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Leading Buddhist Monks demand action against Justice Minister

Feb 22 (EN) Eleven leading Buddhist Monks have written to Prez Rajapaksa asking him to take action regarding a statement made by Justice and Prisons Reform Minister Mohamed Ali Sabry in Parliament last week over the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance. The Monks, all politically active figures, have stated in their letter that the minister has cited the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance and a few other laws as more..

President inaugurates Plant A Hope tree planting program

Feb 22 (PMD) The project by the National Scouts Movement to plant 100,000 trees was inaugurated today (22) under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House premises in Colombo. The project has been designed to mark the 164th Birth Anniversary of Lord Baden Powell, the founder of the Scouts Movement. Chief Commissioner of Sri Lanka Scout Association Major Gen. Milinda Peiris welcomed President Rajapaksa by adorning him with the scarf. more..

Rosy refutes claims on Covid vaccines given to VIP’s

Feb 22 (DM) Whilst the opposition members of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) alleged that priority was given by the Municipal Council to influential persons yesterday when providing COVID-19 vaccines, Mayor of Colombo Rosy Senanayake denied the claim. Ms. Senanayake said the vaccine was given to members of the council, the CMC staff and the neighbourhood of the Town hall. “When you mean neighbourhood of the Town Hall it is people from Ward Place, more..

Confusion reigns as Sri Lanka begins to vaccinate general public

Feb 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s vaccination rollout has gotten off to a shaky start – though a start nonetheless – amid much confusion about whom among the public is entitled to the jab. A number of anecdotal accounts seen on social media today painted a picture of chaos, inefficiency and favouritism, with stories of older people being turned away after standing in a queue for hours and, in at least one case, fights breaking out. more..

SLT-Mobitel facilitates TRCSL’s Gamata Sanniwedanaya Project in Ratnapura

Feb 22 (DN) As the National ICT and Telecom Service Provider, SLT-Mobitel recorded yet another historic milestone by facilitating the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission's (TRC) Gamata Sanniwedanaya Project which aims to empower rural areas with supreme connectivity solutions. The ground-breaking ceremony took place at the hilltop village of Ihalagalagama in Ratnapura. The ceremony was graced by several distinguished dignitaries from the TRCSL, SLT-Mobitel and more..

Fresh altercation over Altair delay

Feb 22 (FT) The iconic residential apartment complex Altair last week saw a fresh altercation over the delay whilst the Owners Association expressed confidence of early completion with Govt supervision and support. Early last week an investor and member of the newly formed Altair Owners Association had a violent altercation with a staff member of the main contractor connected to the progress of the project. The incident triggered multiple messages with various allegations and insinuations in social media more..

Battle of the selectors on show at SLC

Feb 22 (FT) In a totally unexpected and surprising development, the selection of the teams has been entrusted to members of the former selection committee in spite of the Minister Namal Rajapaksa stating that a new selection committee will be formed following the resignation of the chairman Ashantha de Mel. It is understood that the two remaining members from the previous selection committee, namely Pramodya Wickramasinghe (SSC) & Chaminda Mendis (Colts), more..

Sri Lanka to take up delay in BIA expansion with Japan Govt

Feb 22 (FT) Sri Lanka has decided to take up with the Japanese Govt the inordinate delay in the completion of the expansion and modernisation of the BIA by the Japanese company. This decision was arrived at after a high-level review of the progress of Project B of the BIA expansion on Friday. Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga instructed Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi to make the necessary representations in this connection to the Japanese Ambassador more..

TNA will support Government if it resolves national issue: MP Sumanthiran

Feb 22 (DN) The TNA will not hesitate to support the Govt if it is committed to provide a long lasting solution to the national question through a new Constitution, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said. He said that there had not been any Constitutional Amendment to provide a political solution to the issues of the Tamil speaking people in the N&E. MP was speaking to the media at a TNA meeting on the proposed new Constitution. He said that 13th Amendment made an effort in this regard. more..

Sri Lankan Catholics demand clarity on bombing report

Feb 22 (UCAN) SL Catholics have demonstrated against the govt-appointed cabinet panel studying the report compiled by the prez commission probing the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. Relatives of victims in Negombo held a protest on Feb 20 against the new cabinet committee and to demand publication of the report and to bring the culprits before the law. The protesters hold placards saying more..

Video: Railway unions to launch token strike at midnight

Feb 22 (AD) Railway trade unions have decided to launch a trade union action from midnight today. Secretary of the Locomotive Engineering Operators’ Union (LEOU) Indika Dodangoda said that 19 railway trade unions have joined together for this trade union action. Speaking to the media, Dodangoda said that the main reason behind the decision for a trade union action is to halt a project commenced by the Yahapalana govt. According to him, the previous regime completely removed more..

Navy turtle conservation project releases 78 sea turtle hatchlings to ocean

Feb 22 (SLN) 78 sea turtle hatchlings emerged at the conservation unit and information centre at Panama managed under the Navy’s turtle conservation project, were released to the ocean, on 21st Feb. SL Navy is implementing a turtle conservation project with the prime objective of conserving endangered sea turtles to help protect the biodiversity of marine ecosystem. Accordingly, these 78 sea turtles which emerged from the eggs hatched under the care of turtle conservation more..

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From Davos to Geneva: What kind of multilateralism do we need?

Feb 22 (FT) Since last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely threatened global public health and economic development, and it has also posed severe challenges to how govts can effectively protect human rights. As of 20 Feb, 110 million people have been diagnosed and 2 million people have died from the coronavirus around the world. The IMF predicts that global GDP will decline by 4.4% in 2020. World Bank estimates that more than 100 million people worldwide have more..

Should SL rely on inflation tax to generate income for cash-strapped govt?

Feb 22 (FT) In a recent press conference, Central Bank Governor Deshamanya Professor W.D. Lakshman has said that the present Govt is adopting an alternate economic strategy to solve the country’s chronic as well as acute economic problems. Critics have branded that alternate policy as following what is known as Modern Monetary Theory or MMT. The main characteristic of MMT is the use of CB-printed money for financing the Govt budgets. Since it leads to inflation if it is done without restraint, more..

Cardinal refuses to meet Ministers

Feb 22 (TM) Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has refused a request for a meeting by Catholic Ministers and MPs representing the Govt. A spokesperson for the Archbishop’s House confirmed that no meeting would take place on 2 March as requested by the Govt delegation. “Until the PCoI report on Easter Sunday attacks is in the hands of Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, he would not be meeting with any politicians,” more..

Ten more COVID-19 deaths bring total to 445

Feb 22 (FT) Health authorities yesterday confirmed 10 COVID-19 deaths, which brought the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 445. Two were deaths that occurred yesterday and the remaining 8 occurred between 14 Feb and 20 Feb. A 74-year old individual from Kolonnawa and an 82-year-old individual from Wellawatte passed away yesterday at the Homagama Base Hospital. Former died of COVID pneumonia and exacerbated liver disease while the latter died of COVID pneumonia. more..

Govt should state how it will settle foreign debt services: Harsha

Feb 22 (DM) Highlighting that SL’s foreign debt services which has to be settled as of December this year had reached $6 billion, SJB MP Harsha de Silva today urged the govt to state as to how it is going to settle them. Dr. de Silva alleged that an international sovereign bond issue which Sri Lanka went into in 2011 and another issue which the country went into in 2012 will mature this year while the govt will have to make payments for the SWAP arrangements it has got into this year. more..

Video: Sri Lanka prepared to face Core Group’s resolution at UNHRC: Dinesh

Feb 22 (AD) Sri Lanka is prepared to face the Core Group’s resolution to be presented at the upcoming session of the UNHRC, says Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Issuing a statement, the Core Group on SL – consisting of UK, Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, and Montenegro – revealed its plans to take forward a further resolution to promote reconciliation, accountability & human rights in SL. more..

SL, US set to increase exports under GSP

Feb 22 (SLE) Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha on 19 February had a virtual meeting with Ambassador Christopher Wilson, Assistant US trade representative for South & Central Asia and reviewed bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries. Meeting particularly focused on the limited use of SL exports to the US that benefitted from the GSP arrangement, and to explore modalities to encourage an increase in products that could benefit from GSP. more..

FDI slows to US$ 528 million up to Sept 2020

Feb 22 (EN) Foreign direct investments to Sri Lanka has fallen to US$ 528 million up to the third quarter of 2020 down from US$ 793 million in 2019, CB data showed. The data includes direct investments to Board of Investment approved companies, direct investment to listed companies and loans to foreign companies. In the full year 2019 Sri Lanka is estimated to have received US$ 1,204 million of FDI, down from US$ 2.13 billion a year earlier. The FDI was made up of US$ 758 million of equity, more..

Information on 15 suicide women revealed

Feb 22 (CT) When questioning a 24-year-old woman taken into custody, by the TID in connection with engaging in Wahabism and extremist activities while participating in extremism classes conducted by Zaharan Hashim, information regarding 15 other women who had also attended these classes surfaced. All 15 of them had, in addition to participating in these classes, sworn the oath of allegiance, in presence of Zaharan, more..

'Doomsayers will be disappointed again'

Feb 22 (FT) State Minister Nivard Cabraal declared that doomsayers of SL will be disappointed when the country honours its foreign debt repayment track record. He noted that SL is an $ 85 billion economy and that it will generate forex Inflows of around $ 32 billion in 2021, and possibly about $ 2 -3 billion more than that amount each year, every year, thereafter. He said as of now (Feb 2021), the total International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) outstanding is $ 14 billion, which is only 16.7% of SL’s total debt. more..

Video: Norton Bridge Traffic OIC, Galle PS member remanded over extortion

Feb 22 (AD) Six individuals have been arrested and placed under remand custody over an incident of extortion. Reportedly, the OIC of the Traffic Division of the Norton Bridge Police and a member of a Pradeshiya Sabha in Galle are among the arrestees. The group had attempted to extort money from the Chief Incumbent of the Pathgama Yogashrama Temple in Balapitiya, the Police said. Investigations have revealed that a group claiming to be officers from a special unit of the Senior DIG more..

Prez instructs govt officials to meet people and resolve their problems

Feb 22 (PMD) Prez Rajapaksa has categorically directed that officials with decision making powers must attend District and Regional Development Committee meetings to implement people-centric projects. Prez stated that from the outset of the Discussion with the Village programme, he had realized that the lack of proper involvement of responsible officials was the main reason for the delay in implementing useful projects and more..

Four new players for Caribbean tour

Feb 22 (DN) Four new players namely Ramesh Mendis, Dilshan Madushanka, Pathum Nissanka and Ashen Bandara have been included in the 20-member SL cricket squad for the tour of West Indies to compete in the T-20 and the limited over matches scheduled to commence from March 3 Two prolific batsmen Pathum Nisshanka from NCC, Ashen Bandara from Saracens Sports Club, left medium paceman Dilshan Madushanka from Colts Cricket Club and Ramesh Mendis the all-rounder more..

Shipping industry wants ECT fast-tracked

Feb 22 (ST) SL’s shipping industry has requested authorities to fast-track the operationalisation of the East Container Terminal (ECT) in a bid to overcome the perception that Colombo Port is congested and can accommodate vessels without berthing delays. Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA) Chairman Iqram Cuttilan said they had written to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) last week requesting authorities to fast-track the operationalisation of the ECT. more..

Video: COVID deaths & cases higher than official figures: GMOA

Feb 22 (AD) Editor of GMOA Dr Haritha Aluthge says the health officials should provide an explanation on the accuracy of COVID-19 figures in the country. He noted that the actual number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the country are higher than the official statistics released by the officials. He said it was revealed through media that there is a discrepancy of 5,000 between the number of patients that test positive for more..

Govt to build largest fishing harbour in Matara

Feb 22 (DN) The construction of SL’s largest Fishing harbour with an investment of Rs 9 billion in Gandara, Devinuwara in the Matara district has commenced, State Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told media on the sidelines of a factory inspection tour of Sri Lanka’s canned fish manufacturers TESS Group in Peliyagoda last week. He said it would have a natural depth of about nine meters which could accommodate larger vessels and they would spend close to Rs 7 billion in govt funds more..

MAS made special Lacoste t-shirts donned at Australian Open Men’s Final

Feb 22 (FT) SL’s apparel giant MAS manufactured the polo t-shirts for Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev that they donned at the Australian Open Men’s Final yesterday in Melbourne. Djokovic beat Medvedev to claim a record-extending ninth Australian Open title on Sunday. SL manufacturer dubbed it as an all MAS final! Both players were sponsored by Lacoste, a leading customer of MAS. MAS Chairman Mahesh Amalean said that the Innovations Team at MAS Active worked for more..

1,062 COVID-19 patients detected over the weekend

Feb 22 (FT) The total COVID-19 patient count rose to 79,999 yesterday, with 1,062 persons testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. Patients detected yesterday include 495 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster, 23 persons linked to the prisons cluster, and one overseas arrival. The 543 patients detected on Saturday include 528 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster and 15 foreigners. more..

Badminton: Niluka signs off in style

Feb 22 (CT) Sri Lanka’s badminton icon Niluka Karunaratne announced his retirement from local events after he claimed the men’s singles title for the 17th occasion at the 68th National Badminton Championships worked off at the Mercantile Badminton Association Courts in Colombo yesterday. However, the 36-year-old two-time Olympian will be competing in the international arena as he targets a berth in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. more..

Concerns over Pakistani PM's visit to SL

Feb 22 (UCAN) A regional network of human rights defenders has called on the govts of Pakistan and SL to respect the rights of all minorities guaranteed in their constitutions and to address their concerns while providing equal treatment to all. South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) issued its statement ahead of Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s visit to Sri Lanka. Expressing concern over the timing and purpose of Khan’s Feb. 22-23 visit, SAHR said: “We further urge the govts of SL and Pakistan to more..

Sri Lanka hope to appoint Tom Moody as director of cricket

Feb 22 (CI) Tom Moody has been lined up on what is understood to be a 3-year contract to become SLC's director of cricket, a newly-created role that will oversee almost every facet of the game in the country. The appointment will seek to utilise Moody's experience working within cricketing structures in Australia, England and India to keep SL cricket up-to-date with the latest technological advancements & best practices in the sport. more..

Best Entrepreneur Awards of Southern Province 2020

Feb 22 (FT) The Best Entrepreneur Award Ceremony of the Southern Province was held on 18 February at the Golden Pearl Hotel in Tangalle. The event was organised by the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) in collaboration with the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) and supported by the Chambers of Commerce in Galle and Matara, Consulate General of India Hambantota office and Southern Province Development Authority. more..

Dasun Shanaka appointed T-20 skipper

Feb 22 (Island) All-rounder Dasun Shanaka will lead the national cricket team in the upcoming T-20 series in the Caribbean and he is expected to be retained in the position for the World T-20 later this year. 29-year-old has been waiting patiently to be named skipper in the long run after beating number one ranked Pakistan in their own backyard two years ago. Meanwhile the two member selection panel involving Pramodaya Wickramasinghe & Chaminda Mendis have dropped several players more..