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Sri Lanka lifts travel ban on foreigners from six African nations

Dec 10 (AD) Sri Lanka has lifted the travel ban imposed on foreign nationals who had been to six countries in the African content, says the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). According to CAA chairman, foreign arrivals with travel history to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini (Swaziland) will now be allowed entry to the island nation. Following the detection of the highly mutated Covid-19 variant of concern ‘Omicron’ sparked serious global worries, more..

SL foreign exchange swap discounts widen, fears of underworld grabbing kerb market

Dec 10 (EN) Upside down rates in SL’s rupee-dollar swap discounts continued to widen this week and market participants lamented the movement of a higher share of kerb market foreign exchange to the underworld, after a crackdown on authorized money changers. In the official foreign exchange market swap discounts continued to widen, reflecting low rupee yields and low dollar availability for funding purposes, market participants said. The spot/1 month was quoted -170/-150 cents this week. more..

Video: Anura says Yugadanavi deal not signed with New Fortress Energy

Dec 10 (AD) MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake today made a staggering revelation during the parliamentary session regarding the agreement signed for the transferring shares in West Coast Power Limited (WCP) - the owner of Yugadanavi Power Plant - and to develop a new LNG receiving, storage and regasification terminal. According to the JVP leader, the relevant deal was not signed with the United States-based more..

Sri Lanka Tourism kicks off aggressive media and travel influencer campaign for Russia...

Dec 10 (FT) Targeting on immediate promotional boost within potential Russian and Ukrainian winter holiday seekers, Sri Lanka Tourism organised massive media and influencer promotion in the months of November/December together with some high profile media and influencer delegations with a combined media reach of 12 million audience covering both countries. Considering the current global travel trends, this is expected to be an important strategic move for SL tourism more..

Video: Veteran film director Sunil Soma Peiris passes away

Dec 10 (AD) Veteran Sri Lankan film director Sunil Soma Peiris has passed away at the age of 72. According to family sources, he had passed away at his residence. He was a prolific director who directed the most number of films in Sri Lankan cinema with forty five commercial films in various genres to his name. Peiris was also credited as a screenplay writer, actor and editor. In 1985, he made his debut cinema direction with Obata Diwura Kiyannam. Then within 25 years, he made forty-five films. more..

CA SL’s new SAB campus set to transform higher education with new degrees and MBAs

Dec 10 (FT) In a landmark effort aimed at revolutionising higher education for students and professionals within the country, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of SL (CA SL) launched its very own campus on Thursday which will offer the highly-reputed BSc. Applied Accounting Degree, with plans afoot to also introduce several new Bachelor’s Degrees as well as a Master’s Degree. more..

World unprepared for future pandemics: Global Health Security Index 2021

Dec 10 (Island) The world remains unprepared for future epidemic and pandemic threats. Countries across all income levels remain dangerously unprepared to meet future epidemic and pandemic threats, according to the new 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index released Dec 8. World’s overall performance on the GHS Index score slipped to 38.9 (out of 100) in 2021, from a score of 40.2 in the GHS Index, 2019. This, even as infectious diseases are expected to have the greatest more..

Fr Jude requests inquiry into statement made by Prasanna Ranatunga

Dec 10 (TM) Rev. Fr. Jude Krishantha, Media Director of Archdiocese of Colombo has lodged an entry with the CID to inquire into a statement which was made by Minister Prasanna Ranatunga who claimed that former Prez Maithripala Sirisena is responsible for the Easter attacks that took place in 2019. The entry was lodged by Fr Jude Krishantha along with other Catholic Priests this morning. “On the 26th of Nov, Minister Ranatunga stated that former Prez Sirisena should be held more..

බොදු බල සේනා CEO ඩිලන්ත විතානගේ

SL women cricket team stranded in Zimbabwe returns

Dec 10 (DM) The Sri Lanka women's cricket team returned to Sri Lanka today after having been stranded for 12 days in Zimbabwe due to Covid-19. Six Sri Lanka women cricketers who took part in a World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe and an official of the SL women’s cricket team were infected with coronavirus. With the ban on the tourists from several Southern African countries entering the country, it has become difficult to bring the SL women’s cricket team from Harare. more..

Closing date for university registration extended: UGC

Dec 10 (AD) The UGC says that the closing date for students to register themselves at the respective state universities has been extended until Dec 16, 2021. It had been previously announced that today would be the closing date for students to register, however this has been extended by another six days. Uni registration for 2020 G.C.E. A/L students who have qualified for entry to state universities, had commenced on Nov 26. The results of 2020 G.C.E. A/L Exam were released on May 04 more..

Sumanthiran asks Ali Sabry to resign

Dec 10 (Island) TNA MP MA Sumanthiran yesterday called on Justice Minister Ali Sabry to resign from his post. “I do not think you can sell your dignity and continue to hold the office of Justice Minister, merely telling the country or your community that you are trying to resign but you are unable to do so. It is a joke. It doesn’t do you any good. So, my plea to you, even in this august assembly I can address more..

Govt using PTA to jail dissidents, silence public

Dec 10 (CT) The Govt is misusing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to scare and silence the public and unfairly lock up opponents for months, SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne alleged in Parliament. Speaking during the third reading debate on the Justice Ministry Expenditure Head, Wickramaratne noted that lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, who was arrested under the PTA, has been in custody for more than 600 days. “He is being kept in custody only because authorities want him in custody. more..

Democracy not as standard as Coca-Cola: Chinese envoy to Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (Xinhua) Democracy is not like Coca-Cola which has one formula and tastes the same around the world, Ambassador of China to SL Qi Zhenhong said in an opinion column published in the daily newspaper The Island. "Democracy and human rights have been frequently manipulated by a few countries to exercise interference and hegemony, disturbing and disordering the world," Ambassador Qi said. Qi said that democracy should be like flowers blooming in the garden, more..

Clandestine offshore transactions: Finally, Nirupama’s statement recorded

Dec 10 (Island) The police have questioned former MP Nirupama Rajapaksa as regards revelations made by Pandora Papers pertaining to secret offshore financial transactions. The police unit assigned to the CIABOC recorded the former Deputy Minister’s statement on Dec 1, though the outfit was not aware of the development. When The Island asked Secretary to the CIABOC Apsara Caldera on Dec 3 whether more..

AG won’t appear for SATHOSA

Dec 10 (CT) Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam informed the Supreme Court that he will not be representing SATHOSA, in the case where it has been charged with selling 19 containers of garlic, which had been provided by the SLPA, to a private firm for a sum of Rs 7.4 million. He further told the Apex Court that he has thus far not decided on whether he would represent the SLPA or not. Senior State Counsel Nirmalan Wigneswaran, appearing for the Attorney General made this submission more..

SLSMU to strike throughout December

Dec 10 (CT) SL Station Masters' Union (SLSMU) executive committee has unanimously decided to initiate a massive trade union action in the month of December. The decision was made after the Railway Department's management failed to provide adequate solutions to several issues faced by station masters over a lengthy period of time, according to SLSMU. While the issues have been discussed on a regular basis with the former and current General Managers of the Railways, more..

Video: Third reading of Budget 2022 passed in Parliament

Dec 10 (AD) Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill 2022 was passed in Parliament with amendments today by a majority of 93 votes. Announcing the results of the division which followed the conclusion of the Committee State Debate, the Speaker said that 157 lawmakers had voted in favour while 64 voted against. The parliament was subsequently adjourned until Jan 11, 2022. The Committee Stage Debate commenced on more..

Current veggie prices to remain for next two months

Dec 10 (CT) Vegetable prices will not increase further and the current increased prices will remain without change for the next two months, Manager of Dambulla Economic Centre, Christy Wijeratne said. When contacted, he noted that at present, they are experiencing a price hike in vegetables and the major reason is due to the shortage of supply. “All including farmers, suppliers, customers and others have been severely affected by this and the public is expected to experience a vegetable shortage more..

Testimony of John Sifton on Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (HRW) Thank you for providing Human Rights Watch with the opportunity to testify on SL today. It is more than 12 years since the end of SL’s brutal civil war, and the defeat of the separatist LTTE. However, as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said earlier this year, the country’s human rights situation is now deteriorating. The govt is, under Prez Rajapaksa, in a state of denial about the past, and there are warning signals that grave rights violations more..

Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lankan leg spinner, wants to be his own man

Dec 10 (ANI) SL spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, who is having a good season at the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2021, hopes that one day he will be able to take the wicket of one of his favourite batters, Virat Kohli. Hasaranga is playing for Jaffna Kings in the ongoing LPL and has been in superb form, having already picked five wickets in three games. "I would love to get my favourite cricketer Virat Kohli's wicket someday. more..

Notice for travellers aged 12 years & above arriving in Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (AD) Director-General of Health Services says children aged below 12 years arriving in SL are not required to carry a negative report of a Covid-19 PCR test. However, it is mandatory for travellers of 12 years and above to carry a negative test report of a PCR test performed 72 hours before embarking on the island, Dr. Asela Gunawardena noted. If the travellers have a history of Covid-19 infection during the past three months, instead of a PCR test, they should arrive with a negative report more..

Priyantha Kumara case: Special prosecution team from Lahore to visit Sialkot

Dec 10 (DT) On Friday, a special prosecution team from Lahore will meet officials of the Sialkot police in the high-profile case of SL national Priyantha Kumara who was lynched by a mob. However, the team will visit Rajco Industries and inspect the factory site. The police will provide the prosecution with 12-hour CCTV footage of the incident obtained from over 100 cameras. Furthermore, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed the team to ensure that the trial of the suspects is more..

New rules to be introduced to regulate Spas

Dec 10 (Island) Indigenous medicine and Ayurveda had been identified as a sector that can earn a lot of foreign exchange for SL, and a number of initiatives had been launched to tap into this market, Commissioner of Ayurveda, Dr. M.D.J. Abeygunawardena said, addressing a virtual media conference under the theme Indigenous Medicine to the World. Indigenous medicine and Ayurveda traditional medicine systems had a very high more..

'Local milk production 80% by 2024'

Dec 10 (CT) Local milk production will be increased from the current 40 per cent to 80 per cent in 2024 and over 15,000 dairy cattle will be imported for such purpose, Minister of Agriculture, Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. Addressing the Dairy Production Development Programme For The Year 2022 organised by the State Ministry of Livestock, Farm Promotion and Dairy and poultry related Industries held yesterday, he said over 60 per cent of the milk powder in the country is imported and more..

Sri Lanka exporters optimistic in post-pandemic revival despite cost spike: survey

Dec 10 (EN) With their businesses projected to grow despite increased costs, SL’s exporters, mostly small and medium, are looking to hire new workers, a survey has found. With an increase in the use of online channels, exporters are optimistic about growth despite rising raw material costs and an increase in taxes. “SL exporters are confident in their outlook for export growth, despite challenges faced in the first half of 2021,” said the summary of the bi-annual Export Barometer Survey designed more..

අයවැය ගැන පක්ෂ විපක්ෂ අදහස්...

Human rights violated by terrorism

Dec 11 (DM) The Catholic Bishops conference of SL, the Catholic people, the Bishops of the Church of Ceylon better known as the Anglican Church and the Church community have told the Government that two-and-a-half years after the Easter Sunday massacre, there seems to be more focus on harassing those calling for truth and justice on behalf of those who lost their lives, rather than ascertaining and revealing the masterminds behind the biggest civilian massacre of the post-civil war era. more..

Hurdles to conquer from the bitter past

Dec 11 (DM) A group of female human rights activists, lawyers, academics and journalists recently visited the Eastern province and had discussions with different stakeholders including the families of those affected following the Easter Sunday attacks, different religious leaders in the area and authorities. Following is a statement based on their visit and the discussion. “We, the undersigned, undertook a visit to Batticaloa in the Eastern Province on 5 and 6 Dec to ascertain the current plight of more..

SJB Boycotts Budget Debate, Opts for Alternative Parliament

Dec 11 (CT) A committee comprising eleven senior MPs, from both the Govt and the Opposition, was formed, by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, to probe the unruly conduct that had taken place in the Chamber and Lobby on 3 and 4 Dec. Speaker on Monday (6) announced this decision. This was after a series of clashes between the Govt and Opposition occurred on those two days, following SJB MP more..

US designation of Sri Lankans: Seeds of hope for victim families

Dec 11 (CT) Victim families and human rights groups have welcomed the designation by the United States Govt of a SL naval intelligence official allegedly involved in enforced disappearances in 2008 and 2009, as well as a soldier convicted of extrajudicial killings of Tamils in 2000 but then controversially pardoned[1]. The two named individuals are Chandana Hettiarachchi and Sunil Ratnayake respectively. Lt. Cmdr. HMPCK Hettiarachchi was a naval intelligence officer and a prime suspect, more..

Why the Poor remain Poor!

Dec 11 (CT) Pretty much everyone accepts that inequality in income and wealth is a big and increasing problem in Sri Lanka. But it is doubtful that most people truly grasp how successfully the Sri Lankan elites have captured the benefits of economic growth: especially in the last forty-three years since the introduction of the so-called open economic policy. Moreover, it is not clear to ordinary people how much the resulting inequality has cost their living standards. more..

Guaranteeing safety of migrant workers: Lessons learnt from Sialkot lynching

Dec 11 (CT) In the face of escalating threats to migrant workers’ self-sufficiency, financial instability, and marginalisation and stigma in the name of the pandemic, religious extremism and racism have taken a back seat, occasionally rearing its ugly head. Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana (48), the most recent victim in Pakistan where a mob killed and had a fanfare taking selfies, demonstrates how extremist people still live among us and more..

Combatting corruption is everybody’s fight

Dec 11 (GV) The sad story of corruption in SL stretches far back and, by all accounts, will be stretching far into the future as well. On the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) compiled by Transparency International, SL slid to 94th place out of 180 countries, from 89th place in 2018. Every day there is a new story of some scam in public institutions from Sri Lankan Airlines to Sathosa. Even the sacred game of cricket is not exempt. Instances of impunity and turning a blind eye more..

Ensure safety of foreign workers

Dec 11 (CT) The nation stood in horrified shock last week, as videos and photos of a human being, who was being mercilessly beaten and then burnt by an enraged mob, were going viral on social media. The angry mob surrounded Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana, a textile engineer by profession, on a street in Sialkot, Punjab in Pakistan, and killed him in broad daylight, to the cheer of hundreds of spectators. Although this incident highlights a number of issues, including the absence of more..

Hiru TV Balaya

Editorial: Three cheers for JVP!

Dec 11 (Island) JVP leader and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday tabled in Parliament a copy of the questionable New Fortress agreement, which the govt had kept under wraps for weeks. The shady deal has triggered widespread protests, a legal battle and dissension in the SLPP and the Cabinet. According to the document disclosed by the JVP, the agreement is between the govt and a company called NFE Sri Lanka Power Holding LLC. Minister Gamini Lokuge, promised to present more..

Clarence Wijewardena: King of Lankan pop

Dec 11 (Island) It has been 25 years since the passing away of Sri Lankan music legend Clarence Wijewardena, who braved the storms of musical seas, to create his own identity. However, his melodies have found permanent residence in our hearts. The trailblazer of Sri Lankan pop music is long dead. Yet, his musical genius and vision, which revolutionised, 70’s music through the new wave of music, Sinhala pop, is appreciated even decades later. more..

An insight into power outages: Can investigations unravel sabotage?

Dec 11 (CT) SL suffered an islandwide power outage last week, which lasted more than five hours, amid persistent fears of a fuel crisis and a shortage of LPG cylinders, raising one’s eyebrows as to who was behind it. Govt initially attributed the blackout to a transmission line breakdown, but CEB Chairman, M.C. Ferdinando later claimed that he suspects sabotage and that an investigation would be conducted. more..

A hearing for Rev. Gnanasara Thero’s claims

Dec 11 (DM) Rev. Gnanasara Thero and his Hindu counterpart Maruwanpulavu Sachithananthan allege unethical conversions by Christians. As a Christian, knowing many converts to Christianity as sincere and genuine, I have always been dismissive of such claims and still am. Recent events however make me think that there is another dimension of their accusations that we need to give heed to. It is unethical leadership among Christians who run the new churches and are a blight on Christianity. more..