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Video: Covid-19 mitigation efforts have not failed, says Army Chief

Nov 13 (AD) Lt Gen Shavendra Silva reiterates that the govt’s Covid-19 mitigation efforts have not failed. He said the spread of the virus has been successfully curbed in the Western Province where a high population density is reported. The latest wave of Covid-19, which began from Minuwangoda and grew up to 3,106 cases in total, has been controlled completely, he stressed. However, infections from the Peliyagoda Fish more..

Will not internationalise Sri Lanka’s internal issues: SJB

Nov 13 (DM) SJB does not practice tale carrying politics but will only voice the issues only internally, Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa told Parliament. Mr. Premadasa said he along with the main opposition does not intend to internationalise SL’s internal issues. “There were times when those who were in the opposition in the past internationalised SL’s internal issues and engaged in tale carrying politics, but we don’t intend to engage in such a practice, “ he said. more..

Video: Repatriation of Sri Lankans to resume from next week

Nov 13 (DM) Army Commander and Head of the National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak, Lt. Gen Shavendra Silva said authorities will resume the repatriation process to bring back stranded Sri Lankans from overseas by next week after it was halted due to the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases here. Silva said that all SL nationals who are overseas and wish to return will be brought back in batches, with special emphasis placed on those stranded in the Middle East. more..

Video: Govt dismisses allegations concerning import of Rapid Antigen Test Kits

Nov 13 (AD) The public sector has not yet purchased any Rapid Antigen Test kit, which is used in the diagnosis of respiratory pathogens, says State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana. He made this remark during today’s parliamentary session, responding to the accusations on irregularities during the tendering process. The WHO has included Rapid Antigen Tests and Nucleic Acid Tests in its Emergency Use Listing more..

Imprisoned MPs not allowed to attend Parliament sessions

Nov 13 (AD) Business Committee of Parliament has decided not to allow MPs currently jailed at Welikada and Magazine prisons to attend parliament sessions due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Accordingly, Batticaloa District MP and TMVP leader S. Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, Wanni District MP and ACMC leader Rishad Bathiudeen, who are in remand custody, and Ratnapura District MP Premalal Jayasekara, who is serving a death sentence at the Welikada Prison, more..

Facing community spread of COVID-19 with creativity and better strategies

Nov 13 (FT) The purpose of this article is to emphasise on the necessity for the Government to prepare and plan for a probable community spread of COVID-19 which may be inevitable due to the prevailing situation in the country. We cannot be complacent because we controlled the first wave of the pandemic very successfully with an excellent management of the total situation which resulted in a very low death rate compared to other developed nations. Even if the Brandix cluster more..

Dr. Harsha De Silva

Rishad Bathiudeen further remanded

Nov 13 (AD) MP Rishad Bathiudeen has been further remanded until the 25th of Nov. Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage delivered the order today, dismissing a bail application submitted by the former minister. On Nov 10, the defence attorneys had sought the magistrate to release MP Bathiudeen on bail claiming he is susceptible to Covid-19 infection if he continues to be under remand custody at Magazine Prison. However, its superintendent had informed the court that none of the more..

End of an era

Nov 13 (FT) This is not an issue which has received adequate attention. Yet, I am of the view that one era of the history of SL which commenced since independence in 1948 has come to an end in 2020. It simply means that the State and its associated socio-political system that was bequeathed to us by the British when SL was granted independence, by ending the long period of colonial rule, has completely collapsed and ceased to exist. Although there may have been shortcomings in more..

Mahinda pledges economic revival

Nov 13 (FT) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday delivered a blistering criticism of the previous Govt, blaming it for stalling growth on all fronts, and pledged a massive turnaround during the next four years. “The economy and the financial position passed down to us is pathetic. It has to be acknowledged that this pathetic situation is due the failed economic and fiscal management programs implemented in the last five years by more..

TMVP Secy arrested for threatening witness

Nov 13 (CT) Secretary of TMVP, Poobalapillai Prashanthan was arrested by the CID yesterday for allegedly threatening one of the witnesses to a double murder alleged to have been committed by Prashanthan and his brother in 2008. Prashanthan was arrested over a complaint by a relative of the murdered couple in 2008. A couple in Arayampathi in the Eastern Province, a teacher named Krishnapillai Manoharan and his wife, were shot dead 29 Dec 2008 and the murdered woman’s sister more..

Sri Lanka fails to sell 35% of bonds

Nov 13 (EN) SL has failed to sell 26.52 billion rupees out of 75 billion rupees of bonds offered at an auction on Nov 12, data from the state debt office showed. Under SL’s Socialist leaning Sirisena-Maithripala administration dealers were forced to buy bonds at mandated a rates, undermining the auction process in a broad strategy of financial repression deep along the yield curve and jettisoning a bills only policy of for open market operations. The practice had been halted for the time being. more..

Dual cluster exceeds 12,000 cases

Nov 13 (FT) Dual COVID-19 cluster that emerged from Divulapitiya and Peliyagoda has exceeded 12,000 cases, with 373 persons testing positive yesterday. Of the patients identified yesterday four were arrivals from the UAE while 369 were associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster, which has now expanded to 12,227 cases since it first emerged on 3 Oct. Total number of confirmed cases thus risen to 15,723. more..

'Only five Covid-19 deaths due to viral infection, others due to chronic diseases'

Nov 13 (DM) Army Commander Shavendra Silva said that only five deaths among the total Covid-19 deaths reported in the country were caused by the viral infection while all the other deaths were caused by chronic diseases. He said that Secretary to the Health Ministry has confirmed this. Commenting on the deaths of COVID-19 patients occurred at homes, Commander urged that those who are suffering from chronic diseases to seek medical treatment whenever required without staying at home more..

Why it’s imperative that Parliamentary correspondents are allowed to report...

Nov 13 (CT) The term Fourth Estate is attributed to Anglo-Irish politician and author Edmund Burke (1729-97), who supposedly used it in 1787 to refer to parliamentary reporters. Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but “in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.” Since, now and then, a lot of water has flown under the bridge and we can debate the quality of journalism in the current day and how much the Fourth Estate actually more..

'Pandemic turned into profit-making venture'

Nov 13 (CT) JVP Member Sunil Handunnetti claimed that the problem that has arisen was that instead of the govt providing relief to the people, they have handed over the responsibility to the people and turned the pandemic into a profit-making venture for their loyal business associates. “What is happening is that the Govt has given the opportunity to associates who helped the Govt to come to power, to make a profit. more..

UN Migration Network launched in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (FT) UN Network on Migration in SL was formally launched virtually on 11 Nov by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN Resident Coordinator and 11 UN entities in Sri Lanka in partnership with the Govt of SL. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena officiated as the Chief Guest. Also participating in this important event were UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer, representatives of UN agencies and other distinguished guests representing GoSL, more..

Navy seizes over 800kg of smuggled dried turmeric haul in Kalpitiya

Nov 13 (SLN) A special search operation conducted by the Navy at Daluwa beach in Kalpitiya made way to seize over 800kg haul of smuggled dried turmeric on 12th Nov. The Navy also took hold of 06 suspects in connection to this incident, during this operation. Accordingly, the Northwestern Naval Command was able to make this apprehension after searching 02 suspicious dinghies arrived at the Daluwa beach. The dinghies were loaded with over 800kg of dried turmeric stuffed in 32 gunny sacks. more..

UN Resident Coordinator writes to Mahinda on burying COVID-19 victims

Nov 13 (CG) UN Resident Coordinator in SL Ms Hanaa Singer has written to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterating concerns with the existing Ministry of Health guidelines, which stipulate cremation as the only method for the disposal of bodies suspected of COVID-19 infection. In the letter, Hanaa Singer reiterates the solidarity of the UN with the people of SL in these challenging times marked by the COVID-19 emergency. more..

ComBank posts steady results amidst impacts of COVID-19

Nov 13 (FT) Gains from government securities, foreign exchange (FX) swap trading and FX trading activities have enabled the Commercial Bank of Ceylon Group (ComBank) to mitigate to some extent, the severity of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on profits in a period of reduced interest income and substantially higher impairment provisioning, compared to the corresponding quarter of the last year. The Group, comprising of SL’s benchmark private bank, its subsidiaries and more..

Sri Lanka Telecom introduces Virtual Hearing Solution for Commercial High Courts

Nov 13 (FT) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has extended its expertise to the Commercial High Courts with the introduction of a new Virtual Hearing Solution. The new online platform was developed by SLT in partnership with the Colombo Law Library. This new online platform is to ensure that Courts continue functioning unhindered by COVID-19 or any other similar crisis in the future. The online system will function as a virtual courthouse, and will permit cases to be heard remotely with the use of more..

Minister Cabraal dismisses calculations made by MP Hashim

Nov 13 (Island) State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Parliament that as at the end of Dec 2019 total loans granted by the Central Bank to all banks for pawning advances stood at Rs. 210 billion and at the end of Sept 2020 it had increased by 27 billion to Rs. 237 billion. He dismissed the figures presented by SJB MP Hashim as being inaccurate and demanded to know where the latter had obtained the misleading information from. more..

LB Finance donates ventilators to combat COVID-19

Nov 13 (CT) LB Finance acted upon strengthening the nation by donating high quality US Brand Hamilton C3 model mechanical ventilators and ICU beds manufactured in Switzerland which costs over Rs 25 million, to the Cardio Therapeutic ICU of the National Hospital of Kandy yesterday. The official handing over of this donation was graced by AGM – Human Resources Prasanna Kalinga, Chief Manager – Central Region Gayan Ayuwadana, other senior staff members and staff of LB Finance more..

Why the govt should increase Tobacco taxation in the forthcoming budget

Nov 13 (IPS) COVID-19 pandemic has left many economies struggling to revive economic activity and boost growth. Economic stimulus packages of varying sizes, shapes and forms have been disbursed by govts around the world to keep their economies afloat. What this means is that governments of developing countries in particular, face extremely tough fiscal policy choices; in some cases, compelled to spend money that they do not necessarily have. SL is no exception to this. more..

Two lawmakers join civil society bid to highlight Maj. Prasanna’s case

Nov 13 (Island) Two SLPP lawmakers, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera and Gevindu Cumaratunga have expressed serious concern over failure on the part of retired Maj. Ajith Prasanna, who is also an attorney-at-law, to secure bail pending court proceedings in respect of contempt court charges filed by the Attorney General. Police arrested one-time SPC member Prasanna on Jan 24th, 2020 for making allegations regarding more..

Hemas ups 2Q pre-tax profit by 258%

Nov 13 (FT) Hemas Holdings (HHL) has posted a Group revenue of Rs. 17.4 billion for the quarter ended 30 Sept 2020, an increase of 11% over corresponding period last year. Group operating profit for the quarter under review at Rs. 2 billion is a growth of 188% over Rs. 700 million recorded last year. Pre-tax profit rose by 258% to Rs. 1.8 billion and post-tax figure was up 474% to Rs. 1.4 billion. Net profit attributable to equity holders of the parent was up 521% to Rs. 1.28 billion. more..

3 top Pakistani players withdraw from LPL

Nov 13 (CT) Lanka Premier League (LPL) has been hit by a string of withdrawals, with the likes of Pakistan’s Mohamed Hafeez, Shafraz Ahamed and Wahab Riaz likely to miss the inaugural T20 tournament after they were picked for Pakistan’s upcoming tour of NZ. Pakistan announced a 35-man squad for their upcoming tour of New Zealand where the players and the support staff will be departing for Lincoln on 23 Nov, where they will have to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. more..

'What have you done with Rs 2,650 billion borrowings?'

Nov 13 (CT) Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Kabir Hashim yesterday questioned the Govt on how they spent Rs 2,650 billion of State debt, borrowed in 2020. Participating in the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill 2020, Hashim queried: “Govt has borrowed Rs 2,650 billion in 2020. This is the largest of Govt borrowings after the Independence in 1948. What have you done with these monies? The people are questioning it. more..

Tokyo Cement renews Foundation of Goodness partnership

Nov 13 (ST) Tokyo Cement Group pledged its support to the Foundation of Goodness for another year, to extend their multi-pronged activities aimed at rural cricket development. 2020 marks the fifth year of partnership between the two organisations, who have united to unearth talented young cricketers from rural SL. The company’s long-standing partnership with the Foundation of Goodness (FoG) established cricket training facilities, that included upgrading more..

Left-arm quick from Hungama could be next big thing in cricket

Nov 13 (Island) Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka has suddenly become the talk in cricket circles after he was drafted into the Sri Lankan squad that will tour South Africa later this year for the Boxing Day and New Year Tests. The 22 players who will go on the tour will begin a week-long residential training camp in Pallekele later this week and all eyes will be on Madushanka. The 20-year-old hails from the fishing village of Hungama in the Hambantota district. His father is a fisherman and more..

Sumanthiran questions legality of 2020 Appropriation Bill

Nov 13 (FT) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran questioned the legality of the Appropriation Bill for 2020 presented to Parliament, alleging that it was a Bill intended to cover up various illegalities that had been purported in this country. “The Bill that is before us is not only a strange Bill, but it is an act to cover up various illegalities that have been purported in this country,” he said while taking part in the 2nd Reading debate on the Bill. more..

Restaging Z-Score Debacle

Nov 13 (Island) The release of the Z scores for university admission by UGC has brought thousands of complaints and issues from the students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders into discussion. Some others have vowed to take the issue to courts, expecting a fair and just solution. Most of the complaints are related to the issue of two different cutoff Z scores for new syllabus and old syllabus and comparisons thereof. It is understood that the solutions proposed to resolve more..

High-performance centre for Sri Lanka Rugby

Nov 13 (CT) Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa has decided to allocate Jayathilaka Sports Ground, Nawalapitiya, as a high-performance center for the National men’s and women’s rugby teams. On a request made by SLR President Rizly Illyas, Sports Minister had promised to allocate the Stadium in Nawalapitiya (which has indoor facilities, swimming pool and a grounds) as a high-performance center for the exclusive use of the National men’s and women’s teams and to be managed and more..

SL hikes Treasury guarantees to 15% of GDP

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka is hiking Treasury guarantees to 15% of gross domestic product, or about 330% of the original limit set by a fiscal responsibility law in 2003, which sought to limit fiscal profligacy and make it more difficult to understate and hide budget deficits. A Treasury guarantee allows the govt to guarantee a loan from a bank or other lender to a state corporation or private entity without passing the cash through the budget more..

Crisscrossing 13A abolition

Nov 13 (Island) I have recently read a speech by TNA Leader R Sampanthan, delivered in 2017. This excellent presentation supported the Thirteenth Amendment (13A). In appreciation of his intelligent arguments, I share his thinking not to canvass for 13A but to broaden the discussion with forgotten overlapping references that need to be factored in. Devolution was thrust upon us, consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987. Then, certain groups rejected this pact as well as 13A. more..

Death in the time of Corona: A risky business for Muslims

Nov 13 (GV) The question of the burial or cremation of COVID-19 victims took a bizarre turn to expose a govt at odds with itself with Ministers and health authorities sending out mixed messages and contradicting each other. It was suddenly announced that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had agreed to the burial of Muslims who died of COVID-19 and instructed health authorities to look for dry land for the burials. It was denied by the health authorities immediately. more..