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Detained poet Ahnaf Jazeem held under PTA released on bail

Dec 15 (TM) Ahnaf Jazeem, a Muslim teacher and poet who was arrested on 16 May 2020 under the provisions of PTA was released on bail today. Journalists for Democracy in SL (JDS) stated that the Puttalam High Court granted bail to Jazeem after he was held for 19 months in detention for publishing a Tamil language poetry anthology. Titled Navarasam authorities alleged that the anthology promoted an extremist ideology. more..

Litro agrees to display stickers on cylinders indicating LPG composition

Dec 15 (TM) Litro Gas Lanka Limited today (15) informed the Court of Appeal that the company will distribute liquefied petroleum (LP) gas that complies with the SLSI standards. This was conveyed when a petition filed by public interest litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku was taken up before Appeals Court Judges Ruwan Fernando and Sampath Wijeratne this morning. President’s Counsel Harsha Amarasuriya, who appeared on behalf of Litro Gas Lanka, told the judge more..

True labour leaders don’t fight for narrow political objectives: PM

Dec 15 (NR) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa says true labour leaders do not fight for narrow political objectives. Speaking during an event at the Temple Trees today, Premier claimed trade union struggles cannot be carried out in air conditioned rooms. PM said however no individual has been able to silence union leaders. PM said union leaders will continue to fight, despite the many challenges. Joining the event Minister of Labour Nimal Siripala de Silva said Cabinet Papers have been compiled more..

දියර පොහොරෙන් දියවෙන මහ කන්නය...

The Dengue vaccine

Dec 16 (CT) Due to better management, it’s learnt that dengue fatalities have been kept to a minimum this year, falling to an 11- year low. Dr. Shiranthi Seneviratne of the Health Ministry’s National Dengue Control Unit, said that the number of dengue deaths reported up to 1 p.m. yesterday, for the year thus far was 26, down from the 36 reported last year and 156 in 2019. The death rate was a low 0.08% up to 1 p.m. yesterday compared to a total of 30,765 dengue patients reported earlier. more..

Truth in part is a pernicious lie

Dec 16 (DM) Around 25 years ago, while working as a cashier in the University of Southern California bookstore, I had to ring up for a few items for a customer. The books included one by the French philosopher Michel Foucault. I can’t remember the title. It was a slow day at the counter and there was enough time for chit-chat in the course of which he said, I really like [Richard] Rorty because he kicks truth in the butt. We laughed, he paid, I put his books in a bag, gave him the receipt and more..

Parliamentary prorogation; a move to remove heads of COPE, COPA, PFC?

Dec 16 (DM) Prorogation of Parliament by Prez Rajapaksa has sparked a political debate with many interpreting it in different ways. It appears to have caused dissension within the govt with MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa being skeptical about the move and making remarks openly. Every President who served in the past prorogued Parliament, but the timing of the present prorogation with no logical reason left the scope for interpretation of more..

Downgrading Human Rights Commission: No remedy for victims

Dec 16 (GV) The recommendation to downgrade Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) from Grade A to Grade B by the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, which is the international body that regulates national human rights institutions, is not surprising. The govt of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has deliberately neglected the HRC during the past two years. This is not by accident. more..

Gas explosions: Our homes not safe anymore

Dec 16 (DM) Committees, expert committees and parliamentary consultative committees notwithstanding, the gas-linked explosions are continuing while a sense of fear and anxiety is spreading across the country with neither ministers nor state ministers or the two domestic gas suppliers accepting the responsibility for this appalling situation. Fighting shy of taking responsibility when something dreadful occurs is nothing unusual among SL’s politicians and bureaucrats. more..

New BOI chief urges employees to work collectively to revive economy

Dec 16 (FT) BOI new Chairman Raja Edirisuriya yesterday urged all employees to work collectively towards attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) critical to the revival of the economy and the country’s foreign currency reserves. “At BOI, our entire collective focus should be framed towards bringing in new investment and to facilitate the related licensing and operational activities. more..

Time for economic truth telling

Dec 16 (TM) How and when the Govt is going to change the trajectory of the economy is everyone’s question, and the Govt seems determined to try and find the answer to this question on its own, still holding on to the promise that economic recovery is possible and that it is just a matter of time and a few more austerity measures. However, the amount of time Sri Lanka has to pull off such a recovery before the economic crisis becomes unbearable to the common Sri Lankan is anybody’s guess, and more..

LSSP celebrates its 86th anniversary

Dec 16 (TM) The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), which was formed on 18 Dec 1935, celebrates its 86th anniversary tomorrow this year at the hall of the party headquarters. The theme is “Development towards the elimination of poverty and for social justice”. There must be a well thought out plan to face and overcome the economic crisis, as well as the health problems, Covid-19, and hunger. While supporting the proposal to have a development-oriented Budget, more..

අරුන් සිද්ධාර්ත්

NMSJ proposals for a new constitution – III

Dec 16 (Island) Highlights of the proposals made by the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) on the judiciary are the establishment of a Constitutional Court, a consultative process in appointing judges to the higher judiciary, inquiries into allegations against judges of the higher judiciary to be taken out of Parliament and the Court of Appeal to sit in the provinces as well and also exercise an original fundamental rights jurisdiction. All appointments to the Supreme Court and more..

Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada presents credentials

Dec 16 (FT) Sri Lanka’s Envoy to Canada Harsha Kumara Navaratne presented his credentials as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Governor General Mary May Simon of Canada at a ceremony held at the Rideau Hall in Ottawa on 7 December. Senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada and diplomats attended the ceremony which was held to mark the presentation of credentials by four envoys representing SL, Spain, Israel and US. more..

Four more MoUs by next week to lease state lands

Dec 16 (TM) The UDA is set to enter into four more MoUs with potential investors in relation to two land parcels from the property portfolio presented a few weeks ago. Speaking to us, UDA Acting Deputy Director General – Real Estate and Land Management E.A.C. Piyashantha stated: “We have already signed two MoUs in relation to the Dematagoda land as well for the cable car project in Nuwara Eliya. more..

Editorial: Heads China wins, tails SL loses

Dec 16 (Island) The govt has got telling lies down to a fine art. A few weeks ago, it declared that it would not pay for a consignment of contaminated Chinese fertiliser, whose samples had been found to contain some harmful bacteria. In October, Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said PM Rajapaksa had informed the Chinese Embassy in Colombo of the govt’s decision to reject the fertiliser stock in question. His ministry even ordered that a ship carrying the rejected fertiliser more..

772 persons test positive for COVID-19

Dec 16 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 case count rose to 576,966 with the detection of 772 COVID-19 patients yesterday. Authorities do not expect to make any significant changes to safety regulations currently in place. “We expect to extend the current guidelines instead of issuing new restrictions. We request the public to get the booster dose as soon as possible from closest hospital, MOH office, or vaccination centre as it has been decided to administer booster dose to everyone over 20” more..

Incentives such as pensions offered if migrant workers remit their money through...

Dec 16 (ST) Despite wide speculation that the Central Bank’s new repatriation of export proceeds would also apply to migrant remittance deposits, banking sources said this would not be so. The move came amid Central Bank attempts to revert migrant worker remittances to formal money transfer channels. The Central Bank will be paying an additional Rs. 8 for a US dollar to migrant workers who remit their earnings more..

Anjalika, on a mission to play Junior Wimbledon

Dec 16 (ST) It has been an incredible journey for the young tennis sensation Anjalika Kurera, who won the Women’s Singles title in the 106th Colombo Open Championships. This was the third time Anjalika tasted success within the last four years. She had previously won the Women’s Singles events in 2018 and 2019. Leading up to the National Championship this year, she had entirely stepped away from the sport for a year to focus on her studies. more..

Table-topper Jaffna Kings ready for Colombo Stars challenge

Dec 16 (DN) The defending champions Jaffna Kings led by Thisara Perera once again came up with fine performances to the first team to qualify for playoffs at the second edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). Their five victories with 10 points paved the way to come on top of the points table. They started with a defeat from Galle Gladiators but fought back strongly to maintain their winning form with a fine team effort. The last game between Galle Gladiators and Dambulla Giants was a good fight until more..

W.A. Wijewardena

SL U19s set for Asia Cup and World Cup

Dec 16 (DN) The Sri Lanka U19 Squad is all set to contest in the upcoming U19 Asia Cup, which is scheduled to be held from Dec 23 to 31 in UAE. The Asia Cup is very important for all participating teams as it is going to be held before the Youth World Cup scheduled to be held next January in the West Indies. Sri Lanka defeated defending U19 World Cup champions Bangladesh and England in home tours in the last couple of months and have built up confidence before these major tournaments. more..

Philippine based top ICT firm to enter SL

Dec 16 (DN) One of the largest ICT companies in the world based in the Philippines is keen to set up one of their operational centres in SL. This is subsequent to the new shifts of business models emerging after the pandemic where large global companies want to stop their concentration in one country, SL has a major opportunity to attract them, said Chairman of John Keells, Krishan Balendra at CCC organised Economic Summit. This would be a similar operation to HCL Technologies of more..

Bangladesh likely to extend currency swap agreement with Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (CT) A senior govt official said that the Govt was working to extend the US$ 250 million currency swap agreement inked by the Bangladesh Bank and the Central Bank of SL (CBSL) on Aug 3, for at least another three months or to obtain other similar alternative financial assistance through Bangladesh. The official said the move was likely to be the result of a telephone conversation between PM Rajapaksa more..

Sri Lanka hosts Asian Junior Chess Championships from Friday

Dec 16 (Island) Chess Federation of SL (CFSL) will host eight of their Asian counterparts when Asian Junior Chess Championship is held here from Friday. The event conducted by Asian Chess Federation will be organized by CFSL. It will be worked off from Dec 17 to 23 at Citrus Hotel, Waskaduwa. The event is for players in the Under 20 age category and will be held according to the Swiss System in 9 rounds. CFSL ranks the event as the most prestigious chess event for players more..

Sharp increase in pepper imports from Sri Lanka caps domestic prices

Dec 16 (FT) Heavy arrivals of imported pepper from SL have capped the domestic pepper price in India, said the Indian Pepper and Spices Traders, Growers and Planters’ Consortium. Pepper prices touched a record high of INR 532 per kg earlier this month, before declining on heavy arrival of imported SL pepper. Traders pointed out that increased availability of imported pepper in many consuming markets had led to a drop in domestic prices, which closed at INR 515 in Kochi on Tuesday. more..

Litro says stock tested in vapour, not liquid form

Dec 16 (TM) Following the SL Standards Institute (SLSI) stating that the latest stock of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imported by Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. does not meet the standard requirement for the odourant level of ethyl mercaptan, Litro Gas Lanka officials claimed that the tests had been carried on the vapour instead of the liquid form of LPG. “In the liquid form, the odourant level meets the required standards,” more..

First two weeks of December draw over 24,000 tourists

Dec 16 (FT) A record 24,773 tourists have arrived in the country within the first two weeks of December, reinforcing the industry’s optimism for the winter season. “There is a significant increase in the tourist arrivals to the country from September, and we hope the trend will continue,” Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday. With the arrivals from 1-12 December added, the cumulative tourist arrivals since the reopening of borders on 21 January is 129,762. more..

Ceylon cinnamon with Born in Sri Lanka tag promoted in Melbourne

Dec 16 (TM) Born in SL – Ceylon Cinnamon was the title of a virtual event conducted last week in Melbourne, Australia, with the participation of a panel of experts and businessmen in the field, for the promotion of Ceylon cinnamon in the Australian States of Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. The purpose of the event was to reinvigorate market enthusiasm for Ceylon cinnamon in Australia by bringing forth new information on various export products of Ceylon cinnamon manufactured more..

CID unlikely to summon Sirisena despite Prasanna allegation

Dec 16 (TM) The CID is not likely to record a statement from the former Prez and incumbent SLPP Govt MP Maithripala Sirisena over the complaint lodged by the Catholic Church regarding a statement made by Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to the effect that Sirisena is fully responsible for the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019. When queried as to whether Sirisena would be summoned before the CID or whether a statement more..

Vehicle importers call on govt to regulate trade

Dec 16 (DM) The govt was called on to regulate the importation of motor vehicles by the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL), so that local consumers are safeguarded against seasonal importers and malpractices in the trade. The Association asserted the need to streamline importation of vehicles and formulate a mechanism to identify genuine importers so that the market is not disrupted when the govt reverses its policy on the current import ban. more..

Foreign fishing vessel held with heroin valued at over Rs 2509 mil brought ashore

Dec 16 (SLN) A special operation mounted by the Navy in international waters south of Sri Lanka recently, led to intercept a fishing vessel of foreign origin carrying about 250kg and 996g (including packages) of heroin with 06 suspects. The consignment of illegal drugs valued at over Rs. 2509 million street value and the 06 foreign suspects were brought to the port of Colombo this morning (15) by SL Navy. Defence Secretary, Kamal Gunaratne and Commander of the Navy, more..

Economy contracts after 4 quarters of growth

Dec 16 (FT) The country’s economy between July and September has suffered its first contraction in five quarters. DCS yesterday announced that the economy shrank by 1.5% in the third quarter as against a 1.5% growth a year ago. The economy managed to grow year-on-year in the preceding four quarters, starting from the third quarter of 2020. Agricultural activities (accounting for 8.7% of GDP) recorded a slight positive growth of 1.7%. more..

Citing language barrier: Sritharan walks out of NP development meeting

Dec 16 (CT) TNA Jaffna District MP S. Sritharan walked out of the Northern Province development meeting Tuesday, saying the discussions were held in Sinhala and English and that he and the others could not understand the proceedings. “We could not understand and answer you because you speak English and Sinhala in this Northern Province meeting, therefore we are leaving the meeting,” he told the Media. He further said the meeting of the Northern Provincial Council was chaired by more..

Laugfs says not enough dollars for gas imports

Dec 16 (Island) Laughs Gas Company claimed that they were unable to import gas as they did not have adequate US dollars for that purpose. Laugfs Chairman, W. Wegapitiya said they had only supplied gas needed by factories. CAA yesterday instructed Litro Gas Company not to accept a shipment of 3,700 metric tonnes of gas imported by the company because it does not contain adequate amounts of ethyl mercaptan, which emanates a pungent smell in case of gas leaks. more..

Video: 'Few retired army officers holding govt posts not a sign of militarisation'

Dec 16 (AD) Secretary of Defence, General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, says that SL’s Armed Forces have played a vital role in ensuring national security as well as nation building process over the past two years. The Defence Secretary expressed these views while speaking at a media briefing on the activities of the three armed forces during the past two years. Defence Secretary Gunaratne said the country’s national security more..

Video: UN Assistant Secretary General Kanni Wignaraja calls on PM Mahinda Rajapaksa

Dec 16 (AD) UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Kanni Wignaraja called on Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapakse today (15). At the meeting, Ms. Wignaraja reinforced Sri Lanka’s longstanding partnership with UNDP while renewing the organization’s commitment and engagement towards building a digital driven, innovative, human centric, greener development pathway for SL, more..

Criticising SLFP in parliament: Prez, PM chastise govt backbenchers

Dec 16 (CT) Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa have instructed backbenchers in the ruling party to stop slinging mud at the SLFP, reminding them of the SLFP’s support in the Govt’s election victory, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Amaraweera said the SLFP will never desert the Govt, as the party made significant contributions in setting up the Govt. He claimed that two or three Govt backbenchers have attacked the SLFP, although the party had no conflict with them. more..

Yugadanavi dispute: Govt ready for dialogue with dissidents

Dec 16 (Island) Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has said that the govt is prepared to consider dissenting views expressed by various parties critical of the agreement on the Yugadanavi Power Plant situated at Kerawalapitiya. He said that the government would take, what he called, a comparatively good decision after examining concerns expressed as regards the agreement. Minister Ranatunga said so yesterday more..