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Rs 2,000 fine for lane law violators

Sep 17 (CT) Police will impose a Rs 2,000 fine on motorists who violate the Traffic Lane Law, with effect from 21 Sept. Offenders are given time to adhere to the new system till tomorrow and then Police will take legal action against motorists who violate the law and even produce them in Courts under the traffic law, said DIG W.S. Nissanka. There was a couple of cases reported yesterday, adding however, that no one was fined, but were advised to follow the rules. more..

Sri Lanka vehicle registrations plunge 45% in August after import controls

Sep 17 (EN) SL’s vehicles registrations fell 45% to 17,493 in Sept 2020 from a year earlier with motorbikes falling to 13,794 units and three wheelers down to 206 units, after import controls were imposed. Motor car registrations fell to 906 units from 2,385 a month earlier, SUVs and crossovers fell to 511 from 635 data showed. SL slapped severe import controls after money printing in March and April de-stablized the country’s soft-peg with the US dollar, leading to a surge in credit. more..

Video: Govt Printer to print passports and govt confidential documents

Sep 17 (AD) The govt has decided to print passports and confidential documents of the govt through the Department of Govt Printing. It was noted at the meeting of Cabinet Ministers that passports and other govt documents are currently printed by foreign printing companies. However, printing such documents by the Govt Press will retain the foreign exchange outflow within the country, it has been pointed out. Accordingly, the Minister of Mass Media and Information presented more..

PCoI on Easter attacks warns Harin over impulsive behavior

Sep 17 (AD) PCoI probing the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks warned MP Harin Fernando over the impulsive behavior displayed during his testimony at the commission. Former Minster appeared before the Commission yesterday, to testify regarding the statement he made to the media that his father had pre-warned him of the Easter attacks. Testifying at the Commission, Fernando said that his sister had called him when the first series of attacks happened on Easter Sunday last year, more..

PM presented with report on 46 children incarcerated with their mothers

Sep 17 (Island) State Minister Sudharshani Fernandopulle yesterday handed over a report to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa about 46 children who are growing up with their mothers serving jail terms. The report was handed during an event to mark the Prisoner Welfare Day. Rajapaksa then instructed Fernandopulle to investigate the possibility of those mothers being released from prisons under existing laws. The PM also asked the minister to formulate a system to rehabilitate drug addicts. more..

President takes ownership of the 20th Amendment: Keheliya

Sep 17 (AD) Prez Rajapaksa is the main initiator of the controversial 20th Amendment which is now backed by the entire Cabinet of Ministers the govt said today. Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Prez took the main initiative for the draft of the 20A which was Gazetted last week “for which the cabinet takes collective responsibility.” Statement comes after the Opposition Parties and Civil Society activists decrying the rolling back of democratic reforms introduced more..

No oil leaks so far from New Diamond supertanker: Sri Lanka officials

Sep 17 (EN) No oil leaks have been detected so far from the MT New Diamond supertanker which caught fire last week in the seas off eastern SL, officials said. Deputy General Manager of Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Jagath Gunesekara said, however, that Sri Lanka will continue to pursue legal action against the tanker’s owners. CID is carrying out investigations into the incident and statements from the ship’s crew are currently being recoded, he said. more..

Video: Vijayakala appears before PCoI on political victimization

Sep 17 (AD) Former Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran has arrived at the PCoI on political victimization. She had been issued summons to appear before the Commission at 10 am today. This is regarding a complaint lodged against her in connection with a case of an LTTE cadre being killed while escaping police arrest after being caught for a gold robbery. Reportedly, the arrestee had run away from Chavakachcheri Police officers while being handcuffed and jumped into a nearby lake in the escape attempt. more..

Shani Abeysekara and two others further remanded

Sep 17 (AD) Former Director of the CID SSP Shani Abeysekara and two others, arrested for allegedly fabricating evidence in a case, have been further remanded until Oct 2 by the Gampaha Magistrate’s Court. In 2013, eight suspects including the former Police DIG Vaas Gunawardena, his wife, and son were placed under arrest after they were identified as suspects in the murder of businessman Mohamed Siyam. Later, probes were also carried out into Gunawardena’s alleged illegal possession of weapons. more..

Video: Cabinet approval to increase minimum legal working age

Sep 17 (AD) Cabinet has approved the amendment of relevant labour laws to enable the increase of the minimum age of engagement in service up to 16 years. This is in terms of the legal provisions applicable to labours to suit the legal provisions describing the compulsory age of schooling as 16 years. Approval has been granted at Cabinet meeting held on the 10th of June 2020. Accordingly, Legal Draftsman has formulated the drafted laws for the amendment of following acts and regulations: more..

Former Director SIS dismisses claim made by ex-president Sirisena in talk show

Sep 17 (Island) Former Director of State Intelligence Service SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena told the PCoI that he couldn’t accept claims made by former President Maithripala Sirisena that prior to Easter Sunday attacks intelligence agencies had described NTJ leader Zahran Hashim only as an extremist, but not as a terrorist. Jayawardena made this statement when Shamil Perera, the counsel appearing for Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith played a video clip featuring Sirisena. more..

Media freedom will be threatened by proposed 20th Amendment: FMM

Sep 17 (EN) Free Media Movement (FMM) is expressing deep concern about the impending threat to the freedom of expression by the proposed 20th Amendment, a statement from the watchdog group said. FMM said that the proposal “removes democratic features and structures introduced in the 19th Amendment.” “The Independent Commissions have been placed in a position that they are no longer independent.” This is because the members of these commissions are directly appointed by the Prez and more..

Video: President discusses creating a sports culture for healthy, disciplined society

Sep 17 (AD) Prez Rajapaksa emphasized that it is an imperative of the era to establish a sports culture in order to form a healthy, disciplined and an athletic society in the country. Stating that sport is the youth’s language, Prez noted that directing a child simultaneously towards both education and sports will raise a balanced individual for the society. Prez stated that Ministries of Education, Youth Affairs and Sports have a massive responsibility with this regard, more..

There is room for another person to become the leader of UNP other than myself: Ruwan

Sep 17 (DM) There is room for anyone in the UNP to become the party leader in the future other than myself, UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene said. Mr. Wijewardene who was speaking to journalists after engaging in religious observances at the Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara on Tuesday said UNP is not a private property of anyone. “Present Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has not promised me the leadership. He has told us that the current Deputy Leader does not necessarily have to become the leader more..

12 Sri Lankans arrested for attempting to travel on forged visa

Sep 17 (AD) Twelve Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) while attempting to travel on forged visa. According to the Police, the arrestees had planned to leave for Canada via Doha, Qatar. The arrest has been made by the BIA Unit of the CID at around 1.30 am last morning (16). Among the arrestees are 07 males and 05 females from Kiribathgoda, Pamunugama, Kegalle, Mawanella, Polgahawela, Alawathugoda, Nugegoda, and Piliyandala areas. more..

Karu takes over late Ven. Sobitha’s outfit, Sajith vows to scuttle 20A

Sep 17 (Island) Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, in his new capacity as the Chairman and Convenor of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) today will unveil his campaign against the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution. A spokesperson for NMSJ said that former Speaker recently accepted their invitation to take over the movement formed by the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera. The official said that Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya, who succeeded Ven. Sobitha more..

Acting Magistrate requested to recall warrants issued on Ambassador Wickramasuriya, sureties

Sep 17 (DN) President’s Counsel Shavendra Fernando yesterday requested Colombo Fort Acting Magistrate Shalini Perera to recall the warrants issued on Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya and the two sureties. SL’s former Ambassador to the United States Wickramasuriya has been charged with criminal misappropriation of USD 330,000 out of USD 6.6 million allocated for purchasing a building for the SL Embassy in the United States. more..

Drug rehabilitation process to resume, capacity to be increased

Sep 17 (DM) The Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation said they hoped to resume the rehabilitation process, especially for those addicted to drugs, which was temporarily suspended due to spread of COVID-19. Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj. Gen. Darshana Hettiarachchi said bureau’s objective was to increase the rehabilitation capacity in the country by the end of this year. Currently, the capacity at rehabilitation is at 1,000 and planning to increase it to 5,000. more..

JVP press conference

20th Amendment move to remove audit of first and second citizens of the country

Sep 17 (FT) The proposed 20th Amendment has ignited many viewpoints in society, at the moment. In particular, it is said that the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution seeks to remove the auditing of accounts pertaining to the office of the Prez, first citizen and that of the PM, second citizen of the country. In this backdrop where there is a live debate on the subject of audit of Govt accounts, an interesting incident, which I remember well, and pertains to the scope of audit, comes to my mind. more..

Uda Walawe’s iconic elephant Rambo to be translocated?

Sep 17 (FT) There is reliable information coming through that the iconic elephant of Uda Walawe, Rambo, may be captured and translocated to a holding ground (which is effectively an elephant prison) by the Dept of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). This will in effect be signing a death warrant for this famous elephant. Many wildlife enthusiasts and tourists who travel around the country are familiar with Rambo at Uda Walawe National Park who has developed a close interaction with people over the years. more..

Ex-SIS Chief defends his decision to record conversations with his superiors

Sep 17 (Island) Given that some of his superiors had tried to shift the blame on Easter Sunday attacks to the SIS, he saw nothing unethical about recording conversations he had with his superiors after the tragedy to protect the reputation of his institution, former SIS Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena told the PCoI. He made this statement when Shamil Perera, the counsel appearing for Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith asked more..

Catholic Church probably had prior info on bombings: Harin

Sep 17 (DM) There was a probability that the Catholic Church also knew about the prior warning which was sent, about the coordinated terror attacks which occurred on Easter Sunday, former minister Harin Fernando informed PCoI. He made the following statement in response to a question raised by the representative from the AG's department. Mr. Fernando said, traditionally the Archbishop conducts a main Easter mass but on Apr 21, 2019 there was no such mass conducted by him. more..

First quarter unemployment rate highest at 5.7%

Sep 17 (CT) SL’s quarterly unemployment rate hit its highest figure of 5.7% at the end of the first quarter (1Q) of this year since the Census and Statistics Dept started publishing such quarterly data beginning from the second quarter (2Q) of 2011, CSD statistics released yesterday (16) showed. Further, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) hit an eight year low of 51% in the 1Q of 2020, where a figure lower than this was last seen in the fourth quarter (4Q) of 2012 with a figure of 48.1%. more..

Blacklisted terrorists and terror orgs: Large number de-listed: Fmr Defence Secy

Sep 17 (CT) A large number of individuals and organisations, gazetted as terrorists in 2014, have been removed from the 2015 Gazette, including two terrorists whose names were removed due to the influence of former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, said former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, B.M.U.D. Basnayake. Testifying before the PCoI, Basnayake said Samaraweera, having called then Chief of National Intel more..

Video: Twenty arrested in party at Dampe with drugs

Sep 17 (AD) Excise Unit of Kesbewa has raided a party involving drugs held at the Dampe area. A group of 20 individuals have been arrested in the raid, stated the Excise Unit. Reportedly, 15 males and 5 females have been arrested in this manner. Over 15 grams of heroin has been found on the arrested suspects. Meanwhile, a fake monk has been arrested in the Neluwa area for the possession of Kerala Cannabis. Interrogation of the suspect has led to the arrest of 2 other persons, more..

Otters Club to be upgraded as a modern sports venue

Sep 17 (DN) Otter Aquatic Club Baudhaloka Mawatha in Colombo 7 would not be relocated but would be re developed as one of the best sports venues in Sri Lanka. An official from the UDA said that the club which has been ordered to vacate its current premises in Colombo-7 due to the failure to pay taxes would be refurbished and added with modern sports facilities. UDA is planning to build a multi-storied sports and recreation complex on top of the current car park. more..

President wants 100,000 km of rural roads developed by 2024

Sep 17 (FT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has directed officials to complete construction of 100,000 km of rural roads and connect them with the main road network by 2024. The directive was given at a meeting held to review future activities of the State Ministry of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Facilities on Tuesday. Prez stressed that the construction of 100,000 km of rural roads needs to adhere environmental guidelines. more..

Int'l tourist numbers down 65%: Tourist arrivals to SL dropped by 60% in 1H’20

Sep 17 (CT) The total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka for the period of Jan to Aug 2020 has declined by 60% when compared with the tourist arrivals for the same period last year (2019). As per the latest Monthly Tourists Arrival Report (August) issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) total arrivals recorded from Jan to Aug 2019 was 1,267,737. Sri Lanka suspended tourist arrivals from all countries from 18 March 2020 to contain COVID-19. more..

Sri Lankan cuisine showcased at Lulu Food Festival, Bahrain

Sep 17 (Island) Lulu Hypermarket Bahrain,biggest regional hypermarket chain had organized the Lulu Food Festival under the theme Food is Good over the weekends of Aug to Sept 2020. Cuisines of a dozen countries had been showcased at the food festival, being the first ever promotional event that involved many countries. SL’s rich culinary heritage was also honoured in a special Sri Lankan Food Week titled Taste of Sri Lanka 10–12 Sept at Lulu Hypermarket in Dana Mall & Juffair Mall more..

Govt trying to restore 165 MW Kelanitissa combined cycle power plant

Sep 17 (Island) The govt will act fast to repair the much needed 165MW from the Kelanitissa Combined Cycle Power Plant and connect it to the national grid, Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma has assured. Following his visit to the Plant, on Tuesday, Alahapperuma instructed engineers and technical experts to restore its power generation within the next few weeks. Minister also stressed that he would request Indian govt more..

Expolanka responds to unusual trading activity

Sep 17 (AD) Expolanka Holdings, a global diversified conglomerate rooted in SL explained about the unusual trading activity in the securities of the company, to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) today (16). In a letter to Nilupa Perera, Head of Trading Operations, Market Surveillance & Corporate Affairs- CSE, Group Director-Finance of Expolanka Holdings, Mushtaq Ahamed confirmed that there is no undisclosed price- sensitivity information in relation to Expolanka Holdings more..

Ceylon tea risks losing Iranian market to India

Sep 17 (DM) Ceylon tea risks losing Iranian market permanently as India makes significant gains in tea exports to Iran despite US imposed unilateral sanctions, a senior industry official warned. Ceylon tea exports to Iran last year declined to 22,263 MT compared to approximately 35,000 MT of exports prior to sanctions. Iran, which was the second largest buyer of Ceylon tea, has now fallen to the fourth position. Meanwhile, Iran became the largest buyer of Indian tea replacing Russia last year more..

SL economy to shrink 5.5% this year: ADB

Sep 17 (DM) SL’s output will contract by 5.5% in 2020 before recovering to 4.1% growth in 2021 as the country is recovering from the heavy economic toll caused by the pandemic on the livelihoods and businesses, according to Asia Development Bank (ADB). In their periodic assessment of the economies in Developing Asia—Asian Development Outlook (ADO)—, the ADB had given a less dour outlook for SL for 2020 more..

SJB unlikely to reunite with UNP: Mayantha

Sep 17 (CT) Although the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) has no grudges with the UNP, due to anti-democratic actions aimed at gaining power by the UNP leadership, the SJB is unlikely to reunite with the UNP anytime soon, Parliamentarian Mayantha Dissanayake said. Addressing a Media briefing in Colombo yesterday (16), he also stated that, if the UNP leadership changes and the UNP expresses willingness to join the SJB, the SJB might take such a request into consideration. more..

People’s Bank clinches prestigious Best in Sri Lanka award for 2019 Annual Report

Sep 17 (FT) Int'l ARC Awards in New York, USA - considered the Academy Awards for annual reports by the financial community - recently awarded People’s Bank the prestigious Best in Sri Lanka award for its 2019 Annual Report titled the Frontier. In addition, the Bank was the recipient of a grand haul of other awards, which included: Gold for Non-Traditional Annual Report; Gold for Chair/Prez’s Letter; and 3 Silvers for Cover Photo/Design, Interior Design & Printing and Production. more..