it is the people who are the producers and beneficiaries of an economy, and without the people there is no need for an economy. Therefore, it is difficult to choose which one of the two should receive priority when drawing budgetary plans by a govt. Although the budgetary measures for 2021 are yet to be submitted the speech by the PM more..

Raging new wave of COVID-19: People and media made scapegoats

Nov 15 (ST) Concerns are growing among Sri Lankans as the Govt fights an uncontrollable spread of the dangerously contagious Covid-19 pandemic. As a ten-day curfew and lockdown ended, swathe of damage caused by the spread has reached newer proportions. Deaths are on the rise. More and more are falling victims. Business activity has been crippled. Upmarket complexes, for example Majestic City, carry tell-tale signs. more..

Video: Maradana, Fort, Pettah, Slave Island, Dam Street isolated from Monday

Nov 15 (AD) More areas of the Colombo District will be under isolation orders from November 16, according to Commander of Army Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva. Accordingly, Maradana, Fort, Pettah, Slave Island, and Dam Street areas in the Colombo District will be declared isolated areas until further notice. The order will be in effect from 5 am on Monday (16), the Army Chief said. Meanwhile, the status of areas already under isolation will continue as previously informed. more..

Resuming Minuwangoda operations: Brandix yet to decide on date

Nov 15 (SO) Brandix is yet to determine the date of reopening the Minuwangoda plant. Our top priority at this juncture is the welfare of our employees, a senior official of the company said elaborating on the current status of the company following the detection of the first Covid-19 affected employee at its Minuwangoda factory in October.He said reopening the facility and recommencing operations will be in line with the direction of the health authorities and supervision of the Govt, and until such time, more..

Colombo Port Covid cluster: Essential items shortage looms

Nov 15 (ST) The lack of adequate employees at SLPA to handle the operations of the Colombo Port, particularly at Jaya Container Terminal (JCT), has posed a huge threat to the continuous supply of daily essentials to the local market. Over 40 vessels have already bypassed the Colombo Port without unloading containers at JCT. As a result, essential food importers fear their containers would not arrive before more..

Importers await lifting of import ban fully

Nov 15 (SO) There had been some easing of the restrictions, as announced, but it is mainly shifting some HS Categories from banned to compulsory 90 days or 180 days Credit Terms, said CCC, Import Section, Chairman Delano Dias on the current status of the easing of the import ban. Around 749 HS Category goods were banned for a period of 3 months by Gazette in April which was revised with more HS categories added bringing the Banned list to 1,076 in May. more..

Low deposit interest rates drive retailers

Nov 15 (ST) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is seeing a flock of retail and High Networth Individuals (HNWI) – essentially due to low deposit interest rates, analysts said. “This trend can be sustained with the low interest rate regime,” a stockbroker said. But some analysts are not so sure. “There is a revolving trading pattern right now – the same shareholders are buying and selling the same shares. This cannot continue after a particular point. With significant profit in encashment, more..

US fixer faces jail term up to 13 years; charges include pocketing US$ 5.6m from SL

Nov 15 (ST) Federal prosecutors filing in the US District Court this week have asked a judge to sentence American fixer and venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi to between 10 and 13 years in prison for an array of crimes, including pocketing US$ 5.6mn that SL paid him in 2014 to improve the country’s image after its victory against the LTTE. The deal Mr. Zuberi struck with the SL Govt was part of the case against him. more..

Budget 2021: Vehicle import controls to continue; boost for tourism, exports

Nov 15 (ST) Vehicle import controls will be continued and heavy concessions granted to the tourism and export sectors, according to the highlights of the 2021 Budget to be presented in Parliament on Tuesday by PM and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Accordingly, vehicle imports suspended this year to prevent the foreign exchange outflow will continue. Permit holders will be able to continue to buy their vehicles from available stocks in the market. more..

Suppliers boycott Sathosa; Trade Ministry seeks Rs. 2bn from Treasury

Nov 15 (ST) In the face of suppliers refusing to do business with the state-run Lanka Sathosa due to the non-settlement of bills, the Trade Ministry is seeking approval to obtain Rs 2 billion for purchases. This money will be used for immediate spot purchases from private traders to get over the problem. Lanka Sathosa, Govt’s main retail outlet, has run up an arrears of Rs 7.7 billion. Treasury had given a guarantee in Sept for a credit facility from a state bank amounting to Rs 2.2 billion more..