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Putting an end to Sri Lankan ecocide

Feb 26 (TM) While we are a little haven of biodiversity, ecological, and wildlife wonder, there is an uglier picture beneath the surface. 2020 was one of the worst years for environmental conservation SL has ever seen. Over the last year, our island, renowned for leopards and elephants, has seen the deaths of more than 12 leopards and over 400 elephants, the vast majority of which are a direct result of human-animal conflict. more..

Tuning up for a live performance online

Feb 26 (ST) With many aspects of life having come to a standstill amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Performing Arts have also been greatly affected. Theatre, music and dance lovers patiently await the moment concerts are announced so they may experience the thrill of a live performance. There is hope sparking at the end of this tunnel as the Lionel Wendt Memorial Fund (LWMF) brings to audiences a live-stream of 3rd edition of their annual Young Musicians at the Wendt concert on Feb 27. more..

Let justice be done

Feb 26 (CT) SL has had several Prez Commissions since the Executive Presidency came into being 43 years ago in 1978. The first Prez Commission was appointed by Prez J.R. Jayewardene in March 1978. Recommendations made by that Commission were carried out to the letter by the Govt in power then, legally, whereas in the case of the other commissions since appointed, they were either aborted or their recommendations not carried out, or if carried out, upon appeal to Courts, more..

It’s far from The End

Feb 26 (ST) How do you market and release a film during a pandemic? Last year, Visakesa Chandrasekaram’s second movie Paangshu, completed in February 2018 and premiered at int'l film festivals took two and a half years to navigate its national release. The pandemic then paused its release further. When cinemas opened up after the first round of lockdowns, Visakesa seized this small window more..

Towards a realistic University admission scheme for Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (CT) It is heartening to read the recent news item stating that the UGC is contemplating changes in the university admission policy. The current system is outdated, against international practices and thus a complete overhaul of the uni admission process is long overdue. In my previous articles on the same subject appeared previously, I have stressed the urgent need for the review of the current admission policy and the admission process in keeping with the current national context more..

BJP in Sri Lanka: (Re)emergence of transnational parties?

Feb 26 (DM) The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) recent statement that they wish to form a BJP in Sri Lanka and Nepal has infuriated many politicians and political commentators of the country. We believe it is worthy to examine this ambitious proposal, in light of the manner of functioning of political parties and the contemporary geo-politics of South Asia. Certainly, one does not need to be naïve to imagine a possibility of the BJP operating as a registered party under the commission of election more..

SLFP rejects PCoI report on Easter attacks; Maithripala re-appointed Chairman

Feb 25 (AD) The Executive Committee of the SLFP has decided to reject the report of the PCoI that investigated the Easter Sunday terror attacks. MP Shan Wijayalal De Silva revealed this while speaking to reporters following the meeting of the SLFP’s Executive Committee. Meanwhile the SLFP Executive Committee has also decided to re-appoint former Prez Maithripala Sirisena as the Chairman of the SLFP. more..

AG receives Volume 1 of Easter attacks commission report

Feb 25 (AD) The Attorney General has received Volume 01 of the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that investigated the Easter Sunday terror attacks. AG’s coordinating officer said that Volume 01 of the report was received today from the Secretary to the President. However, the Attorney General has requested the President’s Secretary to submit all proceedings, documents and materials (Volumes 2-5) of the commission to the AG’s Dept, she said. more..

Maha Sangha invites Govt Party Leaders for discussion

Feb 25 (CT) A special discussion between eight Govt. party leaders and Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera, Ven. Omare Kassapa Thera, and Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera was held yesterday, to discuss the standing of the Govt. Party leaders including Ministers Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, and Vasudeva Nanayakkara participated in the meeting, which was held at the Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita. Ven. Ananda Thera criticised the health service, more..

SL sinks deeper into China's grasp, seeks $2.2 billion from Beijing as reserves shrink

Feb 25 (AFP) SL is seeking $2.2 billion from Chinese banks, govt said, in echoes of a borrowing binge more than a decade ago that resulted in the country having to give up a strategic port to China. Minister Nivard Cabraal said the govt was hopeful of finalising a $1.5-billion swap facility with China's central bank. "Within the next two weeks we should be able to finalise it," Cabraal said while maintaining that the funds would be more..

Pakistan offers Sri Lanka $50m credit line for defence purchases

Feb 25 (AJ) Pakistan has extended a $50m line of credit for defence purchases to SL, its foreign ministry says as Pakistani PM Imran Khan concludes a landmark visit to the island nation. An agreement was also made to increase intelligence sharing and cooperation on other security issues, including anti-terrorism and anti-crime operations. Khan left SL on Wednesday after a 2-day visit that saw him hold talks with his SL counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prez Rajapaksa, more..

Qureshi, Gunawardena stress expansion of Pak-Sri Lanka FTA

Feb 25 (PO) Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and his SL counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena on Wednesday underscored the need to expand Pakistan-SL Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to realize the full potential of bilateral trade. In a meeting held in Colombo, the two Foreign Ministers reviewed the whole gamut of bilateral relations and agreed to work closely to further strengthen ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields. Qureshi stressed the importance Pakistan attached more..

Sri Lanka sees link between bond investment advisories and UN rights pressure

Feb 25 (EN) SL saw a link between pressure to improve human rights and accountability in by a UN body and recent reports on the islands sovereign bond risks, CB Governor W D Lakshman said. Many individuals and institutions had made adverse comments regarding SL’s economic management and prospects. “In the last couple of weeks alone, 3 institutions, Standard Chartered, Barclays, ICRA published damaging reports” more..

Imran Khan advises Arjuna; you only lose when you give up

Feb 25 (DM) Pakistani Premier Imran Khan during his two-day state visit of SL addressing a gathering of dignitaries commended former SL cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga for his efforts to instil a winning mindset for his former cricket team members. “Sports teaches you something which you do not learn in university or school. Because the idea of competing in sports is to prepare you for struggles in life. The problem is that sportsmen when they finish their sporting career, more..

Arrested for promoting Prabhakaran on social media

Feb 25 (CT) Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) arrested a 25-year-old suspect for posting and promoting videos containing images of V. Prabhakaran. The suspect is said to have posted and circulated such videos on the social media platform named TikTok. The suspect was arrested in the Wattala. The suspect hails from Mullaitivu and has also resided in Hatton. On searching the suspect’s mobile phone, multiple contents created by him promoting terrorist activity had been more..

Human-elephant conflict resolution: COPA directs WFC to expedite process

Feb 25 (CT) The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has directed the Secretary to the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation to prepare a formal plan to expedite the implementation of the recommendations made to resolve the human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka and present a report to Parliament within two months. COPA also called for a review of the National Policy on the Resolution of the Human-Elephant more..

Canada concerned over deterioration of rule of law in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (TM) The recent report of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet highlighted the need for UNHRC to ensure accountability for crimes committed in SL, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau yesterday said. Speaking at the 46th session of the UNHRC, he said Canada is deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in SL. “Threats to human rights defenders and civil society organizations, suppression of memorialization, more..

Mahindananda acquitted from funds misappropriation case

Feb 25 (AD) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has been acquitted from the case over misappropriation of funds from the SL Freedom Labour Congress. The lengthy trial of 4 years came to a conclusion before the Colombo HC Justice Adithya Patabendige, today. Delivering the verdict, High Court Judge stated that the plaintiff had failed to prove the allegations made against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt. Accordingly, the accused will be acquitted and released under more..

Ranil Wickremesinghe on WION

Sri Lanka, Pakistan discuss cross-investing forex reserves in govt bonds: Minister

Feb 25 (EN) SL and Pakistan had discussed the possibility of cross-investing foreign reserves in each others’ sovereign bonds during a visit of PM Imran Khan to the island, State Minister Nivard Cabraal said. “We have been investing foreign reserves in Western govt bonds at low rates about 1.5%” Cabraal said. “They are also investing in various instruments in the Western world. They are also generating 1.5%, just like us. Sometimes it makes sense to invest in theirs (bonds) more..

TNA MP faults govt. for delay in answering questions, gets under Johnston’s skin

Feb 25 (Island) It did not matter whether the MPs were wearing pressed clothes or had travelled long distances when their questions were answered, Chief Govt Whip Johnston Fernando told Parliament yesterday. The Minister said so in response to a complaint by Batticaloa District TNA MP Shanikyan Rasamanikkam, who expressed his dismay for govt taking time to answer a question raised by him. MP Rasamanikkam has raised a question whether Minister of Health is aware that more..

Video: PCoI report on Easter Sunday attacks tabled in Parliament

Feb 25 (AD) The final report of the Prez Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) which investigated the Easter Sunday terror attacks has been tabled in the Parliament this morning. Leader of the House, Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presented the Sinhala and English versions of the report to the House following the commencement of the parliamentary session. Accordingly, he requested the Speaker more..

Mechanism to ensure job security of private sector employees

Feb 25 (DN) A mechanism is in place to ensure the job security of private sector employees, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said yesterday in Parliament. Accordingly, Minister De Silva pointed out that employers have agreed to a system that allows private sector employees who are not called to work or are unable to come to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic to choose from either receiving half of the basic monthly salary or receiving Rs.14,500, whichever is more beneficial more..

Sri Lankan exporters to the EU and Germany must develop sustainable supply chains

Feb 25 (EN) SL exporters and providers of services to the European Union (EU) market are being encouraged to develop sustainable supply chains to become part of the restart of the island’s economy to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic as fast as possible. At a conference on Sustainable Supply Chains as drivers of global competitiveness held on 24th of February in Colombo, suppliers to the EU market were offered training and help to obtain broader market access to permit German more..

Video: 'I’m not stupid enough to change Viharagam and Dewalagam Ordinance'

Feb 25 (AD) Prez’s Counsel Ali Sabri stated that he does not intend to repeal or amend the Viharagam and Dewalagam Ordinance during his tenure as the Minister of Justice. He expressed these views speaking at a media briefing today. He said, “As long as I am the Minister of Justice, we have no hope of touching the Buddhist Viharagam and Dewalagam Ordinance. I haven’t even dreamt of it. We all acknowledge that this is a country more..

Mr. C J P Siriwardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Passes Away

Feb 25 (AD) The Central Bank, with deep sorrow, wishes to announce the demise of Mr. C J P Siriwardana, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). He passed away at the age of 62, on the 24th of February 2021. Mr. Siriwardana functioned as Deputy Governor of the CBSL from 2017 to 2018. With over 31 years of service at the CBSL, he was especially experienced in the areas of Economic and Price Stability, Financial System Stability, Agency Functions. more..

LedgerEdge selects Yaala Labs as global technology partner

Feb 25 (FT) LedgerEdge, the next-generation ecosystem for corporate bond trading, announces it has selected Yaala Labs, a provider of cloud-native capital markets infrastructure, to support its technology delivery. The partnership will enable LedgerEdge to launch a global corporate bond trading venue built on distributed ledger technology, expected in the second half of 2021. LedgerEdge was founded in 2020 to create a new ecosystem where participants can trade with conviction more..

Sri Lanka undeclared funds tax, special GST to be legislated by April

Feb 25 (EN) SL tax changes announced in 2019 Dec and a budget for 2021 including a special goods and services tax and a 1% tax to bring undeclared money to the open would be legislated by Apr 21, Treasury Secretary S R Attygalle said. SL cut the value added tax, lifted the threshold, announced a special goods and services tax for 5 items and also a series of income tax cut to promote exports & support small/medium enterprises. more..

Env. Ministry promises action against those who destroyed 1,000 mangrove saplings

Feb 25 (Island) Environment Ministry has decided to take action against those responsible for destroying 1,000 mangrove saplings at the Anawilundawa recently. A senior Ministry official expressed disgust at the destruction of the saplings planted in a wetland site designated to be of international importance as per the Ramsar Convention under the National Wetlands Programme. The govt had decided to take over and develop the Muthurajawela Wet Sanctuary under more..

Seelarathana Thero’s nomination for SLC election rejected

Feb 25 (AD) The nomination submitted by Ven. Battaramulle Seelarathana Thero to contest for the position of Vice President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been rejected. The Thero’s nomination has reportedly been rejected due to failure to complete the required qualifications. Thero had this week submitted his nomination to contest for the Vice President’s post at the upcoming SLC elections. Thero, who had previously also contested in Prez elections, said that his intention in contesting more..

Video: 500,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses arrive from India

Feb 25 (AD) A consignment of 500,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines purchased from India have arrived in Sri Lanka this afternoon. State Pharmaceutical Corporation recently signed an order with Serum Institute of India (SII) for 10 million doses of the vaccine for USD 52.5 million. This agreement was approved by the Attorney General last week. The vaccines are purchased as a direct more..

Govt feels the heat, likely to revert vaccination program back to priority groups

Feb 25 (DM) Following several complaints from citizens that the ongoing vaccination program was being conducted in an ad-hoc manner, the Daily Mirror learns that a decision may be taken to revert the vaccination program back according to the priority groups - in this instance those above the age of 60 years, in the coming days. During a meeting held by health officials this week, several concerns were raised with some officials querying as to why there was no system in place for people to more..

Power of the exponential: What matters is the exponent!

Feb 25 (FT) Facing an exponentially developing situation is an interesting experience but not always and most definitely not during these COVID-times. COVID-19 is showing exactly the power of the exponential – how the contagion spreads! The infections as the final scenario is a result of the transmission being an exponential function. The exponent dictates whether the spread is happening or is curtailed. These days we see but without saying much that the exponent is greater than more..

'සිවුර අමුඩේ ගහන් හරි ක්‍රිකට් ගහන්න පුළුවන්'

ITMIS to be fully implemented by 2022

Feb 25 (DN) Integrated Treasury Management Information System (ITMIS) is to be fully implemented bythe budget for 2022. Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle noted that utilisation of ITMIS was already quite high and as with government policy there would be more utilisation of digital channels. Attygalle said, “Budget 2021 was worked through ITMIS.” 80% of 2021 budget data is done through ITMIS. This includes over 2000 spending units within the govt. more..

Truth, in the face of cremation

Feb 25 (FT) SL’s expected fallout with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva is serious. The Govt 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 will vote against more..