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Sri Lanka rupee dollar swap discounts deepen, kerb greenbacks 239 rupees

Dec 1 (EN) SL rupee continued to be under pressure without active trading at the 203 decreed non-credible peg market participants said with both the swap discounts continued to widen as dollar liquidity tightened, market participants said. The spot /1month was quoted around -150/-80 cents up from -90/-50 on Nov 11. Spot /3months was around -450/-400 from 350/300 cents. Spot/ 6 months was -800/-700 cents. The swap discount indicates that anyone swapping dollars for rupees at 203 more..

Video: Police probe private secretaries of two ministers over search for buried LTTE gold

Dec 1 (AD) Police have launched an investigation regarding two secretaries belonging to the personal staff of two Cabinet Ministers. The inquiry is being carried out with regard to accusations that the two members of ministerial personal staff had attempted to secretly unearth a stock of gold said to have been buried in the Pudukuduirippu area in Mullaitivu District during the war. It has been reported that the two individuals in question serve as more..

Basil Rajapaksa arrives in New Delhi

Dec 1 (LM) Sri Lankan finance minister Basil Rajapaksa is scheduled to meet top Indian ministers on Wednesday as the two countries look at increasing collaboration after a strain in ties earlier this year caused by Colombo cancelling a commercial contract it had signed with India and Japan. Rajapaksa, brother to president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday. Basil Rajapaksa was inducted into the SL cabinet in July this year. more..

UNP questions CB Governor over IMF claims

Dec 1 (TM) The UNP has raised questions over the claims made by Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal regarding the conditions being laid down by the IMF. UNP Working Committee Member Dinouk Colombage, requested the Central Bank Governor to reveal what conditions have been proposed by the IMF if they were to provide assistance to the country. “Governor has claimed that if SL was to seek out assistance from the IMF we would have to devalue the currency by 30% and more..

Speaker blasts ministers who often skip sittings

Dec 1 (Island) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena expressed his displeasure over ministers skipping Parliament sessions while there were questions that they should be answering. Following a heated argument between govt MPs and their Opposition counterparts over explosions caused by defective domestic gas cylinders, the Speaker said that it was highly regrettable that there were no front-row ministers to respond to more..

SL women company directors forum could help boost board representation: IFC

Dec 1 (EN) International Finance Corporation, a unit Washington-based World Bank which promotes private sector said a forum of women directors has been set up to help boost board representation. The percentage of women among board members of listed entities in SL is low compared to South Asian peers such as India (12%) and Bangladesh (17%). According to IFC’s latest findings, around 9.5% of board directors on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) listed companies are women. more..

Illicit booze consumption up 300% laments Gayantha Karunatilaka

Dec 1 (FT) SJB MP Gayantha Karunatilaka said in Parliament yesterday that illicit alcohol consumption in SL has risen over 300% in recent times, adding considerable stress to Govt health expenditure. He noted that according to WHO estimates, average global alcohol consumption had risen 55% whilst the number in SL stood at 95%. He said that this painted a grave picture of alcohol consumption and regulations in Sri Lanka, and that the Govt needs to focus more attention on this aspect. more..

Mendis six-for leaves Sri Lanka vs West Indies Test evenly poised

Dec 1 (CI) On the first full, rain-absent, day's play of the Test, Sri Lanka and West Indies set up what promises to be the quintessential Galle classic. At stumps, the hosts in their second innings trail by three runs with eight wickets in hand, on a pitch that has produced 21 wickets over the past two days - though the last two will have the Dimuth Karunaratne's side kicking themselves, both being entirely avoidable run outs. more..

RW not joining govt

Dec 1 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has no intention of joining the Govt, sources close to the former PM told Daily Mirror last night. Speculation arose that Wickremesinghe is to join the Govt after it was announced he will attend the 5th Indian Ocean Conference scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi together with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, UNP sources rubbished the claims saying he is focused on strengthening the party with the support of young processionals. more..

Video: Lalith Warnakumara sworn in as a MP

Dec 1 (AD) Lalith Warnakumara took oaths as a MP for the Kalutara District today. He was appointed to fill the parliamentary seat left vacant after the resignation of SLPP MP Mahinda Samarasinghe. Election Commission published a special gazette notification last night to announce the appointment. It was issued by the chairman of the election body, Nimal Punchihewa and its members. Warnakumara, who secured a total of 46,361 preferential votes in the 2020 General Election, more..

Sri Lanka pledges to corporate with UN on labour issues: MFA

Dec 1 (EN) SL has pledged to corporate with the United Nations system to protect vulnerable labour groups while the island nation was appraised by the global body on the progress it has made with regard to making the country a child labour free zone, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said. UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery Tomoya Obokata is in SL on a seven-day visit to examine labour conditions in various more..

New chairman appointed to Paddy Marketing Board

Dec 1 (TM) Former senior administrative officer Neil de Alwis has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board. The appointment was confirmed by the Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage today. The position was left vacant after the previous chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board, Dr. Jatal Mannapperuma, had resigned from the position on Sept 15, citing several reasons. Mr. Neil de Alwis had previously served as the Govt Agent of Ampara District more..

GMOA sabotaging hospital administration: JJB

Dec 1 (CT) JJB MP Vijitha Herath yesterday alleged the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) is pressuring the Health Ministry not to appoint medical administrator grade doctors to hospitals, in order to carry out its own agenda in the Health Ministry and State hospitals. Participating in the Committee Stage Debate on the Expenditure Head of the Health Ministry, Herath said there is an administrative crisis in the country’s health service. “The success of any institute depends on its administration. more..

How Sri Lanka’s failed organic utopia hurt its hopes of a Chinese bailout

Dec 1 (SCMP) As SL’s short-lived plan to transform itself into an organic utopia collapsed last month, a diplomatic dispute with China over a fertiliser shipment threatened the debt-laden island nation’s hunt for a lifeline to shore up its crisis-hit economy as it stares down the barrel of a default. Colombo’s ban on pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers, which came into effect in May, was fuelled by concerns for citizens’ health, more..

Prez gets tough on cabinet over gas crisis

Dec 1 (DM) Prez Rajapaksa, on Monday evening, urged his cabinet of ministers to immediately inquire into the incidents of LP gas-related explosions reported from various parts of the country, causing a wave of fear among consumers. Political sources said that when the matter was raised at the cabinet meeting, Prez Rajapaksa had inquired as to why these explosions were occurring, to which Minister Bandula Gunawardena had responded saying this maybe a result of some manipulation. more..

Jaffna peninsula may have oil: Minister

Dec 1 (EN) There are signs that hydrocarbon resources may be present in terrestrial Jaffna peninsula and the shallow waters of the Cauvery basin which may be easier to exploit, Minister Udaya Gammanpila said. SL had previously done surveys only in the deeper waters like the Mannar basin around SL but the 300 metre depth Cauvery basin had not been surveyed, Minister said. But BellGeospace was now conducting aerial surveys in shallows seas in the North. more..

SJB sternly requests Govt to compensate LP gas explosion victims

Dec 1 (TM) The SJB has sternly requested for the Govt to arrange for damages to be paid to the victims of the recent LP gas cylinder explosions and bring the relevant companies to justice. This was made known through a media release by SJB secretary MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara today. In his statement Bandara says that within a short period of time, over 30 LP gas cylinder explosions had occurred, more..

Moragoda seeks greater defence and security cooperation with India

Dec 1 (TM) Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda explored avenues of further augmenting defence and security cooperation with India, when he met the Defence Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, on Nov. 30. Minister Singh extended a warm welcome to High Commissioner Moragoda. The duo discussed a range of issues, reviewing the existing excellent defence and security ties between the two countries, the SL High Commission in India said. more..

SL reports 559 new Covid cases, 27 deaths

Dec 1 (AD) Director General of Health Services has confirmed another 26 coronavirus related deaths for Nov 30, increasing the death toll in the country due to the virus pandemic to 14,372. According to the figures released by the Govt. The deaths reported today include 11 males and 15 females. Eleven of the patients are between the ages 30-59 years while the remaining 15 are in the age group of 60 years and above. Meanwhile the Health Ministry says that another 559 persons have tested positive more..

Devananda elaborates repatriation plan for Lankan refugees in India

Dec 1 (CT) Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda yesterday stated that Sri Lankan refugees, currently living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, India can repatriate to their motherland at any moment and can live in their native places with dignity and respect. This matter as well as illegal poaching by Indian fishermen in SL waters was discussed with SL Deputy High Commissioner D.K. Venkateshvaran (Chennai) during a meeting more..

Ministerial Consultative Committee on Trade takes up gas cylinder issue

Dec 1 (AD) A special meeting of the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Trade was held in Parliament today to seek the views and solutions of several parties regarding the sudden spike in gas cylinder-related incidents reported over the past couple of days. Ministerial Consultative Committee met under the chairmanship of Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana and State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna was present during the discussion held. more..

ACBOA suggests lowering bread weight to keep prices fair

Dec 1 (CT) All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) is planning to lobby the Govt to reduce the permitted weight of a loaf of bread in a bid to reduce prices. ACBOA President N.K. Jayawardane said if the weight of a loaf of bread is reduced by 5g, the price could also be lowered by Rs. 5. The permitted weight of a loaf of bread is 450g. “Only large-scale bakery owners produce and sell bread as per the permitted weight and stick to the permitted price. Most bakery owners in rural areas bake and more..

Foreign reserves drops to USD 1.5 bn: Eran

Dec 1 (Island) The opposition alleged in Parliament that foreign reserves had dropped to $ 1.5 billion, which included the gold reserves of $ 300 million. The govt did not refute the Opposition claim that the available cash reserve was only USD 1.5 billion less than one month’s import payment, lowest in history, SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne said. He said that as a result, essential food items and fuel shortages would follow and the country could more..

Fresh troops leave for overseas deployment

Dec 1 (Island) The annual change of personnel of the SL Air Force (SLAF) Aviation Unit, under the United Nations helicopter deployment in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) left the country during the early hours yesterday. The 7th contingent of 110 personnel, comprised 20 Officers and 90 Airmen, departed to Central Africa from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Wing Commander Sampath Liyanarachchi will lead this Contingent as the Contingent Commander. more..

'25% of private buses use kerosene and claim govt. imports low-quality diesel'

Dec 1 (DM) Nearly 25% of the private buses run on kerosene instead of diesel, and bus owners blame the government for importing low-quality diesel, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said. He said one litre of kerosene was sold in filling stations for Rs. 77 and one litre of diesel was sold for Rs. 111. "Because of the price difference between kerosene and diesel, most of the private buses run on kerosene," he said. "Somehow, one chairman of the private bus association more..

ගෑස් ගැන ප්‍රමිති ආයතනයේ නිවේදනය...

Govt’s duty to ensure people’s safety

Dec 2 (DM) The series of gas-cylinder related explosions, more than 30 in November alone reported from several parts of SL, is a matter of grave concern causing much fear and trepidation among the millions of domestic-gas users across the country. It is even more alarming, considering the fact, that little or nothing is known about the exact causes leading to these explosions in which one life was lost and several homes and restaurants were severely damaged. more..

We were taken on a Majestic Ride

Dec 2 (DM) The above captioned article appearing in your issue of 29th November, by popular journalist K.K.S. Perera, cannot be taken lying down by most of the voters when he says “The voters are to be blamed, because they keep voting for the same vulgar MPs who misbehaved or robbed our money at every previous parliament; just because they assert to fight for their class, race, caste or religion” also “Our legislature is in a mess because of the rogues, thugs and hooligans sent by voters more..

Omicron: Can Sri Lanka save herself?

Dec 2 (DM) Just when world economies were recovering from various variants of COVID-19 the WHO recently announced the spread of a new COVID variant, Omicron. Even though research studies are still at a preliminary stage, health researchers warn that this variant could be far more transmissible and lethal than other variants including Delta. However, several MPs recently expressed their views regarding the new variant and more..

Govt fails to tame inflation

Dec 2 (CT) The main pivot to uplift a country’s real growth that spawns employment and doesn’t overburden its debt profile is investor confidence. If that confidence is lacking, a low interest rate regime in place by chance or by design is not going to uplift real growth. Last month, inflation hit a 154 month high of 9.9%. Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), whilst acknowledging and further forecasting such inflationary developments, attributed those to supply side effects (Friday’s CT). more..

Custodial deaths, dystopian truths

Dec 2 (TM) One thing Sri Lankans always advocate but rarely do is putting themselves in the shoes of another. We do it only when it resonates with what we always believed in, and there is hardly any room for a change of attitudes. The same was observed during the past few years when a spate of deaths of suspects or accused implicated in organised criminal activities who were killed in crossfire during attempts by the Police to find hidden weapons and raids, which the people thought was justifiable, more..

Origins of Ceylon Moors

Dec 2 (CT) There is no doubt as to where certain Muslim communities in SL, such as the Malays, Bohras, Memons and Pathans, came from. But theories on the origin of SL or Ceylon Moors, who are the majority among Muslims in the island, are both varied. Today, the Ceylon Moors emphatically claim that they are of Arab origin. But SL scholar Ameer Ali says that they are of mixed origin in his paper in Asian Studies entitled: more..

Is there a credible political alternative for SL?

Dec 2 (GV) Why do SL voters elect and re-elect corrupt and discredited politicians? This topic has been much talked about and commented on in newspapers and social media ever since Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a rare moment of self-realisation, asked this question from the voters of SL. Why indeed? Two years before the president posed this question in Nov 2019, I asked myself the very same question when to my disbelief and dismay, 6.9 million voters elected Gotabaya Rajapaksa more..

Sirisena Cooray: The manager of victory

Dec 2 (Island) My mother told me, decades later, that she was sure Sirisena Cooray knew I was under 18 when he let me slip into the cinema in my long-trousers for the 9:30pm show for movies that were ‘adults only’, having conspired with my father. She remembered Mr. Cooray laconically saying wait till the lights go off. What surprised me was that my mother, too, had spotted our scam. Sirisena Cooray was the manager at Ceylon Theaters, which was the role in which Killi Rajamahendran became more..

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී මුජිබර් රහුමාන්

Editorial: Opposition and Sudden Savant syndrome

Dec 2 (Island) Why is it that only the Opposition politicians have brainwaves? Exceptional abilities are said to emerge in some ordinary people after brain injury or disease. We reported a few years ago that an American youth who dropped out of college as he was extremely weak in mathematics had become a brilliant mathematician all of a sudden after being hit in the head by a flying bottle in a pub. (Commenting on the incident, we warned the SL youth that suffering head injuries in pub more..

COVID-19 and structural inequalities impede AIDS battle

Dec 2 (GV) World AIDS Day is an annual event commemorated worldwide since 1988 on December 1. It is an opportunity to refocus and reinforce the global efforts to prevent new HIV infections, increase HIV awareness and knowledge and support those living with HIV. This year, the theme of World AIDS Day is the urgent need to end the inequalities that drive AIDS and other pandemics around the world. “Without bold action against inequalities, the world risks missing targets to end AIDS by 2030, more..

Move to legalise medical cannabis exports hailed

Dec 2 (DN) The export community and the Chambers hailed the move by the govt to bring in a bill to legalise the export of medical cannabis. This bill will be presented in Parliament in 3 months, State Minister Sisira Jayakody told Parliament. Former Chairman EDB and Former Chairman SL Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) Dr. Rohantha Athukorala said, “given the foreign currency challenge, we as a country must more..

Quality of policies and institutions a must

Dec 2 (CT) Countries with greater economic freedom exhibit better performance, Sirimal Abeyratne, Professor in Economics and Head of the Department of Economics at the Colombo University, stated in a booklet titled Economic Freedom of Sri Lanka: Twists and Turns. Sri Lanka, which has scored 6.88 for its Economic Freedom Index in 2018, is ranked 83rd position out of 162 countries. Thus, it is a moderately free economy in the world as per our country classification. more..

Dimuth climbs up in Test Player Rankings

Dec 2 (Island) SL’s win in the first match of the ICC Men’s Test Championship has put the team on top of the table powered by MRF (on percentage points), and several players including skipper Dimuth Karunaratne have improved their rankings after the first Test in Galle. Captain Karunaratne’s Player of the Match effort of 147 and 83 has lifted him four places to seventh, just one below his career-best sixth position attained in Aug 2019. Former captains Angelo Mathews (up 2 places to 23rd) more..