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FB tightens noose on misinformation in SL

Jul 7 (DM) Facebook has tightened the noose on misinformation in Sri Lanka which includes bringing on dedicated SL policy and programs managers to engage with local stakeholders. Facebook Sri Lanka Team said that Facebook has deployed Sinhala-language hate speech technology that helps them proactively detect potentially violating content. Facebook has also introduced changes to its platform architecture in more..

Bogollagama jumps again citing principles

Jul 7 (Island) Rohitha Bogollagama has resigned from the UNP by tendering his letter of resignation yesterday. Letter said: I wish to take this opportunity to place on record my sincere appreciation for the co-operation extended to me during my political association with you. Currently having said that the time has come for me to view the immense pressure and the challenges that are surfacing in the Political Landscape of SL, which I have now studied in great depth and with keen interest. more..

Video: Over 170 inmates undergo PCR tests

Jul 7 (DM) At least 174 inmates out of 250 personnel identified as contacts of the COVID-19 patient detected from the Welikada Prison have been subjected to PCR tests. PCR tests on the 174 inmates detained at the Ward - I at the Welikada Prison where the Covid-19 infected inmate was found have been conducted within the prison premises today. PCR tests on the rest of the personnel who are prisons officers will be carried out later on. more..

Govt’s debts have ballooned by Rs. 1,000 bn in first 4 months of the year: Harsha

Jul 7 (EN) Former MP Harsha de Silva is saying that govt’s debt had increased by Rs 1000 bn within the first four months of 2020. Former Minister said that the latest weekly report by the Central Bank indicates that the total outstanding central govt debt has increased from Rs 13,031.5 bn to Rs 14,024.7 bn during the first four months of 2020. SJB candidate said when in Opposition the SLPP criticized the previous govt for more..

More Sri Lankans return from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Philippines

Jul 7 (AD) Three more batches of Sri Lankans who are stranded in foreign countries due to the COVID-19 global pandemic returned to the country from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Philippines. A SriLankan Airlines charter flight brought down 275 Sri Lankans from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia at around 7.10 am this morning. Another 05 Sri Lankan sailors who had been employed at Qatari ships returned to the island early this morning. They arrived at the BIA at 1.45 am on a flight of Qatar Airways. more..

Faulty PCR reports issued by external research labs could jeopardise...

Jul 7 (EN) Faulty PCR test reports issued by external research laboratories that don’t come under the purview of the Ministry of Health could jeopardise SL’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Medical Laboratory Science SL (CMLS-SL) warned. CMLS-SL President Ravi Kumudesh said that research laboratories belonging to the country’s universities being used for PCR tests as opposed to ministry-affiliated diagnostic laboratories which are more..

'Intelligence agencies should act on technical intelligence'

Jul 7 (CT) It is timely for SL Intelligence Agencies to act on technical intelligence rather than on human intelligence, former Acting Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS), Deputy DIG Mohamed Hafeez Marso said. He gave evidence before the PCoI probing the bombings on Easter Sunday. He said Intelligence Agencies in the UK recently had been able to arrest an extremist Muslim woman who had planned to carry out a suicide bombing more..

Welikada Prison off limits for visitors until further notice

Jul 7 (AD) Welikada Prison in Colombo has been closed off for visitors until further notice. The move came after an inmate of the prison tested positive for the COVID-19 virus this morning. The Director-General of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said this inmate was transferred to the Welikada Prison from the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre – East in Kandakadu on June 27. Officers and other inmates of the prison have been subjected to PCR testing and the quarantine procedure. more..

’Who is the real cat’s paw of communalistic political parties?’

Jul 7 (DM) One should go in front of the mirror and find out as to who is really the cat’s paw of communalistic political parties, SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa said yesterday. Mr. Premadasa came out with this remark in response to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa who said on Sunday that SJB was a cat’s paw of communalistic political parties. “SLPP has been disturbed by my campaign in the North. One must understand that one cannot safeguard a nation through communalism & religious sentiments. more..

Parliamentary Elections: Candidates from the same party fight each other

Jul 7 (EN) SL’s electoral system and its method of choosing the final winning candidates through the preferential system leads to some unique situations – and one of them is that candidates from the same party will be firing shots at each other. Over the weekend there has been hectic politicking and campaigning with Prez Rajapaksa stumping in Polonnaruwa. In Gampaha, however, the newsmaker has been Prasanna Ranatunga more..

MEPA to monitor ship-generated waste facilities

Jul 7 (AD) Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to inspect Ship Generated Waste (SGW) reception facilities in the country from today (07), stated the Ministry of Defense. MEPA will be joined by SL Navy, SL coast Guards, Central Environmental Authority, SL Customs, SL Ports Authority and the Police in the task. The MEPA has launched this special program under the directives of Prez Rajapaksa and with the support of Defense Secretary Maj Gen (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne. more..

AG returns more incomplete probe files

Jul 7 (TM) Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera has returned 38 more incomplete investigation files to the Act. IGP on suspects arrested over Easter attacks, Coordinating officer to AG State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne stated. This is in addition to the 40 incomplete files returned on 26th June. AG has also observed that legal action could not be taken based on the files returned. AG has requested the Act. IGP to complete investigations and hand over completed files to AG as soon as possible. more..

'Ranjan’s statement gross insult to Judiciary'

Jul 7 (CT) Former MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s statement to several TV channels, which broadcast around the world, from Temple Trees, the official residence of the PM of the country, while serving as a State Minister, that 95% of the judges are corrupt, which he continued to reiterate in the Supreme Court, was the kind of statement that is unheard of anywhere else in the world and is utterly insulting to the country’s Judiciary, more..

Active Covid-19 cases down to 112 with new recoveries

Jul 7 (AD) Ministry of Health says 38 more individuals, who had tested positive for the COVID-19, recovered from the disease today. According to the situation report issued by the Epidemiology Unit, the latest recoveries are reported from the IDH (4), Welikanda Base Hospital (2), Iranawila Hospital (1), Kattankudy Base Hospital (9), Homagama Base Hospital (21) and Minuwangoda Base Hospital (1). These health improvements have brought SL’s total count of recoveries to 1,955. more..

Prabhakaran the only leader of Tamils: Sivajilingam

Jul 7 (CT) Former TNA MP and member of the Northern Provincial Council, M.K. Sivajilingam said the only national leader of the Tamil community is LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. He further said all groups including dead LTTE cadres would be continuously commemorated. Sivajilingam who was arrested in Valvettithurai was released on bail. Meanwhile, he said, “I would like to add something more. The LTTE fought for the freedom of the Tamil people and for a Tamil Eelam. more..

Ranil promises one year grace period to settle unpaid water and electricity bills

Jul 7 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said a UNP govt will grant a one-year grace period for paying water and electricity bills and repaying the loans taken under the Enterprise SL programme. Addressing a UNP rally held at Kaduwela, former PM said that the people had not received any relief from the present govt. He said that it was his aim to save the people hard hit by COVID-19 & rebuild the country. more..

BBC collaborates with Sri Lanka Tourism to revive the Tourism Sector

Jul 7 (AD) Despite being considerably affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Sri Lanka Tourism is currently taking several measures to revive the Tourism sector by collaborating with key international organizations, and platforms, through destination promotional marketing among new markets via social and digital media. It is very well known that the Travel and Tourism industry worldwide has faced a major drawback regarding the ongoing COVID -19 crisis, and more..

Sri Lanka says making progress with IMF program, budget support

Jul 7 (EN) Sri Lanka is making progress with a program with the IMF with other lenders also joining in with budget support, Treasury Secretary S R Attygalle said. Other lenders would also provide more than a billion US dollars in budget finance along with the IMF program, Attygalle said. SL has lined up funding from a number of lenders including US$ 300 million from the ADB as well as France, AIIB and WB. WB has already disbursed some funds using emergency clauses more..

Govt doctors threaten to strike if demands are not met by July 16

Jul 7 (EN) GMOA is warning that unless the govt moves swiftly to clear bureaucratic delays in appointments and transfers they will take trade union action after 16 July. The union said that currently there are more than 2,000 medical officers working on temporary appointments who had completed their internships more than two years ago. The union says they are due for full-time appointments, and that the union had prepared the criteria for more..

Video: Hotel owner found murdered in Piliyandala

Jul 7 (AD) The owner of a hotel in Piliyandala has been found murdered within the hotel’s premises, police said. The victim, a 50-year-old resident of Gurugammana Road in Kesbewa, was found dead this morning on the bed he was sleeping on with injuries sustained to the back of his head. The victim’s wife has also been injured in the incident and has been admitted to the Kalubowila Hospital. No information has been uncovered regarding the suspects as of yet while the magistrate’s more..

Public not allowed to visit Kataragama during Esala Perahera festival

Jul 7 (AD) The general public will not be allowed to watch the Annual Esala Festival of the Kataragama Devalaya this year as a measure to curtail the spread of COVID-19, stated the Department of Govt information. 2248th Annual Esala Festival of the Kataragama Devalaya, one of the most revered and nationally important cultural festivals of the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim people, will commence on July 21 and conclude on Aug 4 with the Festival of Dlya Kepima at Menik Ganga. more..

Video: Special Interest Scheme for Senior Citizens program not amended: Bandula

Jul 7 (AD) No amendment has been made to the Special Interest Scheme for Senior Citizens program, says Minister Bandula Gunawardena. He mentioned this offering an explanation into a newspaper article published yesterday under the caption Senior Citizens Deposit Interest is falling to 8%. Gunawardena pointed out that the program Special Interest Scheme for Senior Citizens has been implemented since 2014 with the aim of more..

Video: Wanted PNB Inspector surrenders to police

Jul 7 (AD) Police Inspector attached to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) who is wanted over an investigation into several PNB officers linked to a drug racket, has surrendered to the Kadawatha Police. The officer in question, IP Saman Wasantha Kumara, will be handed over to the CID for further investigations. Earlier today, it was reported that SL Police was seeking public assistance into apprehending the 49-year-old police officer named Saman Kumara Wasantha. more..

Sri Lanka eases Coronavirus austerity on wedding parties

Jul 7 (EN) Sri Lanka has relaxed guest limits on wedding parties allowing couples to have more lavish wedding and hotels to earn more money as the country continues to ease curbs imposed to control the spread of Coronavirus. Under relaxed rules up to 300 persons could participate in a wedding ceremony, from an earlier 100, or half the hall was full, whichever was lower. “This includes the bridal group, band members or any performing artists,” the Director General Health Services more..

Interim order issued preventing arrest of Ravi and 5 others

Jul 7 (AD) Court of Appeal has issued an interim order preventing the execution of the arrest warrants issued by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court on former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and 5 others over the CB bond scam. A writ petition was previously filed by former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake, Chairman of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) Geoffrey Aloysius, CEO Kasun Palisena, and former CB officials more..

Postal ballot papers on the way

Jul 7 (Island) Nearly 705,200 ballot papers had been received by the Dept of Posts for distribution, Post Master General Ranjith Ariyaratne said, adding that operations were going as scheduled. He said that nearly 265,000 ballot papers for the upcoming election had been handed over to Postal Voting Certification Officers. "The process of accepting secure packets containing postal voting ballot papers is usually concluded in one day, but given COVID-19 situation it will take a little longer" more..

Welikada Prison inmate admitted to the IDH

Jul 7 (NR) The inmate of the Welikada Prison who tested positive for the coronavirus has been admitted to the IDH. Prisons Commissioner of Administration Chandana Ekanayake when contacted, said 300 PCR tests were conducted on 170 inmates and Prison officials. The PCR test results are expected tomorrow. Prisons Department also took steps to disinfect the prison ward that the inmate was housed in. Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe said the individual more..

In Sri Lanka, the hunt is on for alien fish in native lakes

Jul 7 (MB) Located in suburbs of Colombo, picturesque Thalangama Lake is plagued by at least two invasive predatory fish species that are contributing to the decline of the native aquatic life. “I have heard villagers living close to the lake claiming that they had seen a fish with a long snout like an alligator in Thalangama Lake,” said Pathum Madhusanka, a young fish enthusiast who has made it his mission to rid the lake of the invasive species. more..

Video: Five suspects arrested for harassing Russian female at Galle Face Green

Jul 7 (AD) The youths who were arrested over harassing a Russian female at the Galle Face Green are to be submitted for an identification parade. The suspects will be presented before the Fort Magistrate Court today. A video of a group of youths harassing a foreign female and her friends at the Galle Face Green was released to social media recently. The incident had occurred at around 11 pm on Sunday when a group of friends including the Russian woman and her SL boyfriend visited more..

Security to remain heightened in places of worship, public places

Jul 7 (DM) Security will continue to be heightened in churches and places where public gather including in Kataragama, Kandy and other places of worship following advice by the intelligence, Police Spokesperson SSP Jaliya Senaratne said last evening. All police stations across the country have also been alerted to conduct special intelligence operations as well while if any church or other places of worship requests for more security, it will be provided. more..

Maithri Gunaratne

Prevarication: The politicians’ rhetoric

Jul 7 (FT) Being a voter is much like playing against a stacked deck – you are always going to lose. The game is rigged, and we the people keep getting dealt the same losing hand. Even so, most stay in the game, against all odds, trusting that their luck will change. The problem, of course, is that luck will not save us. The people dealing the cards are the politicians, the corporations, the judges, the prosecutors, the Police, the bureaucrats, the military, the media – you name it; more..

Dismal behaviour of people’s representatives

Jul 7 (FT) Any ordinary citizen of Sri Lanka that vandalises any building, let alone the parliamentary chamber, and physically attacks individuals and police officers, would face grave consequences. Yet we have seen absolutely no action taken against these MPs that not only took the law in to their own hands, but did so with such relish and reckless abandon. The public witnessed in the recent past the dismal behaviour of some of our country’s representatives in the Parliament. more..

Kilinochchi explosion: Bomb was to be exploded to mark Black Tiger day: Police

Jul 7 (Island) The bombe which exploded prematurely in a house at Iyakkachchi, Kilinochchi, on Saturday, was to be taken among other things to Mullaithivu for a clandestine operation to mark the Black Tiger day, which fell on Sunday, according to police. The first Black Tiger, Vallipuram Vasanthan, drove a small truck laden with explosives into the army camp at Nelliady, Jaffna on 5 July 1987, killing himself and some soldiers. more..

Petition seeking Bathiudeen’s release: Limited objections filed

Jul 7 (TM) The Attorney General (AG) has informed the Supreme Court (SC) that limited objections have been filed in relation to the fundamental rights (FR) petition filed by the brother of ACMC Leader Rishad Bathiudeen, Riyaj, seeking release from police custody. The AG has requested the court to reject the FR petition. Riyaj Bathiudeen is currently being held by the CID over his alleged links to the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. The petition was taken up before SC Judges more..

Health Ministry accident prevention week launched

Jul 7 (FT) The Ministry of Health yesterday launched the Fifth National Accident Prevention Awareness Week. Sri Lankans can do much more to prevent accidents and related injuries and deaths, Non-Communicable Diseases Director Dr. Vindya Kumarapeli told the press at an event organised to educate media organisation about the awareness week which will run from 6-12 July. The planned awareness week will be subtle this year due to the need to adhere to COVID-19 regulations, more..