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Call for Act of Parliament to govern SLC

Feb 21 (ST) So, it has to come to this. Sick of an ineffectual band of power-hungry officials taking turns to plunge SL cricket down the path of destruction, a team of respected persons has sought Appeal Court intervention to try and stop further decline. As in India, they want the Court to issue directives to the Govt, saying a bottom-up revamp — not stop-gap interim appointments — is the need of the hour. On Monday, this group — more..

Tamil Nadu elections and the Sri Lanka card

Feb 21 (ST) PM of India has opted to take the same familiar route of some of his predecessors to woo the voters of the southern state of Tamil Nadu by waving the SL card as assembly elections he wants his ruling BJP to win negotiate the bend. It is in TN that the LTTE and other SL terrorist groups were financed, trained and given safe haven to carry out a bloody insurgency in this country until India got hoisted with its own petard losing 1,000 soldiers and a PM in the process at the hands of more..

Sri Lanka’s super elite appeal to save cricket

Feb 21 (SO) Hot on the heels of a public investigation into cricket, a steadfastly erudite group of intellectuals, distinguished former players, legal heavyweights, corporate superstars and high calibre exponents of proven administrative skills have lodged a Petition in the Appeal Court in a now-or-never push to salvage what is left of the country’s greatest sporting passion. They have in one loud voice petitioned the Judiciary and called for the total revamp of the governance of cricket while more..

Sri Lanka caught in a turbulent affair with India and China

Feb 21 (CT) The turbulent affairs between India and SL following the failed Colombo East Container Terminal deal took another twist last week with Chief Minister of India’s Tripura State, Biplab Deb, sparking off a controversy over the weekend when he revealed that Indian Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah intended to establish Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Govts in SL and Nepal. Chief Minister Deb, addressing a political rally more..

Pressure on govt mounts as key UN meeting approaches

Feb 21 (GV) Pressure on the govt is growing in the run-up to a United Nations Human Rights Council session in February-March 2021. People in Sri Lanka, diaspora members, human rights activists and officials and politicians internationally have been calling for action on past and present abuses. This has intensified in the month before the 46th regular session of the UNHRC is due to begin on 22 February. The govt withdrew from a previous deal and tough measures will be urged. more..

BJP in Sri Lanka: (Re)emergence of transnational parties?

Feb 21 (GV) The BJP recent statement that they wish to form a BJP in SL and Nepal has infuriated many politicians and political commentators of the country. We believe it is worthy to examine this ambitious proposal in light of the manner of functioning of political parties and the contemporary geo-politics of South Asia. Certainly, one does not need to be naďve to imagine a possibility of the BJP operating as a registered party under the Election Commission having influence and more..

Prof. Malani Endagama

SLPP remains united & as strong as ever: PM

Feb 21 (SO) Prez Rajapaksa said in the face of the Covid–19 pandemic, the Govt has taken every possible measure to provide all facilities notwithstanding the health-related restrictions imposed to ensure the safety of the public. As the tourism sector is a vital component of the national economy, Prez Rajapaksa called on entrepreneurs in the field to get ready to embark on a new journey by overcoming challenges. At a discussion with the representatives of tourism sector on Feb17, more..

A hidden hand disrupting higher education

Feb 21 (TM) The SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) is a rare model in the SL higher education sphere. At the core, it is a solution-based higher education entity, primarily targeting SL students who fall between the stools but also can take in any local or international students desiring a quality education. SLIIT, which is modelled after a not-for-profit formula, like some top universities of the world, treads a middle path between state and private sector higher education offerings. more..

'No scientific basis to lock down country'

Feb 21 (SO) State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said that there is no scientific basis for a lock down of the country as the variant of Covid-19 has been detected in 82 countries and not only in the United Kingdom (UK). The State Minister said, just because a new variant was identified, it doesn’t mean that you have to lock down the country and it also depends on the number of cases reported. more..

Compassion bedaubed with politics

Feb 21 (Island) Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi says he has forgiven his father’s killers. He said so, the other day, in answer to a question during an interaction at the Bharathidasan Govt College for Women, in Puducherry. He felt a great pain but not anger, he added. If he is telling us the truth, then he is too good to be in politics characterised by anger, rancour, animosity, greed, revenge and other such base instincts; he should be in an ashram, guiding others on their spiritual journeys, more..

Four countries will decide Sri Lanka’s economic future

Feb 21 (CT) SL’s economic predicament is more parlous than the govt admits. Prof WD Lakshman of the Central Bank and other regime supporters and sections of the media conceal this obvious reality. Of course much depends on domestic policies but rather like a drowning man we are reliant on lifesavers and rescuers in the vessels around us to pull us to safety. To put it more directly, at this juncture SL’s short and medium term economic future depends on the goodwill of others. more..

'UNHRC must look beyond the prism of fabricated lies'

Feb 21 (SO) “Member States of the UN must recognise and appreciate the legitimate right we hold to defend ourselves as a sovereign and independent state,” Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Prof. Sudharshan Seneviratne said, emphasising that Sri Lanka must not let the LTTE’s widely known barbaric behaviour for 30 long years become a lost narrative in the eyes of the international community. more..

A frivolous response: BJP & Sri Lanka!

Feb 21 (CT) The frantic fuss made to let off steam by a fairly representative segment of the Sri Lanka society over the issue of a statement supposed to have been made by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) political leader recently in India has caused much alarm and concern. Members of the clergy, social groups, governing party politicians including the Cabinet Ministers as well as the opposition, are making statements and casting aspersions on this matter. more..

A regional response to Covid-19 vital

Feb 21 (SO) SAARC, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, has taken a lot of flak recently as an organisation that had not lived up to its promise of greater South Asian integration. The region, home to more than one-fifth of the world’s population, has great economic potential. But intra-region trade and connectivity remains low by world standards and Indo-Pakistan tensions and several other factors have stymied its progress. Sometimes, it takes an emergency for countries to realise more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Turkey donates second consignment of medical equipment to combat COVID-19

Feb 20 (FT) Health Ministry of Turkey donated ventilators and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to support SL’s efforts in combating and controlling COVID-19. The donation was a part of the MoU signed between Turkey and SL on donation in the field of health. The donation which includes Turkish-made 10 domestic medical ventilators, 50,000 surgical masks and 15,000 N95 masks were granted by the Govt of Turkey as a gesture of friendship and goodwill between Turkey & SL. more..

Sea cucumber plant/factory in Jaffna by April

Feb 20 (TM) The sea cucumber factory which was approved by the BOI last year is expected to be set up in Jaffna by early April. Suganth Seafood Managing Director Suganthaseelan Aravinthan stated that the project is in progress and under construction at the moment. He added that the construction began a month ago, in January, after being delayed by the rainy season. “The work is in progress, we might complete construction somewhere towards end of Mar or early Apr” more..

'Hambantota port 99-year lease extendable'

Feb 20 (CT) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena pointed out the previous Govt had awarded the Hambantota Port to China not only on a 99-year lease, but also on an extension of another 99-year lease, as explained in the clauses of the agreement between the two countries. He said, “There is a provision for a further 99-year extension of the lease.” “As we are implementing our policies giving much attention to all countries, more..

President irked by some social media posts

Feb 20 (NR) Prez Rajapaksa accuses some social media users of attempting to sabotage the programme of the present govt. Speaking during an event in Karuwalagaswewa, Puttalam today, Prez said some factions are carrying out an organised campaign against the govt by misinterpreting directives issued to state officials. The Head of State said the govt will not support deforestation activities and all officials have been instructed to take action against such practices. more..

Sampath Bank net down 34% in Dec 2020

Feb 20 (EN) Profits at Sampath Bank fell 34.1% to 3.2 billion rupees in the Dec 2020 quarter from a year earlier amid a drop in net interest income, interim accounts show. Sampath bank reported earnings of 8.46 per share in the last quarter and 22.13 in the year end a Dec 31, 2020. The bank closed 2.75 rupees down a share at 165 rupees' yesterday. Interest Income for the bank fell 19.2 percent to 22.1 billion rupees from a year earlier and Interest income fell by 14% to 13.4 b rupees more..

Pull the plug on this costly Elahera deal, engineers urge

Feb 20 (ST) Irrigation engineers have urged the govt to review the Upper Elahera Canal Project (UECP), launched by Prez Rajapaksa on Feb 5, saying the massive project is faulty and a waste of taxpayers’ money. They claim the Rs 85 billion project is being implemented without a detailed study underpinning it. It is claimed the detailed Water Balance Study required for such a project has not been carried out properly. more..

Video: Arundika Fernando unharmed, three injured in accident

Feb 20 (AD) The vehicle State Minister Arundika Fernando was travelling in has overturned on Anamaduwa-Bangadeniya road this morning (February 20). Police media unit stated that the state minister was unharmed in the motor accident. According to reports, the driver had lost control of the vehicle when it overturned near Serukele area. Three persons including the driver who were injured in the accident have been rushed to Chilaw Base Hospital for treatment. more..

Dialog net up 41% despite soft-peg losses

Feb 20 (EN) Profits at Dialog Axiata grew 41% to 3.4 billion rupees despite a foreign exchange losses as the island’s soft-peg with the US dollar came under pressure from money printing, interim accounts showed. Dialog group reported earnings of 42 cents per share for the quarter. In the year to December the group reported earnings 1.48 rupees per share, on total profits of 12.0 billion rupees, up from 10.7 billion rupees. Gross profits grew 5.6% to 13.6 billion rupees in the quarter with more..

Badges, guns, and shattered egos?

Feb 20 (TM) On 21 Sept 2020, the National Police Commission (NPC) granted approval to promote a female police officer to the rank of DIG, which should have, in an ideal world, been a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The appointment made DIG Bimshani Jasin Aarachchi, the first female DIG in SL, which shed light on the problematic police regulations where it allegedly states that more..

Sri Lanka, Pakistan to sign mutually beneficial bilateral MoUs

Feb 20 (AD) PM of Pakistan, Imran Khan is scheduled to undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka on the 23rd and 24th of February on the invitation extended by his SL counterpart PM Rajapaksa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. During his visit, Premier Imran Khan will attend bilateral meetings with Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa, while several other high-level engagements are planned, including a Business and Investment Forum, as well as a sports diplomacy initiative. more..

Tissa defends MPs right to have jab on priority basis

Feb 20 (Island) The MPs had the right to take the COVID-19 vaccine if they like and no one should object to it, SJB MP Tissa Attanayake said commenting on the debate whether MPs should get vaccinated along with frontline health staff. “I took the vaccine. Earlier, I was a first ring associate of MP Rauff Hakeem. I also met former Minister W.J.M. Lokubandara, who passed away from COVID-19 recently. We always meet people and therefore expose ourselves to the virus. more..

Ban on retail fags sale, 180ml arrack bottles soon: NATA Chairman

Feb 20 (DM) Action will be taken to ban the selling of 180ml arrack bottles and cigarettes as individual sticks, the National Authority on Tobacco & Alcohol (NATA) said. NATA Chairman Dr. Samadhi Rajapaksa said that retail selling of cigarettes and the buying capacity of 180ml arrack bottles had become an inevitable trend in the country. "The tax on tobacco and alcohol must be increased. Selling and consuming of arrack more..

Economic freedom is key to enhancing relationship between Sri Lanka and US

Feb 20 (HF) Speaking on the 73rd Independence Day of SL on Feb 4, Prez Rajapaksa observed: “The foundation of our citizen-centric economic policy is that the true potential of the economy cannot be unleashed without economic freedom.” He further noted that “to achieve the govt’s aims of eliminating poverty, providing equal opportunity for improvement of all citizens, and developing domestic businesses, we require a clean and efficient public service.” Indeed, advancing economic freedom more..

SLTDA issues statement

Feb 20 (FT) SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday issued a statement saying neither the institution nor its officers have acted in a way amounting to Contempt of Court and has at all times, abided by court orders. The full statement is given below. Our attention has been drawn to certain documents being widely circulated in the electronic media publicly where reference is drawn to an Order of the District Court of Colombo dated 19 Feb in action bearing Number DSP 84/20, more..

Demerit system to instill road discipline

Feb 20 (DN) Police is to introduce a demerit points system to curtail road traffic accidents, DIG Ajith Rohana announced. Observing that road traffic accidents are increasing at a rapid rate, DIG Ajith Rohana said that SL Police is to launch the demerit points system at the earliest possible date. The DIG made these observations speaking to the media on road traffic accidents, violation of regulations pertaining to quarantine law more..

March school re-opening in Western Province uncertain

Feb 20 (ST) Resuming classes at schools will remain in the hands of health officials, although March 15 had been proposed by education authorities. Education Ministry, Secretary, Prof Kapila Perera, said March 15 had been proposed to health officials. School resumption in the Western Province has been postponed several times because the National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, had refused approval. more..

Video: COVID vaccination for monks & other religious leaders

Feb 20 (AD) PM Rajapaksa has instructed the officials to administer COVID-19 vaccines to Buddhist monks and other religious leaders expeditiously. Inoculation program for the clergy commenced with the vaccination of Buddhist monks in Kandy District today. Thereby, 29 monks of Asgiriya Chapter including Mahanayake Most Venerable Warakagoda Gnanarathana Thero received the jabs at the Kandy National Hospital. The Premier, in his capacity as more..

No more PCR tests at airports; entry rules relaxed

Feb 20 (ST) About 25 flights are landing at the BIA every night, officials said. “Things are more or less back to normal," said the AASL Chairman G.L. Chandrasiri. Every day, about 750 passengers arrive and the number of passenger and cargo flights has increased following the removal of restrictions. PCR tests for COVID-19 are no longer done at the airport and there is the usual, mandatory health declaration requirement. more..

Lanka IOC comes forward to meet Covid challenges

Feb 20 (Island) Contactless Infrared Thermometers were distributed among the Principals of all schools in the Seethawaka DS in Colombo District by Minister Udaya Gammanpila with the assistance of Lanka IOC. Minister Gammanpila commended Lanka IOC for its support. As schools reopen, the Minister said, it is very important to ensure the safety of students and teachers. Only this will convince parents to send the kids back to school. Manoj Gupta, MD, Lanka IOC said that through more..

Sri Lanka Police refutes claims of discrimination against female officers

Feb 20 (EN) SL Police, in a statement, have strongly denied the claims of discrimination against female officers in the organization. Statement stressed that following a decision taken by the govt to reserve 15% of approved positions in public institutions for women, SL Police has already taken necessary measures to reserve 15% of the organization’s posts for female officers. SL Police refuted the allegations levelled in recent social media posts that female police officers have been subjected to more..