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Bakeer Markar alleges police are to arrest 200 critical journalists

Nov 20 (EN) Opposition SJB MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar is accusing the govt of targeting media-persons critical of the govt and told Parliament today that the police have been given a list of these critics who will be arrested. Bakeer Markar, a former Media Minister said “I have information that a list of 200 media persons has been given to the police who are to be prosecuted. The arrests have already started.” more..

Fmr Chairman of Ceylon Fertilizer Company arrested over financial fraud

Nov 20 (DM) Former Chairman of the Ceylon Fertilizer Company Ltd has been arrested by the CID over an alleged financial irregularity of Rs. 90 million. Police said the CID had commenced an investigation into a complaint lodged with the CID on Jan 14, 2020 regarding a financial irregularity of Rs. 90 million during the purchase of liquid fertilizer from a private company for Ceylon Fertilizer Limited. The suspect who was the chairman of the Ceylon Fertilizer Company from 2017 to 2019 more..

AG contemplates action against Pujith, Hemasiri

Nov 20 (DN) Attorney General Dappula De Livera will take further legal action against former IGP Pujith Jayasundara and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando for failing to take measures to prevent a terrorist attack on Easter Sunday in 2019 despite receiving intelligence information. AG yesterday made a written request to the Chairman of the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks to provide him statements and testimonies of certain witnesses recorded by the Commission, more..

Labour Minister explains difficulties in bringing back Lankan migrant workers

Nov 20 (Island) The govt could not dispatch 10 or more aircraft and bring home Lankan migrant workers stranded overseas though it was desirous of doing so because it had to follow int'l procedures, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva told Parliament. He said that flights and their crew members were required to abide by various laws, regulations & quarantine processes each airport had put in place in view of prevailing pandemic. more..

Careful monitoring before lifting: Army Chief

Nov 20 (CT) The final decision on areas under isolation will be taken over the weekend, after reviewing the situation, the Head of the National Operations Centre for the Prevention of the COVID-19 Outbreak, Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said. “Our aim is to assess the COVID-19 threat within these areas and lift isolation restrictions in the event the situation has been completely controlled,” Lt. General Silva said yesterday. Taking the Colombo Municipal Council area as an example, he said more..

Covid-19 recoveries surpass 13,000 mark

Nov 20 (AD) The Ministry of Health says 368 more individuals, who were previously diagnosed with Covid-19, have made complete recoveries. The new development brings the total number of novel coronavirus recoveries reported in the country to 13,271. Sri Lanka’s confirmed infections count meanwhile stands at 18,841. The Epidemiology Unit says 5,497 of them are still under medical care. According to the situation report, the following hospitals have reported the latest recoveries: more..

Video: Education Minister responds to concerns on reopening schools

Nov 20 (AD) The govt decided to reopen schools after taking into account the recommendations of the health authorities, says Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris. It was announced yesterday that schools, except those in Western Province and locked-down areas, will be reopened for Grades 6 and above from the 23rd of Nov as previously scheduled. Minister’s remarks came during the second reading debate of Budget more..

Video: Colombo Mayor does not want the govt. to fail

Nov 20 (DM) Justifying the request made to the govt to isolate the Colombo Municipal Council area for at least two weeks, Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake said that she does not want the govt to fail due to the corona virus. She said that she also wants the govt to control the situation very successfully. She said that 4,836 people in the Colombo Municipal Council area have been infected with Covid-19 as of yesterday and she pointed out that 229 of them belong to the Colombo Municipal Council. more..

Connecting the dots: The death of a drug trafficker and the state of democracy

Nov 20 (FT) In 2020, according to media reports, five persons were killed in shootouts with the police, one while allegedly trying to flee police custody, two when allegedly trying to wrestle weapons from the police when they were taken to retrieve drugs or weapons, and two men died while in police custody at the police station. The phrase new normal is commonly used to refer to the post-COVID-19 context, but even in this new normal there exists a permanent normal we cannot escape, more..

Eran Wickramaratne, MP

TNA opposes burial of coronavirus victims

Nov 20 (Island) Vanni District TNA MP Selvam Addaikalanathan has declared that the TNA is opposed to the move to bury Muslim covid victims in the Mannar District, under any circumstances. TELO leader Addaikalanathan, issuing a statement on behalf of the TNA said the Tamil community wouldn’t accept burials in predominately Tamil areas. The Vanni lawmaker emphasized that the TNA opposed the burial of corona victims in any part of the country. The TNA issued a statement amidst more..

SL seeking IMF bailout looks inevitable

Nov 20 (FT) The new Govt is in the process of implementing its first full year Budget for 2021 announced on Tuesday. It will be one of the toughest budgets in the country’s history given that Sri Lanka is facing an unknown devil in the form of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and a challenging budget deficit and external debt. The bottom line is if SL cannot increase its foreign exchange revenue at least by an additional $ 4 billion either through exports, remittances & tourism or borrowings, more..

Dual cluster exceeds 15,000 cases

Nov 20 (FT) The Divulapitiya and Peliyagoda dual COVID-19 cluster exceeded 15,000 positive cases yesterday, with 439 patients identified within the day. 437 persons are contacts of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster. Having emerged on 4 Oct, the cluster has expanded to 15,330 cases. Total COVID-19 cases identified in the island also include 1,493 SL returnees from overseas, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, more..

Four more Covid-19 deaths reported

Nov 20 (DM) our more individuals passed away due to Covid-19 today climbing the total Covid-19 death toll in SL to 73. Two males aged 70, 86 and two females aged 27, 59 are among the deceased. The details of the deceased are as follows, 01. A 70-year-old male, resident of Colombo 10 succumbed to the virus on admission to a private hospital in Colombo. The cause of death was identified as Covid-19 related pneumonia. 02. A 27-year-old female from Col 15 was pronounced dead more..

Foreign Minister meets EU Ambassadors to discuss recent developments

Nov 20 (MFA) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena received the Ambassadors of Italy, Germany, Netherlands, France, Romania and the EU Delegation based in Colombo, at the Foreign Ministry, to discuss recent developments, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic. EU Ambassadors reaffirmed their desire to continue to further strengthen bilateral relations with SL with a special focus on further advancing trade, investment & tourism sector cooperation. more..

80 Club land and building taken over by Govt; Divisional Secretary

Nov 20 (DM) The govt has taken over the land and building of the 80 Club of Colombo at Independence Avenue, Colombo 7, with effect from November 12, for violating several conditions, an official said. “We have taken over the land and building at Independence Avenue, Colombo 7, where the 80 Club is located for violating several conditions including non-payments of lease arrears,” Thimbirigasyaya Divisional Secretary said. more..

3 lion cubs born at Ridiyagama Safari Park

Nov 20 (Island) A 9-year-old lioness named Sheena gave birth to three cubs at the Ridiyagama Safari Park on Tuesday night. The curator of the park Hemantha Samarasekera said it was Sheena’s second litter and that she had delivered four cubs in 2017. Sheena was brought from Germany to the Dehiwala Zoological Garden as a two-year-old cub and moved to the Ridiyagama Safari Park when she was four. This is the fourth time the lionesses delivered cubs at Ridiyagama Safari Park. more..

HC summons Ravi, Arjun Aloysius on Feb 5

Nov 20 (DN) Colombo High Court issued summons on former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and PTL beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius to appear in court on Feb 5, 2021. This is over the case filed against them in connection with the acquisition of a luxury apartment in Kollupitiya. The case was taken up before Colombo HC Judge Adithya Patabendi. On Sep 21, 2020, Bribery Commission filed indictments consisting six counts against former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and PTL beneficiary owner more..

'Govt that promised to increase forest cover has taken away 700,000 acres from Wildlife'

Nov 20 (Island) The govt that came to power promising to increase the forest cover by 30% had now handed over 700,000 acres of land belonging to the Wildlife Conservation Department to Divisional and District secretaries, SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella told parliament. He asked the govt to inform the House of the rationale behind placing lands under purview of the Divisional & District secretaries. more..

Govt trying to undermine authority of Forest Dept: Sajith

Nov 20 (CT) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, in Parliament, alleged the Govt was attempting to undermine the authority of the Forest Dept for lands known as other State forests, and bringing it under Govt Agents and Divisional Secretaries by cancelling Circular 5/2001. Raising a question under Standing Orders 27/2, Premadasa pointed out that these State forests have sensitive ecosystems and biologically valuable forests. “Furthermore, rivers & streams are historical/archaeological sites more..

New era for local motor vehicle assembly with 2021 Budget, claims SLACMA

Nov 20 (FT) SL Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association (SLACMA) welcomed the 2021 Budget, describing it as a new era for local automotive component manufacturers. In appreciation of the Govt’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurs in the automobile industry engaged in vehicle assembly using locally-manufactured brand-new auto components, SLACMA President Dimantha Jayawardena said the 2021 Budget had proposed local automotive assembly using more..

Bathiudeen admits to attesting suicide bomber’s marriage

Nov 20 (CT) SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen while giving evidence at the PCoI admitted that he had attested the marriage of one of the suicide bombers (Ibrahim brothers). When the Senior State Counsel asked whether he had attested the marriage of Mohamed Ibrahim Insaf Ahmed, who carried out the suicide bombing at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, witness said that he had done so at request as Insaf’s father- in-law, more..

COPE resumes sittings today

Nov 20 (Island) The COPE of the 9th Parliament will commence its proceedings from today, said its Chairman, MP Prof. Charitha Herath. The proceedings of the COPE committee were suspended due to the prevailing COVID – 19 pandemic. Chairman said that it had been decided to hold the meetings with the participation of minimum number of officials in keeping with the anti- COVID-19 health guidelines. Accordingly, the special audit report on feasibility study and more..

Bowlers will win matches for you: Thilina K

Nov 20 (CT) Former Sri Lanka cricketer and Jaffna Stallions head coach Thilina Kandamby believes his bowlers will play a pivotal role in the upcoming Lanka Premier League (LPL) which is all set to go from 26 November –17 December in Hambantota. Five teams, stringing together talented players from all around the world, will play a total of 23 matches in a bid to win the coveted inaugural LPL championship. Jaffna Stallions was the first team to reach Hambantota. more..

Inadequate support from govt officers in Covid-19 related matters, PHIs claim

Nov 20 (DM) While saying that the support from the Health Ministry officials was not adequate in the endeavour to contain the Covid-19, Public Health Inspectors Union said there is an attempt to pass the blame on PHIs whenever there is a shortcoming with regard to Covid-19 related matter. Union Secretary M. Balasooriya said it was really unfair to pass the buck all the time on PHIs when it comes to Covid-19 related matters. more..

Universal child benefit critical in reducing vulnerability and poverty: UNICEF SL

Nov 20 (UNICEF) A new UNICEF Sri Lanka report recommends the establishment of a Universal Child Benefit (UCB) as a vital step to reduce the poverty and vulnerability faced by families and children in SL, which for many has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Produced with support from the European Union (EU) the ‘Investing in the Future: A Universal Child Benefit for SL’s children’ report has been released to mark 31st anniversary of Convention of the Rights of the Child more..

Colombo Kings overseas player tests Positive for COVID-19

Nov 20 (CT) It is reported one of the overseas players of the Colombo Kings squad has tested positive for COVID-19 after the PCR test done in SL following his arrival in the island to take part in the Lanka Premier League. According to sources, Canadian cricketer Ravinderpal Singh is the one whose test has come out positive. However, when contacted Tournament Director Ravin Wickramaratne, he said he is unaware of such an incident. “Until now I haven’t received more..

FTZ manufacturers request govt to study situation before raising retirement age

Nov 20 (FT) The Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA) has urged the Govt to properly study the pros and cons of the proposed raise in retirement age to 60 before implementation of the 2021 Budget move. The FTZMA is a member of the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) which is the tripartite apex body to discuss policy-related labour matters and advice the Minister of Labour. more..

Dhammika Prasad, Karim Sadiq join Colombo Kings

Nov 20 (CT) Sri Lanka’s Senior Pacer Dhammika Prasad and Afghanistan’s wicketkeeper/batsman Karim Sadiq are likely to feature in the upcoming Lanka Premier League (LPL) for the Colombo Kings franchise. Prasad is back in competitive cricket after almost five years. He was in and out of the National team mainly due to injuries. Prasad’s absence was a huge loss for Sri Lanka as he had been the pace spearhead through 2015, claiming 41 wickets at an average of 24.95 during the year. more..

Rahul Sood joins Jaffna Stallions as co-owner

Nov 20 (DN) Rahul Sood, a highly successful Seattle based tech entrepreneur and founder of Microsoft Ventures, has joined the ownership group of Jaffna Stallions franchise cricket team in the Lanka Premier League (LPL). Sood will play a key role to support Jaffna Stallions’ brand development and growth worldwide. “We are delighted to welcome Rahul Sood, creator of Microsoft Ventures as a co-owner. He brings a wealth of experience and international business acumen with more..

Gota’s law: PCoI on political victimization reconvenes to hear Duminda Silva complaint

Nov 20 (CT) Duminda Silva, a murder convict on death row was afforded a special hearing by the PCoI on political victimisation weeks after its term officially ended. The PCoI on Political Victimization concluded examining evidence in the complaints filed before the controversial body on Oct 31. Prez Rajapaksa issued a special gazette notification extending the term of the Commission by 16 days from Nov 9 2020 to Nov 25th 2020 more..

Two honoured Sri Lankans and a disgraced deforester

Nov 20 (Island) Cassandra is delighted to hand out some bouquets today. It gladdens the heart to hear of others’ success in these times of dire trouble. She bases her stories this Friday on page 1 of The Sunday Island of Nov 15; one to jubilate over and two being stories which do not compliment the country or those in charge. Scientists find a new frog genus in Andamans, name it after a SL taxonomist, said the sub headline in the Sunday Island, also on page 1 of The Island on Nov 16. more..

2002 world medals that Sugath and Rohan never received

Nov 20 (Island) It was a time when Sri Lanka had in possession some of Asia’s best sprinters. Sri Lanka was so strong in the men’s 400 metres from mid 90s to early 2000s, when the IAAF conducted its World Athletics Continental Cup in 2002, the Asian continental team fielded two SL sprinters in the 4×400 metres relay team. It was at this meet in Madrid that the Asian Games medallists Sugath Thilakaratne and Rohan Pradeep Kumara achieved their best feat (according to placing) more..

Chinese tyre giant takes the road less travelled

Nov 20 (FT) The Board of Investment of SL yesterday signed an agreement with world-leading Chinese tyre manufacturer, Shandong Haohua Tire Co. Ltd., to set up a project to manufacture tyres for the export market. Daily FT reported the impending deal in yesterday’s edition. “This significant investment will boost the rubber-based manufacturing industry of the country, while creating new path ways to export markets,” more..

Sri Lanka added to England’s safe travel list

Nov 20 (AD) Sri Lanka, Israel and Uruguay were added to England’s safe travel list on Thursday, according to foreign media reports. Travellers from those countries as well as Namibia, Rwanda, Bonaire, St Eustatius & Saba, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival in England from Saturday. No countries have been removed from the safe list this week, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter. more..

Editorial: AG vs crooks

Nov 20 (Island) Attorney General Dappula de Livera has got tough with the police in a bid to jolt them into launching a probe to ascertain what actually led to the emergence of the Minuwangoda garment factory cluster of COVID-19, which triggered the second wave of infections in the country, and who is responsible for endangering the lives of people. The police are doing their darnedest, obviously at the behest of the powers that be, to delay the probe; the govt would have the public believe that more..