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CJ appoints two Trials-at-Bar

Feb 19 (CT) Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has appointed two separate High Court Trials-at-Bar Benches, to hear the Bonds scam cases involving the Treasury Bonds Auctions of March 2016, stated the Attorney General’s Office. Hence, the first Trial-at-Bar, comprising Justices Damith Thotawata, Manjula Thillakaratne and M. Irasadeen, would preside over the case filed against ex-Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake, more..

8 deaths recorded; Covid-19 deaths up to 430

Feb 19 (NR) SL’s COVID-19 death toll increased to 430 yesterday with the confirmation of eight new fatalities. A 67-year-old female from Dematagoda passed away on Tuesday at her residence of COVID-pneumonia and diabetes. Meanwhile a 58-year-old male from Colombo 08 passed away on Wednesday at the Methsiri Sevana Treatment Centre in Anuradhapura of COVID-infection, kidney damages and high blood pressure. Furthermore, a 43-yr-old male from Meegoda passed away more..

Tourist arrivals cross 4,000 mark

Feb 19 (FT) Tourist arrivals post reopening of borders have now crossed the 4,000 mark, with the Govt also planning to soon roll out the much-awaited global tourism campaign. Within just three weeks since airports were opened on 21 January for international travellers and commercial flights, there have been 4,368 tourists, SL Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said. Yesterday’s 211 tourists were the latest to arrive from Kazakhstan at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA). more..

5,400 swords unaccounted for

Feb 19 (CT) Court of Appeal, ordered Defence Secretary Major Gen (rtd) Kamal Gunaratne and IGP Chandana Wickramaratne, to inform the Court, on 5 March, on the progress of inquiries into the import of 6,000 swords, on the sidelines of the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks. Court gave this order after having perused a petition filed to this effect by the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. more..

Too many procedures impede import-export trade

Feb 19 (ST) Though there is indication that there is no import ban to SL, there are impediments from the banks to pay in foreign currencies for imported goods, said Denis Chaibi, Ambassador of the Delegation to the European Union to SL and the Maldives. He was speaking at the official launch of the Step by Step Trade Procedures Functionality of the SL Trade Information Portal (SLTIP), held at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo this week. The four year EU-SL Trade Related Assistance Project more..

Event management sector slams ad hoc COVID-19 policies

Feb 19 (FT) The event management industry is up in arms over what it terms as unfair and unreasonable restrictions on corporate events by the Govt, while turning a blind eye to large weddings and other functions. Event Management Association President Roshan Wijeyaratne condemned the ad hoc approach adopted by the Govt on COVID-19 control measures, with hotels being allowed to host large weddings while corporate events which are carried out with all precautions in place are banned. more..

Video: Women parliamentarians take a stand for Sri Lanka’s first female DIG

Feb 19 (AD) Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus has decided to stand for the rights and job security of SL’s first female DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi. The Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus stated this during a special press conference held at Parliament today (18), attended by its chairperson State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle. The state minister condemned the challenge to the promotion of DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi, more..

FFSL requests Sports Minister for vaccination

Feb 19 (CT) Football Federation of SL (FFSL) is reportedly looking to get all players, coaching staff and officials (from the 10 teams taking part in the Super League) vaccinated against COVID-19, after three positive cases were detected during the Super League pre-season matches which kicked-off on Wednesday at the Sugathadasa Stadium. Red Star SC Goalkeeper coach M. Imthiaz and Renown SCs M. Imran (Coach) and Dilan Madushanka (right winger) were found positive following PCR more..

I couldn’t fulfil my daughter’s dream: Prasad

Feb 19 (TM) My only worry was that I couldn’t fulfil my daughter’s dream. Nothing else. Former SL fast bowler Dhammika Prasad said so yesterday. He said so announcing his retirement from international cricket at the Singhalese Sports Club (SSC) clubhouse, Colombo. “I expected a call for the national side after I recovered from my shoulder injury. In fact I promised my daughter that I would play again for Sri Lanka after healing the injury. Not being able to do that is a worry,” Prasad said. more..

514 persons test positive for COVID-19

Feb 19 (FT) Total COVID-19 patient country yesterday exceeded 78,000 with the detection of 514 COVID-19 positive persons. Yesterday’s patients include 501 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster. This brings the triple clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons to 74,371 patients. In addition to this, 1,972 SL returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, 651 persons linked to more..

Saker steps down as SL's fast bowling coach

Feb 19 (CB) David Saker resigned as Sri Lanka's fast bowling coach on Thursday (18) with immediate effect. Saker, who was named as Sri Lanka's pace bowling coach in Dec 2019, cited personal reasons for his decision to step down from the position. The 54-year-old has previously worked with numerous teams in different coaching roles. Saker had a successful time as the fast bowling coach of England, and stepped down from the role in early 2015. more..

The need for ethical decision-making

Feb 19 (TM) A common issue can not only bring people together, but can also divide them, depending on how it is dealt with. By the looks of it, the Covid-19 pandemic is merely a disease that is arduous to contain. However, containing it requires something more than technical solutions, as it is human lives that are at stake. From the very first time Sri Lanka imposed curfew on 20 March 2020 until it began the vaccination programme early this year, all decisions pertaining to managing more..

Z-score and district quotas to change

Feb 19 (TM) The Z-score system that is key in determining the entrance of students to state universities is being revisited as part of an effort to explore how the current university entrance system could be changed, The Morning learnt. UGC Chairman Prof. Sampath Amaratunge said that the Z-score is currently being revisited, adding that an entrance policy that suits the present times must be formulated. more..

Standard Operating Procedure for local assembly of vehicles, component...

Feb 19 (FT) The Ministry of Industries spearheaded by Wimal Weerawansa is soon to launch the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Local Assembly of Vehicles and Automotive Component Manufacturing to encourage world renowned brands to locally assemble vehicles. Sri Lanka Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association (SLACMA) President Dimantha Jayawardena said that the new SOP had been prepared in keeping with the highest standards around the world. more..

IPS calls for proposals for Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2021

Feb 19 (FT) Institute of Policy Studies of SL (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2021. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research. The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of more..

Selectors selecting players or players selecting selectors?

Feb 19 (TM) Local sports authorities are yet to officially announce the names of the new 3-member national men’s cricket selection panel as SL team is to start their tour of West Indies on Tuesday (23), less than four days from now. “I don’t think you can ever expect this type of pathetic situation in any other country,” said an inside source who is in the know of the ongoing proceedings related to appointment of national selectors. more..

Battles begin for top honours

Feb 19 (CT) Over 795 shuttlers began their quest for top honours when the much-awaited National Badminton Championships 2020 served off on Wednesday. The five-day event is being held at three venues in Colombo, namely the Mercantile Badminton Association courts, Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB) Headquarters and Otter Aquatic Club, where a total of 763 matches will be played. The National Championships also kicked off SLB programme for the year 2021. more..

Editorial: Chilling stats and inaction

Feb 19 (Island) DIG Ajith Rohana has alerted the public to an alarming increase in killer road accidents recently. During the past seven days, as many as 23 people have died in road mishaps, he says. Prangs, near misses and the attendant chaos on roads have become the order of the day, again. This may be taken as an indication that the country has returned to normal earlier than expected. During pandemic-related lockdowns & travel restrictions, there was a sharp drop in road fatalities, more..

Northern renewable energy projects short-circuiting diplomatic ties?

Feb 19 (TM) SL and India have long-enjoyed mutually beneficial economic and diplomatic ties, but the strategic bilateral partnership is under pressure at present as China is further expanding its footprint on the island nation by securing yet another lucrative energy deal in outlying islands off the Jaffna peninsula. The energy deal won by the Chinese company to set up three hybrid renewable energy systems mixed with solar, wind, and more..

Tourism post Covid-19 lockdown, a slow recovery with $ 1 b target

Feb 19 (TM) Two months since its reopening, SL has managed to attract over 2,500 int'l tourists to its shores. The initial pilot project launched in Dec 2020 and the complete reopening of the airports in Jan 2021 have resulted in tourists from markets such as Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Americas arriving in the country. However, according to the SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the industry’s recovery is still very slow, making revenue projections unpredictable. more..

Lass from Kamburupitiya Nethmi Nimthera fuelled by Olympic boxing dream

Feb 19 (ST) Kamburupitiya, a sleepy town nestled 12 miles south of Matara, has been awakened to the sight of young boys and girls fighting for glory in the ring in one of the oldest Olympic disciplines – boxing. Within a span of two decades, it has become the hub of boxing down south with about six schools having taken up the sport. Narandeniya National School achieved the distinction of producing a junior int'l Tharinda Nethmina who represented SL at Asian Youth Boxing C'ships in Mongolia in 2019. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Sowing the seeds of conflict: Statement by UN officials and independent experts

Feb 19 (GV) Former UN officials and independent experts call on the int'l community to take immediate steps towards justice and accountability to end SL’s cycles of violence. The recently released report on SL by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights underlines, yet again, the country’s lack of progress on justice and accountability. Based largely on an analysis of emerging trends, it makes a compelling case for decisive int'l action to ensure justice and accountability for mass human rights more..

Tribute to Vijaya Kumaratunga on the day he was assassinated

Feb 19 (CT) Vijaya Kumaratunga was assassinated on 16 Feb 1988. On the day, I was in the accident ward of Colombo General (Ward Place) Hospital, by the bed of my friend who was admitted to the hospital due to a head injury. While I was talking to him, suddenly a shocking news was spreading among the patients and the visitors. The news: Vijaya Kumaratunga had been shot and he is being brought to the general hospital. I said to my friend I must go and see him Some people started more..

Ecocide – Another pandemic in disguise

Feb 19 (DM) COVID-19 wasn’t the only pandemic that struck Sri Lanka in 2020. A mass scale Ecocide began and is continuing much to the dismay of environmental activists and nature lovers who have raised their voices to protect the greeneries. The revoking of the 1/2005 and 2/2006 circulars that provided protection for Other State Forests is identified as one of the main contributing factors to this damage. more..

A respite for economically downtrodden

Feb 19 (CT) Currently, most of the economic sectors in SL have been affected by COVID-19 with adverse consequences on trade balance and the balance of payment. Govt has taken numerous measures to revive the economy and the reducing of prices of 27 essential items was one of those. In a bid to provide relief to the consumers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and to address the economic crisis that has been created, the SL Govt reduced and will maintain fixed prices of 27 essential more..

Modi’s remarks on Tamils set the cat among the pigeons

Feb 19 (DM) Govt has articulated over and again that its foreign policy will be neutral and non-aligned. However, it is now challenging for the regime to be true to such a policy since the major powers with interests in the region have made it almost unworkable in a practical sense. The absence of a cohesive policy regardless of the change of govts has made matters worse. The previous Yahapalana Govt signed a MoU with India and Japan to lease out the East Container Terminal more..

'TNA regrets crimes committed in the name of the Tamil people'

Feb 19 (DM) The human rights issue in SL will take center-stage when the UNHRC meets in Geneva for its 46th Session from Feb 22 to March 23. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran is among those advocating for stronger action on SL over its failure to meet its commitments to the Council. However, the Council and the TNA have been criticized for being one-sided and not drawing attention to the atrocities committed by the LTTE. more..

Welcome move

Feb 19 (CT) Govt of SL belatedly, but, nonetheless in a welcome move, has reopened SL’s borders for British tourists as well. Previously, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SL closed all of its borders to tourists on 17 March, 2020. Subsequently SL reopened its borders on 28 Dec, 2020, but banned UK tourists from entering the country due to an allegedly more deadly COVID-19 virus emanating from the UK. A few days prior to the reopening of its borders, SL banned flights from the UK from more..

A woman’s courage in a khaki jungle

Feb 19 (DM) There was a time when SL was known as a country of missed opportunities. The last time critics said that profoundly was when the Govt of SL failed to capitalist on the tsunami aid the country would have received; due to bad planning and ridiculous state protocol. The same feeling of missing an opportunity crops up when one hears of the issue surrounding the appointment of the first Acting Woman DIG of Police . The person in the news these days is Acting Woman DIG more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

UNP queries delay over acting Ministerial appointment

Feb 18 (DN) The UNP has urged the Govt to explain to the public why there was a delay in appointing an acting Minister of Health during the COVID-19 crisis. Former MP for the UNP, Sandith Samarasinghe, addressing the media at Sirikotha, charged the Govt of failing in their duties to ensure the health and safety of the public. On the 23rd of Jan 2021, the Minister of Health was diagnosed with COVID-19 and on the 28th of Jan she was admitted to the IDH and was subsequently transferred to the ICU. more..

TAC conducts social media training for young entrepreneurs

Feb 18 (Island) Award winning social media agency TAC carried out a social media & digital marketing training for young entrepreneurs as a part of their integrated digital responsibility policy to empower core sectors of the Lankan economy. The program was conducted by Head of Operations of TAC, Artheeshayan Segarajasingam, a young GenZ himself, recognized the vitality of empowering young entrepreneurs with the required knowledge to connect with their audiences effectively. more..

International concern that Sri Lanka continues to cremate Muslim Covid dead

Feb 18 (EN) Human Rights activists and Western countries are expressing concern that Sri Lanka is walking back on an apparent promise to allow Muslim victims of Covid 19 to be buried. Currently, the remains of all victims of the pandemic are cremated whatever religion they and their families belong to. The controversial stand taken by the govt of SL against scientific advice and WHO approved standards has brought about more..

Video: Fire erupts at Kerawalapitiya garbage dump

Feb 18 (AD) A fire has broken out at the Kerawalapitiya waste disposal site this evening (February 18), Ada Derana reporter said. Reportedly, the fire has erupted from a mound of polythene and plastic garbage. Colombo Fire Brigade and the fire fighting units of the Sri Lanka Navy had arrived at the scene to control the fire. However, as the fire spread rapidly due to polythene and plastic waste helicopters of the Sri Lanka Air Force have been summoned to extinguish the fire. more..

Media should be springboard to meet world challenges: Keheliya

Feb 18 (CT) Under the patronage of Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella a Media Centre for National Development (MCND) was launched yesterday in a bid to boost development dialogue with the media and to disseminate information locally and internationally on the govt’s development strategies under the Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour programme. Milinda Rajapaksa has been appointed as the Director of the Media Centre. At the launch, Minister Rambukwella said more..