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Sri Lanka signs € 1 m tripartite agreement to register GI for Ceylon Tea

Dec 9 (FT) Sri Lanka has entered into a tripartite agreement to facilitate the process of registering the Geographical Indicator (GI) for Ceylon Tea. The French Development Agency (AFD) on behalf of the Govt of France has agreed to provide a € 1 million (over Rs. 230 million) grant as technical assistance to the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) through Centre de Coopération International en Recherche Agronomiquepour le Développement (CIRAD) for the development of GI for Ceylon Tea. more..

Internet use in SL has grown due to pandemic but slower than peers: Survey

Dec 9 (Ft) A recent national survey conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional policy think tank, showed that 44% of SL’s population aged 15 and above were internet users in 2021. Internet use was lower amongst the rural, elderly, less educated and poorer groups. Those residing in rural areas, for example, were 19% less likely to be online than their peers residing in urban areas. The pandemic situation has brought many online, with 31% of new users more..

Prasanna mulls more Cabinet support to boost relief for tourism sector

Dec 9 (FT) Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga is planning to submit several special Cabinet papers to revise the taxes of Local Govt bodies on tourist hotels, restaurants and residences, in a bid to provide further concessions on electricity bills. He pointed out that the Cabinet Paper on Local Govt tax amendments would be submitted jointly with Minister of Public Service, PCs & LG. Ranatunga also said that the Cabinet paper to provide relief on electricity bills had already been drafted. more..

757 persons test positive for COVID-19

Dec 9 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 case count rose to 569,928 with 757 persons testing positive for COVID-19 yesterday. COVID-19 patients detected were from the New Year cluster and 7,307 PCR tests were conducted yesterday. 6,849 PCR tests and 3,513 rapid antigen tests were conducted the previous day. The 748 COVID-19 patients detected on Tuesday were from the New Year cluster. The country’s COVID-19 patient count includes 465,040 persons from the New Year cluster, more..

SC orders report on all ministerial portfolios

Dec 9 (CT) Supreme Court yesterday instructed Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam to submit a detailed report pertaining to Ministerial and State Ministerial portfolios that are either defunct or active to date. The Apex Court gave this advice to the Attorney General having perused a Fundamental Rights Petition that had been filed charging that the existing cabinet ministerial & state ministerial posts were in violation of articles of the constitution. more..

Harsha says SL critically ill, insists only cure is to reach out to IMF

Dec 9 (FT) SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva compared the country to a critically ill patient and said the only way to save the country from its dire economic woes was to reach out to the IMF. “If there is a seriously ill child, we have to put that child in the intensive care unit to save him. We cannot take him home and say, I will give some ‘kasaya’ and he will be cured. The child is the 21 million people of this country who have to be saved from the worst economic crisis that is unfolding in front of us,” Dr. de Silva said. more..

State and private sector union members on sick leave demanding Rs 10,000 pay hike

Dec 9 (Island) Members of several state, semi-govt and private sector trade unions took sick leave yesterday as part of their trade union struggle to win a number of demands including a 10,000-rupee pay hike and the cancellation of the questionable New Fortresss deal. Unions of CPC, Ports Authority and CEB have pledged solidarity with the protesting workers. The unions held demonstrations near the Parliament Roundabout and the Fort Railway Station. more..

'Gas composition change led to explosions'

Dec 9 (TM) State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said yesterday that lab tests conducted by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on 12 samples of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) obtained over the last month show a propane composition of about 47%, and said that he personally believes that this change in composition led to the LPG cylinder-based explosions which occurred over the past month. more..

SJB calls for Alagiyawanna’s resignation

Dec 9 (CT) SJB urged that State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna should resign, as he was unable to control the explosive gas cylinder problem, and challenged the Govt authorities to guarantee that gas explosions will not continue. MP Mayantha Disanayake said if this was any other country, on principle the Minister-in-charge of the subject would have resigned when several causalities take place due to an issue regarding their subject. “Instead of resigning, Minister Alagiyawanna is blaming more..

Police to tow away vehicles parked on the pavements in Colombo

Dec 9 (AD) SL Police has initiated an operation to tow away the vehicles parked on the pavements in the administrative districts of Colombo Municipal Council. The new operation kicked off today (8). Traffic police division noted that parking vehicles on the pavements is an offence under the provisions of the National Thoroughfares Act. The police said they would strictly enforce the law regarding the vehicles parked on the sidewalks for the sake of the convenience of pedestrians who commute more..

Collective Cabinet responsibility won’t be at country’s expense

Dec 9 (Island) Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila says that in spite of being members of the Cabinet, he along with NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa and DLF leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara, have supported the petitions filed against govt entering into a framework agreement with US-based New Fortress Energy in respect of Yugadanavi Power Plant, etc., as they strongly felt that collective Cabinet responsibility more..

Believers Eastern Church Colombo Cathedral Consecrated in a blaze of festivity

Dec 9 (Island) Consecration service of the cathedral of the Believers Eastern Church was held on the 23rd of Nov 2021. His Grace Samuel Mor Theophilus and His Grace Geevarghese Mor Makariose along with the clergy consecrated the cathedral in midst of faithful and well-wishers. Cathedral was dedicated to St. Peter the Apostle. Then followed by a public event with the participation of MPs such as Dr. Kavinda Jayawardana, Premnath C. Dolewatta, more..

Military domination, JVP rule or centrist stabilisation?

Dec 9 (FT) SL is hit not only by COVID by also by President Gotabaya’s policies—which is why the peasants are cursing the policy not the virus, and lamenting their 2019 vote, while youngsters are running away from this country to other countries with COVID. Given the probability of socioeconomic meltdown triggered by the collapsing harvest, the year 2022 is shaping up as the Year of Revolution and/or Counter-Revolution. A pre-emptive counter-revolution could trigger a revolution more..

මුදල් අච්චුගහල දැන් පඩි මදිවෙලා!

1,768 naval personnel promoted on 71st Navy anniversary

Dec 9 (FT) The SL Navy, popularly known as the country’s first line of defence, is proudly celebrating its 71st anniversary today (9). To coincide with the Navy’s customary celebrations, 84 officers and 1,684 ratings were promoted/advanced to their next higher ranks/rates with the recommendation of Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, effective from today. Following the directives and guidance of Commander of the Navy, a range of celebratory events are conducted more..

Srimali wins gold at Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships

Dec 9 (AD) SL weightlifter Srimali Samarakoon won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Thursday. The twenty-two-year-old talented weightlifter was competing in the women’s 45kg category. Commonwealth Weightlifting Championships 2021 is currently being held concurrently in Tashkent along with World Weightlifting Championships 2021 from Dec 7 to 17. Samarakoon is the current holder of more..

Online education goes to 85% of students, despite dissatisfaction: study

Dec 9 (EN) About 85% of SL’s schoolchildren had received some levels of online education, some supplemented by printed material, though children of lower-income families had suffered more during the first Coronavirus lockdown, a study had found. A survey by LIRNEasia, had found that 85% of enrolled school-age children had some form of educational services during school closures between March and July 2020. more..

NOCPCO no more in operation

Dec 9 (DM) National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) will no longer be in operation as it has been converted to Operation Center for Green Agriculture with effect from today. According to Army Commander General Shavendra Silva, the NOCPCO will disintegrate from pandemic related activities. The NOCPO was established on March 16, 2020 and has been in operation for one and nine months. "We as a team have been working tirelessly to control more..

Seeds of economic decay

Dec 9 (FT) Never in the history of independent Sri Lanka has the economy recached such a low point as it is now. Will this be its nadir or is it yet to arrive? With just $ 1.5 billion foreign reserves in stock of which $ 300 million is gold, the country without any fresh injections into that stock, would go financially bankrupt after paying for four weeks of imports. With no funds to pay for fuel imports, the price of which is on the rise, home cooking would soon become a luxury for many, and with unavoidable and more..

Priyantha didn’t know what he had torn and discarded: Malik Adnan

Dec 9 (DM) Pakistani national Malik Adnan, who received the highest bravery award from his PM Imran Khan for shielding Priyantha Kumara from the unruly mob in Sialkot last Friday, revealed yesterday that Priyantha was unaware of what was written in the posters pasted on the factory walls as it was in the Urdu language and discarded it unknowingly. Hours after he received the award from Imran Khan, Adnan told Daily Mirror more..

Ranil’s writ against PCoI recommendations fixed for consideration

Dec 9 (AD) The writ application filed by former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe against the recommendations of the PCoI to Investigate into Political Victimization has been fixed for consideration on January 28, 2022. The petition was taken up before the Appeals Court bench consisting of Judges Nishshanka Karunaratne, Devika Abeyratne and D.M. Samarakoon today. In his petition, the UNP leader and parliamentarian requested the court to issue a writ order quashing the panel’s more..

FM discuses financial security for late Priyantha Kumara’s family with Pakistan HC

Dec 9 (MFA) Foreign Minister Prof. G L Peiris had a meeting with the Actg. High Commissioner of Pakistan in Colombo Tanvir Ahmad today to discuss the matters relating to financial security / compensation of the family of late Priyantha Kumara who was killed by a mob in Sialkot area, Pakistan last week. While highlighting the long-standing friendship and trust between Pakistan and SL, Minister expressed confidence that the Pakistan Govt would take required steps that more..

2022 ජනවාරි අන්තිම වෙද්දි ලංකාව බංකොලොත්...

Bandula flays officials of Finance Ministry, CBSL for blocking development work

Dec 9 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena has found fault with the officials of the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of SL (CBSL) for what he calls their callous disregard for implementing the policies of the political leadership. Participating in the third reading stage debate on Budget 2022 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Trade, Minister Gunawardena said that the country would not be able to achieve progress as long as the officials of the Finance Ministry and CBSL. more..

Station Masters to go for large scale trade union action: SLRSMU

Dec 9 (DM) Executive Committee of the SL Railways Station Masters' Union (SLRSMU) has unanimously decided to go for a massive trade union action soon if the Railways Dept fails to provide proper solutions to many issues faced by the station masters for a long time. Station Masters have discussed their issues with the former and present railway general managers. However, the executive committee has taken this decision on the basis of avoiding the relevant matters instead of resolving them. more..

AG to file objections to Hejaaz Hizbullah’s revision application seeking bail

Dec 9 (AD) Attorney General today told the Appeals Court that objections would be filed against the revision application put forward by the incarcerated attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hizbullah seeking to be released on bail. The petition was called before the Appeals Court bench consisting of Judges Menaka Wijesundara and Neil Iddawela this morning. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, who represented Lawyer Hizbullah, informed more..

Video: Health workers in Central Province on token strike today

Dec 9 (AD) Health professionals of nursing, complementary medical services, and paramedical services including medical laboratory scientists have decided to launch a token strike today. The trade union action, based on salary anomalies and six other issues in their services, was initiated in the North-Western Province yesterday. The chief of the Federation of Health Professionals Ravi Kumudesh said they expect to expand their trade union action to other provinces in the coming days. more..

‘Sorry Sri Lanka’

Dec 9 (FT) Following the incident, several rights groups organised demonstrations in Karachi and Lahore holding placards that read Sorry Sri Lanka and Shame #Sialkot. Shocked and saddened, from Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan to Ministers to actors to cricketers, journalists to ordinary people, started apologising to Sri Lanka for the barbaric killing incident. The gruesome incident was dubbed by Prime Minister Imran Khan as a day of shame for Pakistan. more..

Fuel imports monopoly to LIOC?

Dec 9 (TM) Former UNP MP Ajith P. Perera has alleged on social media that Lanka IOC (LIOC) has been granted complete control over fuel imports to SL. Explaining this allegation, Perera claimed that according to the agreement entered into by Minister Basil Rajapksa in his recent visit to India, LIOC will import sufficient quantities of fuel to fully cater to the country’s fuel demand and that subsequently all fuel requirements of CPC more..

Sialkot District Bar Association refuses to represent suspects in lynching case

Dec 9 (AD) The Sialkot Police on Wednesday presented eight more suspects in the brutal lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in an anti-terrorism court, Pakistani media reported. According to, these workers of the factory where the victim served as a senior manager were produced before the Gujranwala anti-terrorism court that remanded them in police custody for 13 days. The court has ordered police to present the suspects in court again on Dec 21. more..

CAA protects service providers, not consumers: Sajith

Dec 9 (CT) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday queried as to whether the CAA was active or not. He made these comments upon his observation of the manner in which CAA was conducting itself at present in the wake of various issues encountered by consumers. “It appears as if the CAA is virtually mandated to cater to the interests of the Corporate sector. “CAA’s approach raises concerns as to whether it serves its channels as mandated or acting as an institution to more..

SL’s foreign reserves drop to US$ 1.5 billion

Dec 9 (DM) Whilst stating that SL’s foreign reserves have dropped to approx US $ 1.5 billion, State Minister Shehan Semasinghe today said there are certain groups engaged in drug trafficking and arms rackets who are out to destabilize the country both politically and financially. Responding to a question raised by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake in the House on an earlier date, State Minister said these groups more..

BIMSTEC Secretary-General calls on Prez

Dec 9 (CT) Secretary-General of The Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Tenzin Lekphell called on Prez Rajapaksa, yesterday. This is Lekphell’s first visit to Sri Lanka since being appointed as the SecretaryGeneral of BIMSTEC on 6 November last year. The Secretary-General expressed his appreciation to the President for Sri Lanka’s contributions to BIMSTEC, over the years, as a founding member of the organisation. more..

General Shavendra Silva to attend last rites of General Bipin Rawat

Dec 9 (ANI) Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Commander of SL Army General Shavendra Silva is expected to attend the last rites of CDS General Bipin Rawat here on Friday. The cremation will take place in Delhi on Friday with full military honours. The funeral procession will start from Kamraj Marg and go till Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment. CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others, who were on board IAF's Mi-17V5 helicopter, died in the crash more..

Video: No vehicle imports, no public sector recruitment in 2022: Basil

Dec 9 (AD) Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa says the importation of vehicles and recruitment of public sector employees will not be carried out in 2022. Addressing an event, the lawmaker stressed that the govt will have to impose restrictions on the aforementioned. Accordingly, new vehicles will not be imported and approval will not be given for recruitment to the public sector next year, he added. more..

Wasantha Karannagoda appointed new Governor of North Western Province

Dec 9 (EN) Prez Rajapaksa has appointed Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda as the new Governor of the North Western province, a spokesman said. President’s Spokesman Kingsly Rathnayaka confirmed. Karannagoda replaces former North Western province Governor Raja Collure who passed away due to COVID-19 earlier this week. He served as Navy Commander in the final phase of the SL govt’s war against the LTTE and also served as Secretary to the Ministry more..

Finance Ministry to brief the Cabinet on Yugadanavi power plant deal

Dec 9 (TM) The Ministry of Finance will brief the Cabinet of Ministers on the issue concerning the Yugadanavi Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya. The briefing will take place at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers scheduled for next Monday. According to reports, the Cabinet will be briefed on the agreement signed with the New Fortress Energy to transfer shares in West Coast Power Limited (WCP) – the owner of the 310 MW Yugadanavi Power Plant to the US-based company. more..

Over 400 school kids have tested Covid-positive

Dec 9 (TM) Whilst stating that 400 to 500 out of nearly four million schoolchildren in the country have been infected with Covid-19, the Ministry of Health has claimed that no large-scale Covid-19 clusters have been reported among schoolchildren in a context where the majority of the infections, which are on the rise, have been contracted from their home environments. Dr. Hemantha Herath said: more..

30 plus to get booster from tomorrow in Colombo

Dec 9 (DM) The booster dose (Pfizer) will be administered to individuals above 30 years of age from tomorrow in the city of Colombo, Regional Epidemiologist Dr. Dinu Guruge said. She said they will be sending an SMS to all the eligible citizens. "Please should not panic and create unnecessary public gathering as there are enough of vaccines for all," she tweeted. Dr Guruge said that all those who have received COVID jab from one of the vaccine centres in Colombo, will be getting an SMS. more..

1,374 waste disposal sites located along Kelani River: Amaraweera

Dec 9 (DM) There are 1,374 waste disposal sites in the Kelani River area from Seethawaka to Peliyagoda, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. The Minister expressed these views while participating in an inspection tour of the Kelani River today to inspect the places where the Kelani River is polluted. The observation tour was organized in collaboration with the SL Navy, the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and a number of other agencies. more..