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The world’s oldest Tea auction goes digital

Jul 10 (Roar) Almost every week, for the last 126 years, well-dressed tea traders have gathered at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to snap up Ceylon Tea for export. Over two consecutive days every week, the sound of bidding echoes in three noisy, crowded auction rooms, as hundreds of traders place calculated bids at a rapid pace. On average, at least five sales are made a minute at the Colombo Tea Auction (CTA), more..

The President must come clear

Jul 10 (DM) Promises. Promises. Promises. They come in all sizes, shapes and colours during elections. Therefore, almost all manifestos and slogans can be summarised as follows: We promise to do this, that or the other if you vote for us. There’s not much to pick in the this, that and the other though. Let’s take a look at the parties. There’s the SLPP and it’s the clear front-runner. It’s not victory that’s troubling them but the margin. The party’s prez candidate conferred a resounding defeat more..

Whom do they Protect and Serve?

Jul 10 (CT) In a Nation that’s confused with a cross-pollination of expeditious political escapades and a score of hands reaching out for governance through all sorts of avenues in the law, it’s only natural that one of the victims of the greed for power is the Police department. The charge remains intact however that what we seem to have been having in the Police department from top to bottom has been not a mere lick-my-boots laid back kind of worship to all in power but that those in the force for more..

'When western countries catch a cold, our leaders get pneumonia'

Jul 10 (DM) Imthiaz Bakeer Markar is a prominent member of the newly-formed SJB, and is on its National List for the upcoming parliamentary polls. The son of former Speaker M.A. Bakeer Marker, Imthiaz has a longstanding involvement with the UNP. He spoke on the role and goals of the SJB in the current political climate. Q: You have mentioned the SJB is a party that is embarking on a new journey. What do you mean by this? more..

We’re worse than Ethiopia: Udara Rathnayake

Jul 10 (DM) Udara Rathnayake started his political career in 2013. He was elected as a Western PC Member in 2014. Your Educational and professional qualifications? A: Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Uni of Essex; Master of Science, Uni of Colombo. Professional experience in diverse industries ranging from exports, imports and apparel industry. Q: Vision for education of children and youth in Sri Lanka? A: Current education platform needs drastic changes. more..

When guardians abdicate their role

Jul 10 (DM) We are aware of how some unscrupulous politicians often times put one foot if not both feet in their mouth to attract attention or gain popularity among their voters when elections are round the corner. They make various allegations knowing that even if they proved false, the politicians would be rarely if at all taken to task. One such case was that of former sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage blatantly making unsubstantiated allegations that 2011 Cricket WC Final more..

Profiteering amidst a pandemic

Jul 10 (CT) Although the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) is taking measures to register hand sanitisers and ensure quality standards, sources inside the Authority expressed scepticism over the legal provisions available to take action against those that fail to meet these standards. Sources explained that the NMRA Act, No. 5 of 2015 enacted by Parliament repealed the cosmetics, devices & drugs act, more..

Poisoned Paradise?

Jul 10 (CT) Michael Naseby’s book, Sri Lanka: Paradise Lost; Paradise Regained (Unicorn Publishing Group, 2020), leads me to share some thoughts on paradise. What follows is not a comment on this book: that has been done by others. Paradise is of two kinds, the one relating to our after-life and the other to life on Earth. We are mortal, that is, by definition we are destined to die, and different faiths have different conceptions of what happens to us after death. more..

The political economy of rice market in SL

Jul 10 (CT) Sri Lanka was self-sufficient in rice and was an exporter for a long time. The country is also known to have had more than a thousand traditional rice varieties with excellent health benefits. These trends got reversed, and she became a rice importer, particularly after British colonization. Since independence, successive govts have implemented various subsidy and guaranteed price schemes, price controls, and various other measures to achieve self-sufficiency in rice, more..

Asia Cup 2020 postponed, Sri Lanka to host tournament in 2021

Jul 9 (Reuters) This year’s Asia Cup tournament, originally scheduled for September, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Cricket Council (ACC) said. Pakistan, who were set to host the tournament this year in the UAE, have exchanged hosting rights with Sri Lanka, who will stage next year’s event, while the Pakistan Cricket Board will host the 2022 edition. ACC said it is hoping to stage the Twenty20 competition, more..

Principals and teachers should ensure adherence: SLHEOA

Jul 9 (CT) SL Health Education Officers’ Association (SLHEOA) has stated that in the wake of the decision taken by the Govt to re-open schools for the second term after the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is important that principals and teachers, ensure that the students adhere to the health guidelines formulated by the Director General of Health Services to combat the fatal virus. They stated that with most grades set to re-open for the second term during the course of this month, more..

SJB raise concerns on Govt. move to axe forestry regulations

Jul 9 (FT) The SJB yesterday raised concerns about a cabinet paper aimed at withdrawing or amending Circular 5/2001 that protects a range of forest lands, and transferring them under the purview of Divisional and District Secretaries, citing possible damage to the county’s fragile ecosystem. Speaking at a press conference, SJB member and former MP Dr. Harsha De Silva stressed that the control over the forest areas covered by Circular 5/2001 should remain with Forest Conservation Department. more..

Video: How Sri Lanka’s first COVID-19 community infection in 70 days was detected

Jul 9 (AD) Health authorities have released details of the first COVID-19 community infection detected within the country in 70 days. Fifty-six persons from the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre and a female counselor employed at the center tested positive for COVID-19. The 27-year old counselor from Kottaramulla, Naththandiya area was confirmed to have contracted the virus this morning. Steps have already been taken to direct more..

'Govt concessions are limited to statements'

Jul 9 (NR) SJB has questioned as to whether it is fair that the govt which increased electricity tariffs by 100% is granting a concessionary relief of 25%. SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said the govts claims of concessions are limited merely to statements alone. He claimed the Prez also joined election campaigning after a recent research revealed the SLPP is at a disadvantage. Madduma Bandara noted the Prez didn’t get involved before and banned his photographs from more..

Eight counsellors on leave recalled

Jul 9 (DM) Steps have already been taken to bring back eight counsellors attached to the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre – East in Kandakadu who were on leave, after a fellow counsellor tested positive for Covid-19 at the Marawila Hospital today. 56 persons out of 450 inmates and staff members at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre – East in Kandakadu tested positive for COVID-19 today. Army Commander Shavendra Silva said it was improbable that the virus will be spread in more..

'Maithri’s group will destabilise future SLPP-led govt'

Jul 9 (Island) In spite of the SLFP contesting on the SLPP ticket at the 2020 parliamentary polls, Gampaha District Pohottuwa leader Minister Prasanna Ranatunga stepped up attacks on the partner. Ranatunga targeted SLFP leader former Prez Sirisena and SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera. He alleged that those around former Prez Maithripala Sirisena were a set of betrayers though they pretended to be SLFPers. more..

Customs to destroy all confiscated illegally imported Tobacco Leaves

Jul 9 (EN) Customs will destroy stocks of illegally imported tobacco leaves which are confiscated the Cabinet has decided Co-Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said. The current practice is to sell the confiscated leaves by calling for tenders that brought some additional revenue to the state. He told reporters, that there is about 11,370 kg of seized tobacco leaves at the moment in govt storage. “When stored for a long time the quality of the tobacco leaves depreciate, more..

Eight returnees from African continent infected with malaria

Jul 9 (AD) Eight Sri Lankans who had recently returned to the country from the African Continent are reported to have contracted malaria. Dr. Prasad Ranaweera, Director of Malaria Control Campaign stated that the infected persons are currently stationed at quarantine centers. Five among them are at the Pelwehera quarantine center while the other three persons are at the Waikkal quarantine center in Negombo. Dr. Ranaweera points out that although no malaria cases have been more..

Court bails husband-wife duo in smuggling racket

Jul 9 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna yesterday enlarged on bail the two suspects who were remanded on charges of smuggling foreign currency to the country and the illegal purchase of lands from several areas, including one that had belonged to a leading private hospital in the metropolis. The two suspects who were granted bail were identified as Rienzie Mahesh Edwards and his spouse Punya Menike Edwards, more..

Environmentalists oppose bid to grab forest land

Jul 9 (Island) Environmentalists are teaming up today to meet stakeholders covering a wide spectrum with regard to a critical circular that would lead to the destruction of elephant corridors and other environmentally sensitive areas. When contacted, Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage told The Island that if they are not able to resolve the issue through discussions they would be compelled to resort to legal action. more..

Job avenues for unemployed youth after General Election: PM

Jul 9 (DN) A new development programme has been prepared to be implemented soon after the General Election to create more job opportunities for unemployed youth, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Speaking at a public meeting in Kurunegala on Tuesday, he said massive development projects will be launched to expand irrigation facilities for farmers countrywide. The PM said well-equipped tourist zones will be set up in Kurunegala and Dambulla areas to develop the Tourism industry. more..

COVID-19 kills 12 more Lankan workers in Mid East, toll rises to 35

Jul 9 (DM) Twelve more SL migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries have died due to COVID-19 during last three weeks, increasing the death toll to 35. By June 19, there were twenty three COVID-19 deaths of Sri Lankans who were working in Middle Eastern countries. According to the Spokesperson of the SLFEB, the deaths have been reported from UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Lebanon. more..

‘Weak leadership has compromised SLFP’s status’

Jul 9 (DN) The SLFP, which was once one of the most powerful political parties in the country, has now suffered a serious setback due to weak leadership, Matale District SLFP Organiser Kusumsiri Ariyarathna said. He was speaking at a media briefing. “The SLPP was able to claim a landslide victory at last year’s Prez Election because we all worked together. But, at present, ministers and other members of the SLPP are relentlessly criticising us SLFPers,” he said. more..

Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurvedic lnstitute to become a fully-fledged University

Jul 9 (AD) Cabinet has granted its approval to upgrade Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurvedic Institute as a fully-fledged university. The relevant proposal was tabled by the Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovations during the recent meeting of Cabinet ministers. Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurvedic Institute, which is currently affiliated to the University of Kelaniya under the UGC, offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Ayurveda and allied sciences. more..

Sri Lanka tells UN to respect principle of sovereign equality

Jul 9 (MFA) Sri Lanka says the United Nations must fully respect the principle of sovereign equality in its interactions with member states. In a written Statement to the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on Peace Operations and Human Rights, the Sri Lankan delegation said UN as the largest global body that is committed to ensure the rights of every human being should always remain impartial. more..

Police directed to remove stickers, photos promoting candidates on vehicles

Jul 9 (AD) Election Commission says only the vehicles carrying candidates are permitted to display promotional slogans, signs, stickers with photographs and flags. Accordingly, promotional materials of election candidates displayed on other private vehicles including private buses and three-wheelers will be removed forthwith, Chairman of the EC Mahinda Deshapriya said. Police have been instructed to conduct random search patrols covering all police areas in this regard. more..

Forex reserves recover to US$6.7bn in June: Central Bank

Jul 9 (EN) SL’s forex reserves have recovered to US$ 6.7 billion in June from US$ 6.49 billion in May helped with purchases in the market and rupee-dollar swaps amid import restrictions. SL’s rupee collapsed to close to 200 to the US dollar after a spike in private credit in March fired by liquidity injections and a panic-inducing flexible exchange rate where interventions are minimized after printing money allowing the peg to fall and panic importers into an early covering of bills. more..

Video: 56 from Kandakadu rehab center and female counselor test positive for COVID-19

Jul 9 (AD) 56 persons from the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre and a female counselor employed at the center have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Prior to being transferred to the Welikada Prison, the recently COVID-19 infected inmate had been detained at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation Centre for 3 months. Accordingly, 450 inmates and staff at the Rehabilitation Center had been more..

Video: Proposal to slash 25% from lockdown electricity bills of 0-90 units

Jul 9 (AD) It has been proposed to the Cabinet of Ministers to provide a reduction of 25% on the electricity bills of consumers for the months of March, April, and May. However, this relief will only be applicable for bills that have used between 0 to 90 units per month. In addition, a grace period of 3 months will also be provided to pay off the discounted bill. Minister Bandula Gunawardena stated that the aforementioned proposal was submitted to the recent Cabinet meeting. more..

Sri Lanka to call for international bids to buy four used helicopters for the SLAF

Jul 9 (EN) Sri Lanka will call for international bids to buy four used helicopters for the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) to train pilots for Peacekeeping Missions. Co-Cabinet spokesman Romesh Pathirana said, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on behalf of the Ministry of Defense had sought Cabinet approval to make the purchase. Currently the SLAF uses two 1981 helicopters to train Pilot Officers. “SL Air Force units are currently on peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Central Africa. more..

Arrested PNB men received Presidential awards too: DSG

Jul 9 (DN) The 12 officers of the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB), who were arrested on drug trafficking charges, were ordered to be remanded till July 21 by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayarathne. When the case was taken up before the court, Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appearing on behalf of the AG’s Dept informed the Magistrate that another five PNB officers and three civilians have been held by the CID more..

Video: 298 Sri Lankans repatriated from UAE

Jul 9 (AD) 298 Sri Lankans who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates due to COVID-19 induced travel restrictions have been repatriated. The group were flown back to Sri Lanka from Dubai on a special SriLankan Airlines flight, which landed at the Mattala International Airport this morning. The group included 13 young children. The Lankans had been employed in the UAE. All passengers were subjected to PCR tests upon their arrival at the airport. more..

CB should appoint Ombudsman: Wimal W.

Jul 9 (CT) The Central Bank should appoint an Ombudsman to hear and address the issues of entrepreneurs who have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide a facility to get the working capital loans at four per cent concessionary interest rates, said Minister Wimal Weerawansa. The Central Bank has allocated Rs 150 billion to provide the loans. He was speaking at the launch of a report on the impact of COVID-19 on small and medium-sized businesses in Colombo recently. more..

Sri Lanka slashes key interest rates to aid virus-hit economy

Jul 9 (EN) Sri Lanka has slashed policy rate 100 basis points bringing the rate at which money is injected to the banking system at 5.5% and the rate at which excess money is withdrawn to 4.5%. “The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted near term growth prospects globally, while available indicators for SL also suggest that economic growth is likely to have been severely affected during 2nd quarter of 2020,” more..

PM tells Indian counterpart: ’Unable to lease out Mattala Airport’

Jul 9 (DM) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said he ruled out the possibility of leasing out the Mattala International Airport to India when he visited Indian PM Narendra Modi earlier. He said this while addressing a recent election rally. “The Mattala Airport is located in my home district. I cannot lease it out. I told this to the Indian PM when I met him,” he said. The airport was constructed during the 2010/2015 govt, led by Mr. Rajapaksa when he was the Prez, with US$ 210 million Chinese loan. more..

TNA needs at least 20 seats to make meaningful representation

Jul 9 (Island) Former TNA MP S. Sritharan said the ITAK-led grouping needed at least 20 seats in the next Parliament to represent the Tamil community in a meaningful way. The TNA contests Northern and Eastern electoral districts. The ex-lawmaker was addressing a public gathering in Kilinochchi. The TNA parliamentary group in the last parliament had 16 members; two of them later distanced themselves from the group. Denying allegations that the TNA hadn’t served the northern masses, more..