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Prez and PM walking two different paths as SL faces economic crisis: UNP

Jan 22 (EN) With the country allegedly on the verge of an economic crisis, what with massive loan repayments due this year in a climate of uncertainty, Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa have embarked on different administrative paths, the UNP said. UNP MP Hesha Withanage that, with the govt clearly split into two opposing camps resulting in severe economic mismanagement, more..

No need to panic over coronavirus in Sri Lanka: Epidemiology Unit

Jan 22 (AD) In light of the recent developments regarding the Coronavirus epidemic in China and other countries, Chief Epidemiologist at the Epidemiology Unit has insisted that there is no need for the public to panic as maximum precautions have been taken to contain the rise of the virus within SL. He has also requested tourists to get themselves checked by qualified medical practitioners if they exhibit the symptoms more..

Sri Lanka neglecting its wetlands; invasive plants a major threat

Jan 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s six Ramsar wetland sites – Wilpattu, Bundala, Kumana, Anawilundawa, Vankalei and Madu Ganga — are greatly affected by spreading invasive plants and this has hit migratory birds which cannot find enough fish in the choking waters, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said. Ramsar wetland sites are designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental more..

Extraordinary Gazette calling upon armed forces to maintain public order issued

Jan 22 (AD) The Gazette Extraordinary has been issued calling upon the armed forces to maintain public order across the country with effect from today (22). President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued the gazette notification on Monday by virtue of the powers vested in him by Section 12 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40). Accordingly, the Army, Navy and the Air Force have been called out for more..

Sri Lanka bears Rs.50bn in disaster damages annually: World Bank

Jan 22 (EN) Disasters are annually costing Sri Lanka 50 billion rupees, or around 0.4% of GDP in damages, which requires preventive measures to reduce climate risks, the World Bank said in a report. “On average, SL experiences LKR 50 billion (US$313 million) in annual disaster losses related to housing, infrastructure, agriculture, and relief,” report titled Contingent Liabilities from Natural Disasters: Sri Lanka said. more..

WHT to be replaced by assessable income tax

Jan 22 (CT) Withholding tax (WHT) on interest payers will be relieved of WHT, but will be subject to assessable income tax payable from 1 April, the Finance Ministry said. Among some of the other tax changes to be effected by bringing in amendments to the Inland Revenue Act are that effective from 1 Jan to 31 March, all WHT on interest payers, whose interest income of less than Rs 250,000 per mensem will not be subject to WHT, more..

Rs. 21.7 b supplementary allocation presented to Parliament

Jan 22 (FT) A Supplementary Allocation of a total of Rs. 21,708 million was presented to Parliament yesterday, seeking House approval for the expenses incurred in the month of November to provision 73 different programs and purposes. Using the Supplementary Allocation, the Govt has also sought House approval for the additional allocation of Rs. 330 million additional allocation provided to meet the increased cost of fuel, more..

Dehiwela Zoo DG removed, TNL Directress to take her place

Jan 22 (CT) Environmentalists have voiced concern over the sudden removal of Director General (DG) of the National Zoological Gardens, Dehiwala, Dammika Malsinghe and the appointment of Telshan Media Network Directress, Ishini Wickremesinghe as DG. Based on a Cabinet paper, Malsinghe was removed and Wickremesinghe appointed. Zoo officials said, "Wickremesinghe has no experience in wild animals more..

Ranil refuses to budge

Jan 22 (EN) Ranil Wickremesinghe is refusing to step down as Leader of the UNP but is open to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya leading the charge at the upcoming Parliamentary General Elections, sources close to the former PM said. Efforts to make Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa the Party Leader and spearhead the campaign for the elections expected in the last week of April have thus far failed. more..

Laws that make child brides powerless

Jan 22 (DM) At 26, Noor* was a divorcee, a widow and a mother of a 9 year-old-boy. She was married twice, first at the age of 17 and later at the age of 23. She was deserted by her first husband when she was 18, just days after their son was born. She later found out that her husband had been cheating on her and then applied for divorce. Noor had to bring her son up as a single mother. Her family married her off again, but more..

Solution to Pea-Fowl menace in Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (DM) An Indian professor of Agriculture in Kerala, Mani Chellappan, who is known for his experiments on scaring away crop damaging birds and other animals has successfully experimented methods of scaring away birds including pea-fowls. This Kerala based academic has improved on the tried and tested method that uses polypropylene coated ribbons in the fields to drive the birds away. These holographic ribbons which shine for the sun light are available in the market. more..

When political journeys turn tumultuous A tale of two leaders

Jan 22 (DM) The many battles in the SL political field at present underscores one prominent fact; it’s time for two seasoned campaigners to say adieu to politics. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President of the country and SLFP stalwart Chandrika Kumaratunga have come under pressure from by the next generation of politicians. Whether they’ll take a cue from this message of rejection and call it a day depends on how adamant they are to remain in politics and enjoy perks and more..

Govt tells parliament it will not honour any agreement detrimental to country

Jan 22 (Island) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s govt would not continue with any agreement that was detrimental to the country, Minister and Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday. Gunawardena said so in response to a special statement made by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who asked whether the govt would continue with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact. more..

India pips Sri Lanka, becomes top tea exporter to China

Jan 22 (TOI) India has emerged as the largest exporter of tea to China — the world’s biggest tea producer — in 2019, overtaking SL, riding on the rising demand for Indian varieties of black tea among Chinese millennials in the mostly green tea-producing country. Indian tea export to China has trebled in the last five years, with 12 million kg (mkg) sold to that country between Jan and Nov 2019, up from 3.6mkg of 2014. SL, 2nd-largest importer of tea to China, imported 9mkg in the same period. more..

Video: Elephant takes casual stroll through hallways of Sri Lanka hotel

Jan 22 (ABC) A guest recorded this video of a wild elephant casually walking the hotel lobby and heading down a hallway. It stops from time to time, poking items with its trunk. This particular hotel is near a wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka, and while elephants are often seen on roads, having them wandering hotel hallways is rare. The person who posted the video from her mother said the elephant, named Natta Kota, has been a regular, friendly visitor to Jetwing Yala hotel for several years. more..

Shani Abeysekara and others in contact with Swiss local staffer

Jan 22 (DM) CID informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that an analysis of phone recordings revealed that some people including former CID Director Shani Abeysekara and former Lake House Chairman Krishantha Cooray were involved in the alleged abduction incident of Swiss Embassy employee Garnier Banister Francis. This information was revealed in Court when the case in which Ms. Francis was named as a suspect more..

Rs. 2005 mn CCF funds spent arbitrarily by former minister

Jan 22 (DN) State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana alleged that Rs. 2005 million from the Central Cultural Fund (CCF) had been allocated to construct temples, kovils and churches during the past one and half years without the Management Board’s approval. He further said that it is compulsory to have the approval of the CCF Board of Management comprising the PM as the Chairman of CCF, Subject Minister, Finance Minister, Hindu Religious Affairs Minister, Education Minister, more..

CB bond scam forensic audit: JVP calls for 2-day debate on report

Jan 22 (DM) The JVP requested the Speaker to allocate two days to debate the forensic audit report on the CB bond scam. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake expressed his gratitude to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on his decision to table the report despite the Attorney General’s advise to keep it under wraps. He said just tabling the report was not good enough but pointed out that it was vital to debate the report as it had revealed the names of those involved in the bond scams. more..

'Leadership crisis, phone scandal et al proved why UNP should be discarded at...'

Jan 22 (Island) SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris said that a simmering leadership crisis in the UNP plagued by lawmaker Ranjan Ramanayake’s phone scandal would even discourage those who voted for Sajith Premadasa at the 2019 presidential from doing so at the forthcoming parliamentary poll. Prof. Peiris said that the UNP crisis proved beyond doubt that the party was in disarray in the absence of consensus on the leadership change. more..

SriLankan Airlines urged to resume flights to Germany and France

Jan 22 (FT) State Minister Arundika Fernando revealed that SriLankan Airlines has been requested to consider resuming flights to Germany and France with the option of the Govt extending a subsidy. “We have started discussions with the national carrier on the need to resume services to either Frankfurt in Germany and/or Paris in France. These are hubs for the rest of Europe, and direct flights will boost arrivals,” he said, adding that if such flights needs to be subsidised, Govt will consider it. more..

GTX receives initial test order from Sri Lanka Ministry of Defense

Jan 22 (GTX) GTX Corp (GTX), a pioneer in the field of wearable GPS, people and asset tracking Location-Based Services (LBS) and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS), today announced it has received an initial test order from the SL Ministry of Defense. Over the past twelve months, GTX has been working with the SL govt to get its GPS and Track & Trace solutions approved for sale and import into the country as part of a large scale requirement from the SL Army, DMC, more..

Sri Lanka blames erratic weather, intermediaries, as food prices soar

Jan 22 (EN) SL’s soaring food prices are due to bad weather and intermediaries, and they will come down in time for April New Year, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said as the island wallowed in a period of stagflation after a currency collapse. “It is well-known that vegetable prices wrere going up rapidly in the last few months,” Yapa said. “The main reason for this is the climate anomalies which resulted in excess rain more..

Video: HC Judge Gihan Pilapitiya interdicted

Jan 22 (AD) Embilipitiya High Court Judge Gihan Pilapitiya has been interdicted over the controversial phone conversation he has had with UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake says the Judicial Service Commission. A series of audio recordings of phone conversations between the MP and several high-profile officials in the country including former Director of the CID Shani Abeysekara and justices, were leaked to the media earlier this month. Recordings contained phone conversations more..

Tourism Development DG quits within weeks

Jan 22 (FT) SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) newly appointed Director General Chandani Werapitiya resigned from the post from last Friday. The resignation comes within weeks of her appointment, and the SLTDA will now advertise the post with an acting appointment in the interim. SLTDA Director Tourism Planning and Development Dr. Prasad Jayasuriya is tipped to be appointed as the acting Director General. Werapitiya was a senior banking professional more..

New SEC Chairman appointed, but appointment bad in law, claim analysts

Jan 22 (FT) Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne PC has been appointed as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) by PM and Minister of Finance Mahinda Rajapaksa. His appointment, however, is being termed as bad in law since the SEC Act refers to only appointed members from the non-State sector. As per the SEC Act, there is provision to appoint six persons drawn from more..

PAFFREL against giving nominations to priests

Jan 22 (Island) Executive Director of PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi, addressing a seminar in Kandy, said that clergy should not be given nominations at elections as they should be above laymen. He said political parties should ensure that members of the clergy did not contest elections. Only clean candidates had to be fielded, Hettiarachchi said. "Political parties must not give nominations to people who are involved in activities such as bootlegging and narcotics trade. more..

Anandakumar shines as Trinity end Nalanda’s unbeaten run

Jan 22 (Island) Spinner Abhishek Anandakumar picked up five wickets (13-2-34-5) as Trinity ended Nalanda’s unbeaten run inflicting an innings and two runs defeat in the Mahela-Sanga Trophy Under 19 cricket encounter in Kandy on Tuesday. Commencing the second day still needing 115 runs to make the home team bat again, Nalanda could muster only 113 runs to the overnight total. Only three batsmen made contributions of note as Anandakumar led from front. more..

Another Gota Governor Anuradha Yahampath flouts the constitution to make a buck

Jan 22 (CT) Anuradha Yahampath another Viyathmaga stalwart elevated to the post of Governor Eastern Province and also like her contemporary Dr. Seetha Arambepola the Governor Western Province, continues to be in violation of the country’s constitution, as she too currently operates as a Director of Kandyg’s Handloom Exports Ltd, Colombo Telegraph can reveal. more..

Indian Navy ship Airavat arrives

Jan 22 (SLN) Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat arrived at the port of Colombo today (20) and she was welcomed by the SL Navy in compliance with naval traditions. Meanwhile, the Commanding Officer of the ship, Commander Sunil Sankar and a group of Indian officers met the Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sumith Weerasinghe at the Western Naval Command Hq. They held a cordial discussion on several matters of bilateral importance. Mementos were also exchanged more..

SL Tourism says new marketing plan ready

Jan 22 (FT) A new long-term marketing plan to boost Sri Lanka Tourism has been finalised for the consideration of the industry and the Government within the next few weeks. SL Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said that the new strategy has been finalised and will be tabled at the first meeting of the new Board of Directors of SLTPB tomorrow, and if approved, to the Cabinet subsequently. She said that as an initial phase, marketing will be focused on eight Tier 1 destinations, more..

Ranjan speaks in the parliament

More French, Belgian tourists to visit SL after mega PR blitz

Jan 22 (FT) More French and Belgian tourists are anticipated following the conclusion of a mega PR exercise involving 20 leading journalists from these two European markets. The commendable initiative was by Chairman and Managing Director of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts and Spas Chandra Wickramasinghe, organised in collaboration with Salaün Holidays, a leading tour operator in France. Twenty journalists from print, magazines, radio and TV from France and more..

Facets of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s foreign policy vision

Jan 22 (Island) Foreign Policy (FP) represents the long arm of the State protecting and imaging its national interest and projecting overseas all aspects of an independent sovereign State. As such, Foreign Policy is essentially based on a fundamental principle - that is to protect the country, State and people thereby reserving its Right to defend. Recognizing and contextualizing Sri Lanka’s historical, physical and strategic location in the central Indian Ocean Rim, more..

West Indies to tour Sri Lanka in February for three ODIs, two T20Is

Jan 22 (CI) West Indies will tour SL in February for 3 ODIs and 2 T20Is, Sri Lanka Cricket has confirmed. West Indies are expected to arrive in SL on Feb 10, and they will play two warm-up games on Feb 17 and 20, before the first ODI on Feb 22. First of the two warm-up matches will be an unofficial encounter at the P. Sara Oval, while the second game against a Board President's XI at Katunayake will mark official start of the tour. more..

The irrelevant UNP leadership struggle

Jan 22 (Island) UNP leader of over 25 years, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is obviously an avid baseball fan. Clearly believing that the rules of that quintessential American sport, applies to the UNP leadership states. In baseball, you need three strikes to be out. Mr. Wickremesinghe has already struck out twice. He lost the party’s nomination for the prez election, something he sought and fought for until the eleventh hour. He subsequently also lost the attempt to be the leader of the opposition. more..

In memoriam Jayalath Manoratne

Jan 22 (Island) The recently deceased Jayalath Manoratne was a verbal artist par excellence. He was a Sinhala dramatist and playwright, poet, creative writer, scholar, lecturer, cultural critic, humanist and philosopher. A product of Peradeniya University under Prof Ediriweera Sarathchandra, he believed in a single humanity and expressed that belief in his art, to which he was dedicated. Mano was never after money or fame. He had the courage to refuse, on principle, award under Prez JRJ more..

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