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Anuradhapura Prison mayhem: 30 inmates identified

Mar 25 (CT) Prisons Dept said they had identified some 30 inmates who had been behind the mayhem at the Anuradhapura Prison which took place on the evening of 21 March. A top officer from the Dept said that its probe team has already begun to record statements from the identified inmates as to why such an unruly incident had taken place. He further added that initial information revealed that besides the 30 inmates in Prison, more..

Twin battle and beyond

Mar 25 (ST) Gonny van den Bos and her husband, Jacque van den Bos, are our family friends from Holland. Gonny had sent us a mail a few days ago. This is part of what she wrote: “Now in Holland it’s all about coronavirus. Schools are closed. All bars, restaurants etc are closed. It is very strange. People get nervous and, buy so much so that shops are empty. Especially toilet paper and aspirin are hard to find.” This is not a case of Holland only, but of the entire Europe and the entire world. more..

Corona must be battled

Mar 25 (DN) Who would have thought that something sounding like a brand of one of those sleek fuel-efficient Japanese cars would pose such an existential threat to the entire human race! Ebola was a threat in far-a-way West Africa, SARS mainly a problem for the omnivorous Asians (Chinese!), Dengue strikes those who cannot keep a clean backyard, but this virus, Corona, is not discriminating; striking all colours, sizes and ages, with no respect for power or wealth. more..

Tokyo Olympics postponed over coronavirus pandemic

Mar 25 (AFP) The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to no later than the summer of 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, the International Olympic Committee announced Tuesday. The Games were scheduled for July 24-August 9, but after telephone discussions between IOC president Thomas Bach and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, a historic joint decision was taken for more..

Donation to Sri Lanka by Temasek Foundation, Singapore

Mar 25 (FT) In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, Temasek Foundation, Singapore has offered to provide 5000 numbers of Fortitude Kit 2.0 (COVID-19 test kits) to the Ministry of Health. The donation was handed over by Benedict Cheong, CEO of Temasek Foundation Int'l to High Commissioner Sashikala Premawardhane on 20th March. High Commission has promptly made arrangements to deliver the test kits to SL, which have been received by the Health authorities more..

Horrendous economic consequences of the corona pandemic

Mar 25 (ST) The corona pandemic is spreading like wild fire. Its economic consequences are severe, increasing and unpredictable. It is worse than a recession. It is a global economic shutdown and will impact severely on the SL economy. It has spread to more than 170 countries with over 270,000 persons tested positive. Its int'l ramifications are widespread, extensive and wide-ranging. Its duration is still uncertain and there is little prospect of an early containment of the pandemic more..

Pavithra Wanniarachchi

Dissolution of parliament: What next?

Mar 25 (CT) SL Parliament was dissolved, and the old set of MPs appear to be behaving like a disturbed hornet's nest, with fierce competition and bickering going on, concerning nominations of their names from the respective party lists. Chief Prelates of the Buddhist Monastic edifices, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop of Colombo, along with a majority of the public are requesting party leaders not to recommend any previous tarnished names to be nominated from any party. more..

Sadistic ragging in SL universities

Mar 25 (CT) A dark era has dawned on SL's university system, as a first-year student, 21-year-old Pasindu Hirushan, from Kamaragoda in Minuwangoda, enrolled at the Management Faculty of the Sri J'pura University, lies in the ICU, connected to a life-support system, battling between life and death. Although the University Students' Union vehemently denies that it was due to a ragging incident, it is a fact that after a freshers' party on 5 March, group of senior students, more..

Covid-19 In Sri Lanka & South Asia

Mar 25 (CT) COVID 19 is more a panic than a pandemic: It obscures from view the fact that far more people die as a result of illness related to poverty, malnutrition, and other forms of structural violence than anything else in South Asia, and indeed the rest of the world. In the context, the govts of the region would need rational and targeted policy responses to the Covid 19 challenge – rather than days of country-wide curfew without more..

DEAD SCENE for local artistes

Mar 25 (Island) As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to spread globally, restrictions on travel, and large public gatherings, have resulted in practically all concerts and entertainment events being postposed, or cancelled, entirely…world-wide. WHO announced it is now on the highest level of alert, warning the public: "This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready." Fears over the outbreak have resulted in the local showbiz scene going completely dead, with no hope of a quick recovery. more..

COVID-19 and climate change: Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Mar 25 (FT) At the time of writing this article, COVID-19 has so far killed more than 10,000 people, and infected over 244,000 in more than 150 countries, and is likely to infect more and kill more people. No one is able to predict when the pandemic will end. A vaccine is at least 12 to 18 months away. The economic damage that is resulting from this pandemic is something the world has not experienced. This is going to create a major breakdown in the social order, more..

What's happening with COVID-19?: Live updates here

Mar 25 (Roar) This is a live blog about the COVID-19, that is spreading rapidly across the world. The latest developments, from both here and abroad, will be documented here. Tuesday, March 24: 19:28 Health Promotion Bureau data indicated that the total number of those with COVID-19 is 102. Five cases were reported today. 16:42 The number of active COVID-19 cases increases to 101, after 4 new cases were reported today. more..

Let us all be Keynesians & Fisherians to face this severe medical crisis

Mar 25 (CT) We are in a mess, so think some economists. They say banks are solvent this time unlike the Great Recession in 2008-2009. During the Great Recession the crisis was complex requiring the govt to bailout banks apart from major manufacturing companies. They further say that this time the problem is straight forward which is the containment of virus as banks are solvent. This notion is wrong. We are in a full-blown crisis. It appears that it's predominantly a health crisis more..

A brave President, A benumbed nation

Mar 25 (CT) On 17th March, Prez Rajapaksa concluded his address to the nation with a forthright fearless statement. “This country, that’s yours and mine, is secure today.” He exuded Confidence. Confidence makes a leader to go forward with faith. The leader’s demeanor dispels doubt amongst officials. The President in the statement embodied courage and sincerity. He was wrong of course. There is more to national security than contending with separatist terrorists & suicide bombers. more..

COVID -19 Special Report

Sri Lankans in Bangladesh want to return, writes to Prez

Mar 24 (DM) A group of Sri Lankans living in Bangladesh in a letter to Prez Rajapaksa has sought permission for Sri Lankans working in Bangladesh to return to SL. “We as a community feel it’s much safer to be in our Motherland and I earnestly request your kind approval in permitting our fellow Lankans to return to Colombo in anticipation of SriLankan airlines being allowed to operate the rout over the weekend dating 27th-29th of March," Prez of SL Association in B'desh, Angelo Leanage said. more..

Recent returnees from Italy never obtained visa from us: Italian embassy

Mar 24 (DM) Italian embassy in SL said ‘the returnees from Italy referenced in recent news publications have never obtained a visa from this Embassy, nor have ever requested one.’ “We would like to bring to the notice of readers that the returnees from Italy referenced in recent news publications have never obtained a visa from this Embassy, nor have ever requested one,” the embassy said. With regards to some news items on the Covid-19 situation in Italy that are more..

SriLankan Airlines staff in national mission braving Coronavirus face discrimination

Mar 24 (EN) Staff of SriLankan Airlines who are flying aircraft braving a global Coronavirus epidemic keeping Sri Lanka connecting to the world, bringing in vital medical and other supplies and also taking exports out is facing discrimination in society, the carrier said. “SriLankan Airlines appeals from the general public to respect its employees for their service to the country at a time of need,” the airline said in a statement. more..

2,405 arrested for violating curfew

Mar 24 (AD) A total of 2,405 curfew violators have been taken into custody so far since the curfew was re-imposed at 6 p.m. on Friday (20). In the meantime, 646 vehicles including motorcycles and three-wheelers have also been seized along with the arrestees. A majority of the arrests were for loitering along the roads while people have also been arrested over incidents of gathering and consuming alcohol, travelling by vehicle on the roads, keeping restaurants open, behaving in an unruly more..

Coronavirus cases in SL reaches 102

Mar 24 (NR) Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe says of the four new coronavirus cases identified today, three are returnees from Italy while the other is a returnee from the United States. He said a majority of the COVID-19 cases identified in the country are Sri Lankans who arrived in Sri Lanka from overseas. He said of the 101 coronavirus cases reported in the country 21 are from the Colombo District, 13 from Kalutara District and 10 from Gampaha District. more..

Sri Lanka mulls releasing prisoners in Coronavirus battle

Mar 24 (EN) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a committee to look into way to release people who have been jailed over minor offenses and those who could not provide bail, his office said. “President issued these instructions during a meeting held at the Prez Secretariat today with the members of the committee appointed to make recommendations on the possibility of providing legal redress for the prisoners more..

Ministers take differing positions on fuel prices

Mar 24 (Island) Two senior Ministers have come up with conflicting positions on whether fuel prices would be reduced, in keeping with a big drop in world market oil prices. Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at last Thursday’s Cabinet Press Briefing, that fuel prices would not be slashed for a year, even if crude oil prices fell further. But Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told a news conference in Colombo the following day, that people expected some relief in keeping with global trends. more..

General Election : Bandula willing to pay Rs.100,000 for using official vehicle

Mar 24 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena says that if he were to use his official vehicle for electioneering, he would gladly pay Rs. 100,000 to the State. Responding to questions at a news conference in Colombo on Friday, Gunawardena said the policy adopted at the 2015 general election, that the PM and Ministers should pay Rs.100,000 each for traveliing in official vehicles for their polls campaign, would be followed. "I would gladly pay the stipulated amount", he added. more..

Police say sorry to woman they included in a list of quarantine avoiders

Mar 24 (EN) The police department is apologizing to a woman whose photograph appeared in a list released by the authorities on Monday that featured a group of people who the police said arrived in the country earlier in the month but did not go into quarantine. Shirani Peries called police yesterday from France and protested that her picture has appeared in this list, a Police spokesman said. In its statement today the department said more..

SL issues COVID-19 guidelines for its elderly

Mar 24 (EN) Sri Lanka issued a set of guidelines to its elderly citizens today on how to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. As research worldwide has shown that the elderly and younger children are at most risk from the novel coronavirus, the country’s elderly population of three-million must act responsibly. Quoting Sri Lanka Association of Geriatric Medicine (SLAGM) President Dr Padma Gunaratne, the government spelt out the following guidelines: more..

Pharmacies to remain open during curfew

Mar 24 (NR) Ministry of Health says pharmacies across the country have been granted approval to remain open despite the curfew in place owing to efforts to combat COVID19. Ministry said an individual can produce a prescription or a clinic book during curfew to the Police or the military in order to visit a pharmacy. Health Ministry noted that due to the curfew presently in place a large number of patients who seek daily hospital treatment and obtain medicine from pharmacies are more..

Video: First batch of quarantined persons sent home today

Mar 24 (AD) First batch of persons to be quarantined after arriving in the country is due to leave the quarantine centers today completing their quarantine period. Accordingly, a group of 311 persons will be leaving quarantine premises today. They had arrived from Italy, South Korea, and Iran after the novel coronavirus spread globally. Reportedly, 203 persons from the Punani quarantine center and another 108 persons from more..

Fmr Air Force Chief Roshan new Western Province Governor

Mar 24 (AD) Former SL Air Force Commander, Marshal of the Air Force Roshan Goonetileke has been appointed as the Governor of the Western Province. He was sworn in before Prez Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, today. Roshan Goonetileke has previously served as the 12th Commander of the SL Air Force (SLAF) and the Chief of Defence Staff. Goonetileke was conferred the highest honorary Air Force rank Marshal of SLAF in 2019 by then-Prez Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Human Rights during COVID19: Sri Lanka Tamils community

Mar 24 (eTN) Concerning the 43rd UNHRC which ended so precipitously on March 13 where Sri Lanka was on the agenda, the international community is experiencing what the Tamil community is far too familiar with – SL’s callous disregard for negotiated agreements. On Feb 26, SL made the ignominious announcement that it does not feel bound by the commitments made in 2015’s UNHRC Resolution 30/1 and its two successor resolutions, 34/1 and 40/1, intended to encourage reform and more..

Colombo, Gampaha & Kalutara districts classified high risk zones; curfew extended

Mar 24 (AD) Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts have been identified as high risk areas for Coronavirus and hence the curfew imposed on those districts will continue until further notice, the PMD said. Issuing a statement, it said that Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts have been identified as high risk zones with regard to the spread of Covid-19. Health authorities have observed that a large number of people more..

Release minor offences inmates: JHU

Mar 24 (NR) Former leader of JHU Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera has requested govt to release inmates presently in remand custody over minor offences, owing to the present situation in the country. Thera pointed out that it would worsen the condition the country is at present, if the coronavirus were to spread amongst inmates as prisons are currently overcrowded. Thera requested the govt to also release inmates who have almost completed their prison sentence with a period of 6 mos more..

We need a united front to fight COVID-19

Mar 24 (DM) We, Sri Lankans have fought among ourselves so many times when we should have been united. Subsequent to receiving Independence, at a time when unity was paramount for the development of the country, we started to bicker over language and sowed seeds for a thirty-year war. Some of us found holes in the first ever development scheme after Independence, the Gal Oya irrigation project and made it a platform for communal discord. Lately, at a time when more..

Govt expands quarantine facilities; prompt decisions vital

Mar 24 (DM) Amid 86 people being tested positive at the time this article was penned and 222 others currently undergoing treatment at designated hospitals with two critical cases in ICU, health authorities are expanding quarantine facilities to accommodate more people who have returned from abroad. As means of curbing COVID-19 outbreak, all flights and ships scheduled to enter SL territorial borders have been temporarily suspended. more..

Suppression to mitigate Covid-19: Govt’s approach is right, should stick to it to the end

Mar 24 (DM) From Oceania to the Americas, country after country is grinding to a halt by the coronavirus global pandemic. Less than a month ago, US Prez Donald Trump pooh-poohed that “it’s going to disappear. One day, like a miracle, it will disappear”. Now, there is a grim realisation that this is just the beginning. According to a study by Imperial College, London, it would take 18 months and repeated lock-downs to beat the virus. By then hopefully, a vaccine may have been developed. more..

People Bank prioritizing salaries; ATMs, online banking urged

Mar 24 (EN) People’s Bank said it is funding the country’s energy utilities and key state enterprises, giving priority to salaries and keeping cash flowing with the help of over 1,000 cash deposit machines and automated teller, a top official said. “At the moment as a state bank our staff is working night and day to serve our customers,” Chairman Sujeewa Rajapaksa said. “Our front office staff are giving priority to discharge salaries. The service personnel, Navy, plantations workers.” more..