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Decision should have come without external pressure: Prof De Silva

Feb 27 (CT) The cremation or burial of those who succumbed to COVID-19 should have been dealt with, without waiting for external pressure to do so, Emeritus Prof of Pediatrics, Harendra de Silva said. Prof. de Silva, when contacted for comment, said he was not particularly happy with the fact that external pressure had forced the Govt to permit the burial of COVID-19 victims. According to WHO guidelines, more..

Sisu Seriya school bus service for O/L students: NTC DG

Feb 27 (DM) National Transport Commission (NTC) advised all buses that transport school children under Sisu Seriya to provide service during GCE O/L exam. The O/L exam will commence on March 1 and will last for nine days. NTC Director General Commander Nilan Miranda told the Daily Mirror that Sisu Seriya buses have been advised to operate even if there are one or two students who travel to exam centres. Earlier, the bus service was set to transport school children only, but more..

Vaccination program moving forward in systematic manner: President

Feb 27 (AD) Prez Rajapaksa says the COVID-19 inoculation program is moving forward in a systematic manner. His remarks came during the Gama Samaga Pilisandaa programme at Kivulekada area in Trincomalee today. The President also noted that SL has largely controlled the spread of novel coronavirus in comparison to other countries in the world. Ministry of Health on Friday (26) announced that all people aged 30 years and above in Grama Niladhari Divisions of Colombo & Gampaha more..

Sri Lanka joins global drive to increase childhood cancer survival rate

Feb 27 (ST) Some of the little ones in the play area are oblivious to the agony that their parents are going through. From all over the country, these children have been diagnosed with cancer and are awaiting the results of COVID-19 testing before being taken to the Paediatric Ward of the National Cancer Institute SL (NCISL) also known as Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama. As the world celebrated International Childhood Cancer Day on more..

SJB working committee to appoint legal experts to carry out a study on PCoI report

Feb 27 (DM) The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) working committee decided to appoint a committee of legal experts to carry out a broad study on the report of the Presidential Commission which probed the Easter Sunday attacks, Party Leader and Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa said yesterday. Mr. Premadasa who spoke to journalists after the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) working committee meeting yesterday said his party will appoint a team of legal experts to study the report. more..

China MCC in talks with Sri Lanka over US$310mn mineral sand venture

Feb 27 (EN) China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) is in talks with Sri Lanka over a US$ 310 million mineral sand project, SL’s embassy in Beijing said. Wang Zhou, Managing Director, China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) International and MCC Sri Lanka had met Ambassador Palitha Kohona for talks on Feb 26. The mineral sands project could be worth US$ 310 million, the embassy said, without elaborating. Sri Lanka has several sea sand deposits in the Northwest of the island more..

Vaccination program at 19 GN Divisions in Colombo District today

Feb 27 (AD) People aged 30 years and above from 19 Grama Niladhari Divisions in Colombo District are expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 today, as per a recent decision taken by the Ministry of Health. Among the Grama Niladhari Divisions identified as high-risk areas for novel coronavirus are Modara, Bloemendhal, Kotahena, Lunupokuna, Grandpass, Keselawatte and Jinthupitiya, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni, more..

44 nursing students pledges for committed profession completing their course of study

Feb 27 (SLN) The capping ceremony and pledging of allegiance to the service by 44 Naval and Air Force nursing students who studied at Naval Nurses’ Training School, SLNS Thakshila was held under the patronage of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, at the Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake Auditorium, SLNS Parakrama today (25). This batch of nursing students from both Navy and Air Force was enlisted in the year 2019 to the Naval Nurses’ more..

Truth, in the face of cremation

Feb 27 (FT) Sri Lanka’s expected fallout with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva is serious. The Government is looking for a scapegoat to blame the fallout on someone, and this year it is likely to be blamed on the Muslims because of the cremation controversy. Govt could sail through the next two years with this rhetoric, making the man on the street forget the other issues that weigh him down. It is expected that the Organisation of Islamic Countries more..

Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero

Take human rights seriously, not so much the Office or the High Commissioner

Feb 27 (FT) The 46th Session of the UNHRC started on 22 February morning with obvious hiccups. The Office, to mean the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, finally decided to hold all sessions virtually online, only the President of the Council and assistants at the high table sitting at the UN Assembly Hall in Geneva. The President, Nazhat Shammen Khan, Ambassador from Fiji in Geneva, wearing a saree, was graceful in the chair with empty seats surrounding. more..

Navy rescues fishermen aboard stranded dinghy at sea

Feb 27 (SLN) SL Navy, with the facilitation of Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC Colombo) stationed at Navy Headquarters, leapt into action today to rescue 02 fishermen aboard a dinghy that was swept away to the Indian waters. The dinghy that had ventured out for fishing practice from South Bar, Mannar was in distress due to a technical failure. In response to a request for assistance by the Dept of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, SL Navy was pressed into action to locate more..

SLFP: PCoI has exceeded its mandate and failed to address critical issues

Feb 27 (Island) Prez Maithripala Sirisena appointed the PCoI on Easter Sunday Attacks to identify local and int'l forces behind the attacks, establish the motives of those groups and to punish those who were directly and indirectly responsible for the attacks, but those issues had not been addressed by the PCoI’s final report, SLFP said. SLFP General Secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekera said that party’s Executive Committee more..

Easter Sunday attacks have been staged in retaliation: PCoI report

Feb 27 (DM) Easter Sunday attacks have been staged in retaliation for the attack on the Mosque in Christchurch NZ and the attacks on ISIS in Syria, the report of the PCoI which probed the attack had revealed. The report which was tabled in Parliament on Thursday had revealed that Zaharan had proposed that his group should retaliate for the attacks in the Christchurch mosque and the attacks on ISIS in Syria. Zahran had made this proposal during the discussion he had with more..

Dubai haven for majority of Lankan fugitives with INTERPOL red notices

Feb 27 (Island) Police had obtained INTERPOL Red Notices against 24 drug traffickers hiding overseas, DIG Ajith Rohana said. In addition, INTERPOL blue notices had been issued for 87 wanted criminals who were currently residing overseas. The DIG said a majority of the suspects were reported to be hiding in Dubai, in the UAE, while some were in neighbouring India and European countries. The country’s law enforcement agencies had seized over 1,610 kilos of heroin in 2020 alone, more..

UNHRC 46th Session: Vote on Sri Lanka likely to be taken soon

Feb 27 (CT) The vote on the resolution on SL at the UNHRC is likely to be taken up earlier than the expected date, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena speculated. He also said, it is still not scheduled since the sessions are held virtually and the text of the resolution has not yet been agreed upon. Minister said, 21 countries have spoken in favour of Sri Lanka at the UNHRC so far, and that is an achievement. more..

State Vesak festival in Jaffna

Feb 27 (CT) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued instructions to celebrate this year’s State Vesak festival at the Nagadeepa Rajamaha Viharaya in Jaffna. Hindu, Christian & Muslim Affairs Departments, under the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, will collaborate for this event. PM Rajapaksa has informed Prof. Kapila Gunawardena, Secretary of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs, to organise the festival, connecting 65 temples and more..

AIIB approves USD 180 mn loan to Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (DM) The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved Sri Lanka's request for USD 180 million loan for the Covid-19 emergency and crisis response facility to be disbursed through the Bank of Ceylon (USD 90 million) and People's Bank (USD 90 million). The loan application was submitted in 2019. Dr. Kohona met the President of the AIIB (Mr. Jin Liqun) on 1st February 2021 to discuss this loan and other funding matters. SL Ambassador to China, Dr. Palitha Kohona more..

Video: PCoI recommends social media, Madrasas & Arabic colleges regulation

Feb 27 (AD) The final report on Easter Sunday attacks compiled by the PCoI has suggested multiple recommendations on extremist organizations and individuals involved in causing ethnic and religious conflict in the country. It has called for a complete ban on the Wahhabi ideology and organizations that subscribe to it and closer monitoring of Madrasas and Arabic schools as well. PCoI’s final report concluded that more..

Sri Lanka turns hotels in Colombo into Coronavirus hospitals

Feb 27 (EN) SL’s Nawaloka Hospitals said it had teamed up with two hotels in the capital Colombo to build intermediate care centres for Coronavirus confirmed patients. The treatment centres are at Mt. Lavinia Hotel Colombo and Mirage Hotel Colombo to manage patients approved to seek private medical treatment by the Ministry of Health. “The centres are exclusively for asymptomatic patients, who prefer an uninterrupted period of treatment and quarantine at a comfortable and safe facility,” more..

SJB welcomes govt decision to allow burials of coronavirus victims

Feb 27 (Island) SJB appreciates the govt’s decision to allow the burial of those who died of coronavirus, SJB National Organiser, Tissa Attanayake said. Attanayake said that it was unfortunate that the govt had to wait this long to make the decision. “SJB always insisted that there was no need to keep on cremating bodies without any scientific evidence. Maybe initially the govt, like everyone else, was figuring things out but a few months later it became obvious that allowing burials would be okay. more..

In Geneva, India signals to Sri Lanka that support in UNHRC is not a given

Feb 27 (TW) Indicating that New Delhi has kept all options open, India has signalled to SL that its support for the country at the UNHRC should not be taken for granted. In Geneva, the UNHRC is holding its 46th regular session, which will decide the fate of a critical resolution against SL. The first draft (also confusingly termed the zero draft) was circulated earlier this week. The vote will take place in the last couple of days of the session, more..

CEB introduces innovative solutions as online services

Feb 27 (TM) Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) officially launched its online services to the nation along with other services created to support consumers and accelerate the CEB’s activities, on Wednesday (24) at the CEB Headquarters. These latest additions to the CEB’s services were innovative solutions in response to recurring consumer challenges and a step forward in the path of utilising advancing technological opportunities. The CEB has extended its service channels in this regard. more..

BOC wins Top Ten Most Admired Companies in Sri Lanka award

Feb 27 (CT) Bank of Ceylon was selected as one of the Top Ten Most Admired Companies in SL 2020. The Bank won the Award for the second consecutive year for its excellence in Banking and Finance in SL and for its contribution to the overall economic growth of the country. With over 81 years of service to the Nation, Bank of Ceylon is said to be the highest profit- earning single business entity in the banking industry of SL. BOC takes greater responsibility in every possible way to assist more..

Burial Issue: We are now relieved: SLMC

Feb 27 (DM) SLMC said that it is relieved that the Govt after a prolonged vacillation has finally restored the constitutionally protected fundamental, the right for burial of COVID-19 victims and suspected victims. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said, “In this regard it is quite obvious that if not for the inclusion of this matter in the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the subsequent inclusion of the matter in more..

SJB to become a green party from March 03

Feb 27 (Island) Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa said that starting from March 3, his party would be converted into a green party. Addressing a Working Committee meeting at the party hq at Pitakotte yesterday, the Opposition Leader said that the SJB would be turned into an environmentally friendly political entity. No common candidates would be backed hereafter and a programme would be introduced to strengthen the party’s vote base, Premadasa said, adding that there were more..

Dinethya shocks seniors to book semi-final place

Feb 27 (Island) 15-year-old Dinethya Dharmarathne turned tables on Oneli Perera and Vonara de Alwis to secure a place in the women’s singles semi-finals of the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Thursday. The Visakha Vidyalaya player beat Vonara de Alwis 7-5, 6-3 in the quarter-final yesterday after turning tables on Oneli Perera, the Under-18 champion of the recently concluded Colombo Championships. In the third round, Dharmarathne overcame a first set defeat to more..

COVID-19 vaccination: Priority list discarded; controversy as over-60s are turned away

Feb 27 (ST) The current COVID-19 public vaccination programme is mired in controversy and confusion after the health authorities arbitrarily discarded the priority list. With a major deviation from the planned list which is based on international practices taking into account the high-risk groups, the Health Services Director-General, in a damage control move, on Friday instructed that the over-60s who had been excluded be included. more..

Sri Lanka allows 80% financing of used cars amid import controls

Feb 27 (EN) SL has raised a ceiling on loan to value ratios allowing non-bank finance companies to provide a higher share of credit for older used cars as import controls imposed amid money printing. The central bank in a direction to non-bank lenders said finance companies would be allowed to loan up to “80% in respect of registered vehicles which would have been used in Sri Lanka for more than one year after first registration.” In April 2020, the central bank which regulates CB said more..

End silo approach to marine research, scientist urges

Feb 27 (ST) It is to Sri Lanka’s credit that there are so many bodies engaged in ocean science research but it is vital that data is pooled so that the country can learn how to use marine resources without destroying them, a leading scientist said. Professor Charitha Pattiaratchi’s call comes at the start of the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-31), aimed at raising awareness of the challenges and opportunities provided by the oceans. more..

Pramodya to join SL team in Caribbean

Feb 27 (CT) National Selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe will leave the island today to join the Sri Lanka cricket team in Antigua. Ceylon Today learns the Aravinda de Silva led Cricket Committee had advised Wickramasinghe to join the team immediately. The 1996 World Cup winning pacey is also expected to fill the gap of his former bowling partner Chaminda Vaas, who resigned from SLC on the eve of the team’s departure. more..

Ornamental Fish Industry to be upgraded

Feb 27 (TM) SL Govt has introduced low interest loan schemes and other financial support, training, and technical assistance for beginners as well as for the people already involved in the Ornamental Fish industry. State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, addressing the third international ornamental fish trade and technical virtual conference said that the Export Development Board of SL has created a platform to facilitate ornamental fish through the participation of SL producers and exporters more..

SLC major Club Cricket Tournament: SSC and Lankan CC enter final

Feb 27 (CT) SSC and Lankan CC entered the final of SLC’s Major Club Youth U-23 Cricket Tournament on 26 Feb. SSC beat Baduraliya CC by 10 wickets and Lankan CC beat Colts CC by 3 wickets in the semi-finals at NCC and P. Sara Oval respectively. The tournament was conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) with the participation of 26 teams. SSC, Baduraliya CC, Colts CC and Lankan CC advanced to the semi-finals as group champions of the respective group. more..

Maithri-Ranil discuss Easter Commission Report over dinner hosted by PM

Feb 27 (CT) The final report of the PCoI into Easter Sunday bombings appointed by former Prez Sirisena was handed over to Prez Rajapaksa two weeks ago. At the Cabinet meeting of that week, the Prez said the report was controversial and it could cause some problems in implementing its recommendations. However, they will have to be implemented and the report will be submitted to the Cabinet as soon as possible, he said. more..

Editorial: Govt in a spot

Feb 27 (Island) The rejection by the SLFP of the final report of the PCoI, which probed the Easter Sunday carnage, has come as no surprise. It could not have done otherwise; its leader and former Prez Sirisena is among those the PCoI has held responsible for the serious lapses that made the terror attacks possible. However, if the SLFP thinks it can defend its leader simply by rejecting the commission report, it is mistaken. AG Dappula de Livera will decide whether to institute more..

Cardinal Ranjith, the godsend!

Feb 27 (Island) Popularity of Pohottuwa is plummeting due to scoring own goals! Indecision seems to reign supreme and even minor problems are allowed to develop into major issues; the denial of burial of Covid-19 victims being the best example. One would have expected the elected Opposition to capitalise on this unexpected bonus but it seems to be behaving like a headless chicken. Sajith continues to provide more entertainment than substance in his speeches. more..