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Fence sitting; frank comment; front-paged on NYT

Dec 17 (Island) SJB challenges Vasu. Udaya and Wimal to leave Cabinet, so read page one headline of Monday’s The Island. Cass adds her vote to this proposition as will so many other Lankan Ordinaries. At least will they vote against the Yugadanavi deal which they are protesting about? The deal was signed and sealed and we thought the entire Cabinet of Ministers had agreed to the project, promoted by the Finance Minister. But then these Cabinet Ministers said no vote nor discussion more..

GDP up 4.4% in first 9 months: DCS

Dec 17 (FT) Despite the contraction in the third quarter, the country’s economy has grown by 4.4% in the first nine months of this year, the DCS said yesterday. In a follow-up announcement to Wednesday’s release of 3Q GDP data, DCS said the GDP in the first nine months of 2021 was Rs. 7 trillion up from Rs. 6.7 trillion in 2020 and Rs. 7.15 trillion in 2019 corresponding period. The 3Q in 2021 suffered the first contraction of 1.5% after year-on-year growth in the previous four quarters. more..

Arrears owed to fertiliser importers to be settled

Dec 17 (TM) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage is to hold discussions with the Finance Ministry to facilitate the settlement of a portion of arrears payments owed by the general Treasury to fertiliser importers, before 5 Jan 2022, as fertiliser imports targeting the Yala cultivation season have been affected due to the lack of funding. A discussion was held at the Agriculture Ministry yesterday to discuss more..

Cadmore hero as Jaffna Kings demolish Stars in style

Dec 17 (CT) Tom Kohler Cadmore was the hero with the bat for Jaffna Kings as they continued their domination of the LPL 2021 second edition by beating Colombo Stars by a comfortable 102 runs in the 17th match played at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. Having posted 193 for 5 wickets off 20 overs after winning the toss, Jaffna Kings bowled out Colombo Stars for 91 in 15.5 overs with Jayden Seales the pick of the bowlers claiming 4 for 13, while Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, more..

Josephians record their 24th win

Dec 17 (CT) Josephians recorded their 24th win in the history of the Joe-Pete limited overs game for the Rev. Fr. Peter Pillai memorial trophy yesterday at the SSC, when they beat Peterites by 85 runs. Josephians won the toss and electing to bat were bowled out for 200 runs in 49.1 overs. Hiran Jayasundara (58) and Mithira Thenura (52) were involved in 101 runs stand for the 4th wicket. Hiran scored 58 runs in 101 balls with 4 boundaries, while Mithira made 52 runs in 89 balls. more..

219,997 persons receive COVID-19 vaccines

Dec 17 (FT) COVID-19 vaccines were administrated to 219,997 persons on Wednesday and the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to 74.24% of the country’s population. 64.18% of the population has received the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Epidemiology Unit states 15,962,904 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 13,801,586 persons have received the second dose as well. The third dose has been administered to 1,869,758 persons. more..

UNP faults Basil for holidaying amidst economic crisis

Dec 17 (FT) The UNP yesterday questioned the absence of the Finance Minister despite the ongoing financial crisis. UNP Working Committee Member Dinouk Colombage questioned why the Finance Minister felt it was necessary to go on holiday at a time of financial uncertainty in the country. “The cost of living is rising daily, food items are not available in the shops, the public are losing jobs. However, the Minister of Finance has ignored all these problems and gone on a holiday with his family. more..

රොෂාන් මහානාමගේ වේදනාත්මක සමුගැනීම

Omicron patient count rises to four

Dec 17 (FT) Three more Omicron cases have been detected in Sri Lanka, raising the total number of patients to have contracted the Omicron COVID-19 variant in SL to four. According to Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, the numbers are expected to add up. “Get yourself boosted. As at [yesterday], four confirmed from our laboratory,” he tweeted. Dr. Hemantha Herath states that two persons identified to have contracted the Omicron variant were from samples collected at the BIA. more..

Apparel sector well-positioned to reach $8 b

Dec 17 (DN) SL’s apparel industry expressed confidence in reaching its target of $8 billion in export earnings by 2025, by implementing the concerted initiatives put in place by the sector, in collaboration with the authorities. These views were expressed at the SL Economic Summit 2021, the flagship event of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, held recently, under the theme Springboard for revival: Opportunity to reset. Strengthening backward vertical integration and more..

Queen of Asia is likely to be displayed at Dubai Expo

Dec 17 (TM) Discussions are currently being held regarding displaying the recently discovered natural corundum blue sapphire, named Queen of Asia, at Expo 2020 Dubai. Gem and Jewellery Research and Training Institute (GJRTI) Chairman Thilak Weerasinghe stated: “It has been requested to display this (Queen of Asia) at the Dubai show (Expo 2020 Dubai).” He said that the Expo is expected to hold Sapphire Day more..

Inter-Parliamentary Union adopts unanimous decision on Bathiudeen’s unlawful arrest

Dec 17 (FT) Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the largest international organisation of national parliaments with a membership of 179 national parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary assemblies, which investigated the arrest and detention of Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen, issued its decision on the matter yesterday. A complaint filed on behalf of Bathiudeen in May following his arrest on 24 April was investigated vigorously by the IPU. more..

Weather wreaks havoc on vegetable cultivations

Dec 17 (Island) Heavy rains in the upcountry have had a devastating impact on the supply of vegetables, Prashan Rajapakshe, Manager – Welisara economic Centre says. Rajapaksa said that Nuwara Eliya had been experiencing torrential rains for three months almost continuously and that had reduced the quality and quantity of the agricultural produce as well as the extent of the land area under cultivation. He said that low country vegetables were seasonal unlike the upcountry varieties. more..

Proposed postponement of PC polls: State Minister may have erred: EC Chief

Dec 17 (Island) Election Commission (EC) Chief Nimal G. Punchihewa yesterday said Provincial Council polls couldn’t be put off through the intervention of the Cabinet. Attorney-at-law Punchihewa emphasised that there was no provision under any circumstances for the Cabinet to request the EC to postpone PC polls though Local Govt polls could be put off. LG bodies comprise MCs, UCs and PSs. more..

Youth social action projects for climate change initiative between British Council...

Dec 17 (FT) The British Council of SL in partnership with Muslim Aid successfully completed the Active Citizens Social Action for Climate Change initiative in the Trincomalee district earlier this year. The overall program entailed six unique projects designed to mobilise youth to take action against one of the greatest threats affecting the global population at present – climate change. The six projects carried out under the Active Citizens initiative include: Kinniya Climate Resilience, more..

CEA moves to tackle issue of wastewater from laboratories

Dec 17 (Island) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) yesterday launched a new programme for proper management of wastewater discharged from analytical laboratories. CEA Chairman S. Amarasinghe said that under the new initiative steps would be taken to dispose of the effluent containing chemical contaminants from all regional laboratories, including the CEA’s main laboratory, in a more systematic manner and the process is being implemented by CEA through INSEE more..

Revisions made to COVID-19 regulations

Dec 17 (FT) Revisions were yesterday made to COVID-19 regulations applicable to public and work-related activities and these will be effective until 31 Dec. While Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena on Wednesday said no significant changes are expected, the revised guidelines state that the maximum capacity at weddings is 50% of the venue. The restrictions on the serving of alcohol more..

Another milk powder shortage

Dec 17 (TM) There appears to be a shortage of imported milk powder once again in the market, led by the current foreign exchange crisis the country is facing, even though the initial prediction of the importers was that the shortage will begin only from January next year. Speaking to us, an industry source said on Monday: “Most of the importers cannot get the consignments of milk powder because of the restrictions on the USD. I think most companies have placed the order but more..

Task Force to study chemical fertiliser impact

Dec 17 (TM) Agriculture and Health Ministries have reached an agreement to set up a Task Force headed by Dr. Asela Gunawardena to study and prepare a report on the adverse effects of chemical fertilisers and agrochemicals including pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides/weedicides on the human body. A statement issued by the Agriculture Ministry stated that a special meeting was held on 15 Dec with the participation of Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella & Mahindananda Aluthgamage more..

CEB Engineers snub PUCSL

Dec 17 (Island) Given that CEB is the sole providor of electricity in SL, there is no need for a Public Utilities Commission (PUC), head of the CEB Engineers Union (CEBEU) Saumya Kumarawadu said. He said the Act that established the PUC was a carbon copy of a law in a developed nation. This is not suitable for the conditions in SL, he said. “In other countries, there are many private companies involved in the electricity sector. more..

Govt reps went to India to beg, not to negotiate: Eran

Dec 17 (CT) SL Govt representatives have visited India, not to negotiate economic deals but to beg them to rescue the country from economic downfall, the SJB alleged. SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne noted that the country should be in a powerful position to make demands. “But owing to the misconduct of the SL Govt, the country does not hold any position to negotiate with other countries. We do not have any solid economic plan as well. This grave situation might force the Govt to accept more..

LPG testing labs urged to apply for accreditation

Dec 17 (TM) SL Accreditation Board for Conformity Assessment (SLAB) said that it has requested all labs operating in SL to submit their applications for accreditation for the testing of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as soon as possible, considering the national importance of the ongoing issues related to LPG. “Up to date, there are no labs in SL which have been accredited by the SLAB for LPG-related testing. However, considering this national issue, we have invited labs to forward us more..

Beijing bares it in Jaffna, warms up to Tamils in Sri Lanka

Dec 17 (IE) Taking off their shirts and wearing traditional white veshtis, the bare-chested men, carrying trays laden with fruit and puja offerings, entered the temple. Nothing unusual because that’s the practice at the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, a temple near Jaffna. But the man who dressed as a devotee and led the others into the temple Thursday stood out — Qi Zenhong, China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka. more..

Opposition flays Basil for going to US while country is burning

Dec 17 (Island) Opposition parties yesterday flayed Minister Basil Rajapaksa for going to the US amidst the country’s worst-ever economic crisis. SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella said that it was unbelievable that the Finance Minister had decided to go to the US while the country was burning. “He was not in Parliament during the budget debate to listen to the MPs views. He did not come to Parliament. None of his predecessors skipped parliamentary sessions while the budget debate was on. more..

UoC Science Faculty Profs to boycott graduation

Dec 17 (CT) Professors of the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo have decided to boycott the graduation ceremony of the faculty, in protest against appointment of Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera as the Chancellor, internal sources of the faculty said. Prez Rajapaksa a few weeks ago appointed Ven. Ananda Thera as the Chancellor of the University of Colombo. It was also revealed that the students have decided to wear black armbands and hold a token protest on that day against more..

Allegation that US Envoy intervened unethically in Yugadanavi deal

Dec 17 (TM) President’s Counsel (PC) Manohara de Silva, appearing on behalf of the CEB unions at the hearing of the petitions against the Kerawalapitiya Yugadanavi Power Plant-related agreement between the Govt of SL and a US-based energy company, has claimed that the US Ambassador made an unethical intervention regarding the said agreement last year. De Silva PC said that the cabinet memorandum more..

Judiciary and the crisis

Dec 17 (FT) Not only the economy but also the socio-political system of Sri Lanka is in a state of complete disintegration and total collapse. It is very rare that a state which has entered into the modern age falls into a state of collapse in this manner. Even rarely such a situation could occur only in a stupid state where serious mistakes have been carried out persistently and for a very long period (not just 5-10 years, but 20, 30, 40 years) without rectifying them. In any state there is a division of power more..

Kings, cabbages, et al!

Dec 17 (FT) Many things in the air which people here are talking about. Some interesting revelations and others repetitions and clichés. I chose to deal with a few dealing with recent developments for the current write up. This reminds us of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A quick overview of the plot in A Midsummer Night's Dream is as follows: “Egeus asks Duke Theseus to uphold an old law that says he can choose his daughter's husband. He chooses Demetrius to marry more..

Pubudu Jagoda

Video: PHIU raises concerns about relaxing travel restrictions & quarantine regulations

Dec 17 (AD) The Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHIU) has raised serious concerns about the decision taken to relax health guidelines despite the risks posed by the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. The chairman of the union, Mr. Upul Rohana questioned as to how reasonable and practical it is to further relax travel restrictions and quarantine regulations while the country is at high risk of virus infection and Omicron cases continue to be detected. It is doubtful whether more..

Local art to get a global clientele with Kathbitha.Com

Dec 17 (Island), an online portal dedicated to showcase authentic work of SL artists globally was launched recently. The e-commerce platform will market and promote the local art industry globally, securing better opportunities for artists of all ages in the global market. It will target all art enthusiasts and collectors living overseas and in SL. “There are many talented painters, sculptors and artists in SL who has an opportunity to feature their work in the global art market. more..

SL to shut down three overseas Missions

Dec 17 (DM) Sri Lanka is to shut three overseas Missions as part of moves to cut costs and save on much needed US Dollars, Daily Mirror learns. Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa urged continued support from all the Ministries to help Sri Lanka recover from the current economic crisis. Accordingly, the Foreign Ministry is to close the Sri Lankan Consulate in Frankfurt, the Embassy in Nigeria, and the SL Consulate in Cyprus. more..

Video: More than 80% canteens, hotels to be closed due to gas issue

Dec 17 (DM) More than 80 per cent of canteens and hotels will be closed from tomorrow due to the shortage of domestic Liquid Petroleum (LP) gas, Chief of the All Island Canteen Owners' Association (AICOA), Asela Sampath said. He told the Daily Mirror that the gas shortage in the market had become the main issue, in addition to the increase in vegetable prices. "The canteen owners are facing a critical situation where they are unable to continue with their services," he said. more..

Further consideration of Yugadanavi petitions in January

Dec 17 (AD) Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHIU) has raised serious concerns about the decision taken to relax health guidelines despite the risks posed by the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant. The chairman of the union, Mr. Upul Rohana questioned as to how reasonable and practical it is to further relax travel restrictions and quarantine regulations while the country is at high risk of virus infection and Omicron cases continue to be detected. It is doubtful whether Director-Gen more..

SL to finally hold long-GCE A/L exams

Dec 17 (EN) Long-delayed GCE A/L exams for 2021 will be held from February 7 to March 05, 2022, the Examination Department said. The department said in a statement on Friday that non-programmable calculators will be allowed for the subjects of accounting, bio-systems technology, engineering technology and for science technology at the A/L exams. Calculators will not be permitted for any other subjects, more..

22 COVID-19 deaths recorded today

Dec 17 (NR) Another 22 coronavirus related fatalities have been confirmed in SL, raising the death toll to 14,720. All 22 deaths occurred yesterday, the 16th of December. 15 males and seven females were among the victims. 19 persons, 13 males and six females among the group that succumbed to the virus, were 60 years of age or above. Meanwhile, three individuals, two males and a female, between 30 and 59 years of age also passed away yesterday after contracting more..

Leasing companies not audited, Fin. Min. to blame: Leasing and Debt Instalment Payers

Dec 17 (FT) The Joint Association of Leasing and Debt Instalment Payers claimed that the leasing and finance companies continue to seize vehicles and property arbitrarily, as Govt remains deaf and blind to their activities. Despite the CB circular No.9 of 2021 issued on 6 Oct to restructure the credit facilities, the Association charged that the leasing companies are using their power to seize vehicles and property forcefully. One incident was reported in Gokarella recently. more..

Manufacturing and Services sectors expand in November

Dec 17 (FT) Both manufacturing and service sectors of Sri Lanka expanded further in Nov 2021, CB’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) Survey released Wednesday showed. Benefitting from the normalising of economic activities in the country, Manufacturing PMI continued to expand in Nov 2021 and recorded an index value of 61.9. The significant increases in Production, New Orders, and Stock of Purchases sub-indices were more..

Hirunika’s FR over Duminda’s release: Counsel requests for a full bench of Judges

Dec 17 (TM) Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed before the Supreme Court in July this year by former MP Hirunika Premachandra, challenging the legality of the Presidential pardon granted by Prez Rajapaksa to former MP Duminda Silva, who was convicted and sentenced to death over her father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s killing came up for mention yesterday. Premachandra’s instructing attorney Dimuthu Kurupuarachchi stated that the counsel has requested for the matter to be more..

Sarath Weerasekera in Dubai to discuss security cooperation

Dec 17 (DM) Discussions were held between Sri Lanka and Dubai over the threats to the region following the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan, the Public Security Ministry said. Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera who is currently in Dubai had met Dubai Police Commander-in-Chief Lt. Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Obaid Al Marri at the Dubai Police HQ recently. During the meeting, they also discussed how to counter cascading extremist ideologies and disrupt the flow of narcotics. more..