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Two global banks go underweight on SL

Feb 22 (FT) Two popular int'l banks last week confirmed their underweight position on SL and its sovereign bonds flagging-off concerns over debt sustainability and external position amidst domestic and global challenges. “Recent developments are again casting doubt on SL’s external position and increasing investor concerns about the country’s ability to repay foreign-currency bonds,” Barclays Bank said more..

Is it the solution to our cricketers’ fitness woes?

Feb 22 (ST) Underscoring the belief in cricketing circles that Sri Lanka’s current poor performances and high injury rate in the international arena are largely due to the cricketers poor fitness levels, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has introduced the 2km test for those aspiring for selection. The benchmark for passing this test has been set at 8 minutes and 35 seconds. In other words a cricketer has to run two kilometres in under 8 minutes 35 seconds if he is to be considered for selection. more..

Is the Tourism Ministry living in a Fantasy Island bubble?

Feb 22 (ST) As health officials warned the coronavirus has fled beyond the ambit of clusters and has cast its imprint on the entire island, Minister Udaya Gammanpila declared that even if the Govt desired to impose a lockdown to check the rising tide, it was unable to do so, since the nation’s weakened economy wouldn’t be able to withstand the crippling impact. Addressing a COVID dictated virtual press briefing on cabinet decisions, Gammanpila said that while it is true that more..

Geneva and other fateful trysts

Feb 22 (GV) The Defence Secretary is shocked, outraged, and flummoxed. The National Security Council has discussed the ongoing environmental devastation. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men (airmen too) have been mobilised to stop it. “However hard we try, this forest destruction continues to happen,” he laments. This week alone, ecocide claimed nearly three thousand acres of land in Somawathiya forest reserve more..

Money Talks

Feb 22 (CT) The 46th session of the UNHRC is scheduled virtually for today. The UNHRC offers a multi lateral forum to Joe Biden for the US seat vacated by Donald Trump, to present its commitment to human rights. The US is one of the biggest violators of human rights but the UNHRC fails to observe or see that. Elementary my dear Watson! The US is the UN’s biggest donor. The US contributes US$ 10 billion or more which is nearly one-fifth of the UN’s annual budget. more..

Politicos clash over Crudia Zeyla-nica, united by Astra Ze-neca

Feb 22 (DM) In reality and quite obviously, our people’s representatives of both sides of the divide are historically famous for rising in unison on a common stand on an issue of gaining privilege for themselves at the expense of the tax-payer. The latest such harmonious nod by the opposition was witnessed at receiving the Covid Jab, which was hastily arranged even by amending original priority check list. They were seen and heard making flimsy excuses when confronted by the media. more..

Balaya

The road to isolation

Feb 22 (TM) When 6.9 million voters decided that regime change was the need of the hour in Nov 2019, it is likely that at least some of them based their decision on the work programme or manifesto put forward by the SLPP and its presidential candidate. What is quite intriguing is that in what appears to be a comprehensive policy document running into 80-odd pages, only a couple of paragraphs, or less than half a page, has been utilised to spell out proposed foreign policy, more..

Tensions rise for SL with traditional allies

Feb 22 (TM) Sri Lanka will face a decisive week ahead with the 46th Session of UNHRC scheduled to commence tomorrow (22). Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena is scheduled to address the high-level session on Tuesday (23) where he would officially announce the Govt’s decision to reject the report presented by UNHRC High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet. The 46th Session is to see two resolutions on Sri Lanka presented before the Council – one by the Core Group on SL and more..

'Public complacency will worsen situation'

Feb 22 (TM) Renewed fears and speculation of countrywide lockdowns have raised concerns among the public once again, after the detection of the highly virulent UK Lineage B.1.1.7 variant of Covid-19 within the country. Meanwhile, with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme last week, the rest of the country is eager to get inoculated. This week, The Sunday Morning took these concerns to more..

It’s freezing in USA: A tale of two countries

Feb 22 (DM) A series of devastating storms which unleashed frigid Arctic temperatures on Texas has killed around 47 people and left at least 2.7 million households still without power. A bizarre situation - one in which, the biggest energy-producing state in the US has been left without power for so long. Media reports indicate nearly 12 million faced water quality issues. Hospitals ran out of water. The Washington Post reported storms and power outages pummeling Texas are shutting down more..

Recalling an old judicial warning about the dangers of suppressing dissent

Feb 22 (ST) The more things change, the more they remain the same, one would be apt to murmur in the wake of this week’s decision by the Supreme Court in Kurukulasuriya v SLRC and Others (2021) and in the connected application filed by JKW Jayasekara against Sri Lanka’s state telecaster, Rupavahini Corporation, even as the Supreme Court stressed paramount dangers in suppressing the freedom of expression of dissenters and critics. Indeed, there is an uncanny feeling of deja vu. more..

'UNHRC is used as an instrument by certain global powers instigated by Tamil diaspora'

Feb 22 (DM) The UNHRC meets for its regular sessions today in Geneva. At the month long sessions, the UNHRC is scheduled to discuss Sri Lanka on its alleged human rights violations during the last phase of the humanitarian operation. The Daily Mirror met one of the most ardent defenders of Sri Lanka - in and out of the country, Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retired), Dr. Sarath Weerasekara on the final outcome of more..

Sunny Side Up

Feb 22 (TM) The SLFP, a key ally of the governing SLPP, has not attended last Wednesday’s (17) meeting convened by the group of SLPP alliance partners aligned with NFF Leader Minister Wimal Weerawansa. The meeting was convened at the Communist Party HQ, and representatives from 7 political parties in the governing SLPP had attended. The SLFP, which was previously represented by Party General Secretary State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, had not attended more..

Gathering momentum in anti-Covid drive

Feb 22 (Island) The vaccination program against Covid-19 in this country has begun gathering momentum and, predictably, many questions and controversies have also began surfacing. Several opposition MPs from the SJB and the JVP proclaimed that they will not jump the queue and avail themselves of the special vaccination privilege granted to MPs. They have received some left handed compliments for this gesture with some commentators lauding what they have done more..

Yahapalana leaders fear loss of civic rights whilst govt. grapples with UNHRC

Feb 21 (ST) The Covid-19 pandemic has exploded to uncontrollable proportions. The proof, escaping the secrecy on the issue, is the average of a near thousand confirmed cases daily. They are made public only at night when most are asleep. The number of cases is mounting. The cost of consumer goods has hit an all-time high. The prices of essential food items, including vegetables, have risen to incredible levels. more..

Vaccines won’t come soon in large quantities, but on staggered basis...

Feb 21 (ST) SL will not be able to immediately secure the large quantities of COVID-19 vaccines that the country was expecting from India and the global initiative COVAX, but will get stocks over a period of time. Earlier SL was hoping to secure 9-10 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine from India’s Serum Institute, with 1.5 million coming in from the end of this month to April. The vaccines were due in three batches of 500,000 by the end of this month, in March and in April. more..

Foreign minister to address UNHRC amid Resolution move on Lanka

Feb 21 (SO) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena is scheduled to address the UNHRC on Wednesday where he will outline Sri Lanka’s case amid a move by the Core Group to bring in a fresh Resolution on SL. Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage said that the Minister will make a pre-recorded video message to the Council on Wednesday but he will not speak at length on SL’s case as it had already been conveyed to the Office of Human Rights HC last month. more..

Sandstorm over allocations: Major share of sand given to Sirisena brothers

Feb 21 (ST) Between March 2018 and May 2019, the Govt-owned GSMB Technical Services Pvt Ltd (TSPL) issued thousands of cubes of sand mined in Manampitiya on a preferential basis to three companies carrying out development work in the Polonnaruwa district—two of them owned by brothers of former Prez Maithripala Sirisena, a report from the National Audit Office (NAO) shows. The special report on the TSPL’s more..

Army Chief commends PHIs on their tremendous support to combat COVID-19

Feb 21 (DM) Army Commander General Shavendra Silva, complimented PHIs on their untiring efforts, being made across the country hand in hand with all stakeholders for the eradication of COVID-19 pandemic from the country. He said this during a special meeting held this afternoon (20) at the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 Outbreak (NOCPCO). "I know that you on ground work dedicatedly against heavy odds and difficulties and the NOCPCO assures that it would do more..

SLNS Gajabahu takes part in AMAN-2021 exercise in Pakistan

Feb 21 (SLN) The multi-national maritime exercise AMAN-2021 hosted by Pakistan Navy under the theme Together for Peace formally commenced at Pakistan Navy Dockyard in Karachi, Pakistan on 12th Feb. Representing SL Navy at this multi-national maritime exercise, SL Naval Ship (SLNS) Gajabahu took part in the 7th edition of AMAN series this year. Having seen the customary farewell at the home port, SLNS Gajabahu on 5th Feb left Colombo for Karachi, Pakistan to attend AMAN-2021 more..

Elevated highway project: No final decision

Feb 21 (TM) Residents living in and around the Thalangama Wetland are up in arms over the proposed four-lane elevated highway project, stretching from the New Kelani Bridge to Athurugiriya, that is to be constructed over the remaining few green patches of Colombo’s wetland in Thalangama and Averihena. Having no faith over the promises made by the political leadership, the residents, with support of the CEJ more..

Hailers signal public vaccination in WP

Feb 21 (ST) Amidst much controversy why the earlier finalized ‘priority list’ has been discarded, the vaccination of the public against COVID-19 was launched this Wednesday, with vehicles blaring out the news of vaccination and where to gather for the jabs through hailers around several areas in the Western Province. When contacted by the Sunday Times to get the ground-level details, Health Services Director of the Colombo District, Dr. A.I. Jagoda said that they were informed that more..

Barista’s Share the Meal Campaign brings hope to children of SOS

Feb 21 (Island) In an effort to spread the true meaning of Christmas, Sri Lanka’s largest and most sought after coffee house chain Barista spearheaded a campaign in December titled Share a Meal. Partnering with the SOS Children’s Villages, the campaign drew much enthusiasm and donations for feeding the children. On January 25, the Barista Management visited the SOS Children’s Village in Piliyandala to hand over the funds collected. The donations were handed over by more..

‘Overtones of martyrdom for LTTE’: Lord Naseby slams Bachelet’s report

Feb 21 (ST) British Conservative Party politician Lord Naseby has slammed the the UN Human Rights High Commissioner’s recent report on SL, saying, “The tenor of the writing almost has overtones of martyrdom for the Tamil Tigers”. The report, which is to be taken up within days at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, “glosses over the full extent of the war when a group of vindictive terrorists tried to create more..

Govt to reject any Geneva resolution: Udaya

Feb 21 (SO) Minister Udaya Gammanpila said that since Sri Lanka has already decided to reject the UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s report and any Resolution or Commission based on that report will be resisted by the Govt at the upcoming UNHRC sessions. The Minister said the Govt through its diplomatic channels has sought the support of friendly nations to successfully face the UNHRC challenge in Geneva. Prez, PM and FM have met Ambassadors/HCs in SL to explain more..

Hasini & Hasara enter Badminton final

Feb 21 (SO) Hasini Ambalangodage and Hasara Wijayaratne entered the women's Open singles final at the 68th National Badminton Championship at the Mercantile Badminton Indoor Stadium yesterday. Ambalangodage the top seed defeated Ashini Fernando 21-9,17-21, 21-19 while Wijayaratne the third seed won against experienced Nadeesha Gayanthi 21-5,11-21, 21-17. Meanwhile at the men's Open quarter finals Rasindu Hendahewa created a major upset defeating former champion and more..

SL drops Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Isuru Udana, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa

Feb 21 (TM) Sri Lanka national cricket selectors have dropped leading players Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera, Isuru Udana, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa from the forthcoming West Indies tour, reliable sources told The Morning Sports. Their omissions have been made owing to either fitness issues or injury reasons. The Sri Lanka ODI and T20I squad for the West Indies consists 20 players while 18 players have been named more..

Airport and Aviation sector to recover with Treasury bailout

Feb 21 (ST) Airport and Aviation Services and national carrier operations are set to recover by the end of this year with govt’s stimulus package and ease of air travel restrictions even amidst current revenue losses, the Finance Ministry says. The airport and aviation sector has suffered a massive financial loss recently owing to a drop in traffic and the waiver of landing and parking fees which was extended till July 2021 recently. These charges had been waived at the Mattala Airport since more..

Yupun finishes 4th at Polish indoor meet

Feb 21 (SO) SL's fastest man Yupun Abeykoon finished his Indoor athletic series with the Poland Orlan Cup Athletic Championship last week as he ended in fourth place in the final meet that gave him ample exposure in the event. Abeykoon was fortunate to have run along with leading runners in the 60m event. There were Michael Rodgers from the USA and Jacob Marshall from Italy who are among the best in the world. Abeykoon finished the race in 6.66 seconds which was equal to more..

Plantations come under govt scanner

Feb 21 (ST) The govt has threatened to take over two plantations companies if they don’t come up with the plan to cut losses and overcome a financial crisis. Under a plan to assess the financial soundness of the plantations, two plantation companies were summoned on Tuesday for a discussion and asked to present a proposal to overcome its crisis or the govt would otherwise be compelled to take over these estates. more..

Bloomfield still akin to a club on wheels

Feb 21 (ST) On Feb 17, 1982, Bandula Warnapura was appointed as SL’s first official captain when the island nation earned Test status and played the first match against England at P. Saravanamuttu Stadium. He was 29 then. Exactly 39 years later, by Feb 17, 2021, Warnapura, now 67 has reached the helm of his club, Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club. Warnapura, one of the proudest products of Nalanda College, was one of many youngsters after school who walked across Bloomfield C&AC, more..

On a sticky wicket

Feb 21 (ST) My dear Imran Khan, I thought of writing to you to welcome you to our shores not only because you will be the first leader to arrive in Paradise since the coronavirus pandemic enveloped the world one year ago – but also because your visit appears to have generated so much controversy even before you set foot here. Imran, you can rest assured that there is no threat from the coronavirus here. Yes, there are hundreds of cases reported, and a few succumbing to illness every day more..

BJP’s claim relating to Lanka and Nepal; Kathmandu speaks out, Colombo silent

Feb 21 (ST) Much controversy has been caused by the claim made by India’s Tripura Chief Minister this week suggesting that India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to establish an imperial style govt in SL and Nepal despite both nations being sovereign countries. This caught the attention of the local media in the wake of recent political developments in SL. Even though India-Nepal diplomatic ties are a bit complicated more..

Bangladesh likely to play Sri Lanka Tests in second week of April

Feb 21 (CI) The Bangladesh team will get a short turnaround from their New Zealand tour after the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said that they are likely to travel to Sri Lanka for a two-match Test series any time between April 12 and 15. Bangladesh play their last match in NZ on April 1, after which those who will play the Tests would have to hop into another bio-secure bubble within two weeks. "We have contacted the SL board," BCB's CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. more..

Royal-Thomian fixed for May dates

Feb 21 (SO) The joint organizing committee of the Royal-Thomian cricket encounter, after a series of meetings, has now decided to hold this year’s Battle of the Blues encounter on May 6, 7 and 8 in Hambantota. However for the first time in its 142-year-old history, this year’s big match will be a closed door affair with the die-hard spectators who will only be able to catch the action via live tv coverage. This will be the first time that it is being played outside Colombo as more..

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