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ADB lowers SL’s growth outlook in 2022

Dec 18 (FT) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its Outlook Supplement released this week, has lowered the growth forecast of Sri Lanka in 2022. It said that Sri Lanka’s GDP grew by 12.3% in Q2, bringing growth in the first half of the year to 8%, surpassing earlier expectations with improvement in all sectors. “However, Sri Lankan growth prospects for 2022 are dampened by macroeconomic headwinds as reserves have declined and significant external debt repayments are due in 2022,” more..

SL to ink MoU with Georgia to boost tourism

Dec 18 (FT) In a bid to promote tourism between SL and Georgia, the two countries have decided to sign a MoU in Jan 2022. The decision was revealed at a meeting held between Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and Georgia’s Ambassador to SL Archil Dzuliashvill yesterday. It was also noted that the draft MoU had already been prepared. Ambassador expressed his full support to attract more Georgian tourists to SL and agreed to launch special promotional programs soon to create more awareness on SL in more..

Permanent appointments for all 51,000 graduates in Jan. and April

Dec 18 (FT) The granting of permanent appointments to 51,000 unemployed graduates would commence on 3 Jan 2022. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Chairman of Cabinet Sub-Committee appointed to look into the matters pertaining to the recently recruited graduates to the public sector institutes, said that Cabinet had approved the new recruitment. He said that the initiative was being implemented in line with the concept of more..

Nuwara-Eliya District Secretary urges Sri Pada pilgrims to exercise caution

Dec 18 (Island) District Secretary of Nuwara-Eliya, Nandana Galaboda, urged all pilgrims to adhere to COVID guidelines as the Sri Pada season begins today. The authorities expected a record number of people to visit Sri Pada and it could pose some challenges, he said. Galaboda said that District Secretary of Ratnapura, Malani Lokupothagama, had issued a gazette extraordinary on this year’s Sri Pada season. The regulations on the gazette were valid till 16 May 2022, the end of the season. more..

People are realising two groups that ruled country have failed them: JVP

Dec 18 (Island) No one in the govt is equal to the task of managing the economic crisis, former JVP MP Sunil Handunetti says. The govt had tacitly admitted that it could not solve the burning problems affecting the public, he said. “The dollar shortage has affected many businesses. Importers can’t bring anything in and most of our domestic production depends on imports. There is a crisis in energy and agricultural sectors. He said that no one in the govt took responsibility for sorry state of affairs. more..

UoC lecturers, graduates rebel against new Chancellor

Dec 18 (CT) Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Uni of Colombo, Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne handed over the graduation scrolls to students at the three-day graduation ceremony of the Uni that commenced on Friday after students refused to accept the graduation scrolls from the newly appointed Chancellor Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera. Student Union of the Uni of Colombo on Thursday in a letter to the VC expressed more..

RTI vacancy cannot be filled till 18 Jan

Dec 18 (CT) The vacancy created in the Right to Information (RTI) Commission, by the resignation of Dr. Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon, cannot be filled until 18 Jan 2022, due to Parliament being prorogued. New members to the RTI Commission were appointed on 12 Dec by Prez Rajapaksa. Commission is headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne. Other appointed members of the Commission are former member, retired President of Court of Appeal Justice more..

Country reports on terrorism 2020: Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (USDS) In the wake of the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide attacks by ISIS-inspired terrorists, SL continued efforts to enhance its CT capacities and architecture and improve border security, including through engagement with the US and other international partners, though progress in some cooperative initiatives was stalled in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and parliamentary elections. The government continued an inquiry into the failures to act on available intelligence and more..

Pilots’ Guild claims UL Chairman’s callous attitude puts national carrier at risk

Dec 18 (FT) Airline Pilots’ Guild of SL (ALPGSL) yesterday charged that SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage’s callous attitude had put the national carrier at risk. “The COVID-19 pandemic which brought the global aviation industry to a grinding halt early in 2020 still casts a shadow on int'l travel and logistics. SriLankan Airlines was severely affected due to the drastic drop in passenger movements, but throughout more..

Directives not given to pay salary arrears to Dr. Shafi: Public Service Commission

Dec 18 (AD) The Public Service Commission on Friday (17) insisted that it has not directed the Health Ministry’s Secretary to pay the arrears of Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen who was sent on compulsory leave from May 24, 2019, over allegations of performing illegal sterilization operations. However, the Health Ministry reiterated that the Director of Kurunegala Teaching Hospital was instructed to pay Dr. Shafi’s salary arrears based on a notice issued by Public Service Commission on Nov 30. more..

Political motive behind LG polls postponement: PAFFREL

Dec 18 (DN) The govt’s proposal to postpone the Local Govt election is not solely based on the COVID-19 situation prevailing in the country, the Executive Director of the PAFFREL Rohana Hettiaarachchi said. Hettiaarachchi noted that the move also has a political motive behind such a proposal. Hettiaarachchi also noted that the PAFFREL believes that under no circumstances should citizens be deprived of their right to choose their local leaders and to express their views more..

Sri Lanka’s mysterious gas explosions become nobody’s baby

Dec 18 (EN) A distressing sight in the village of Waligamuwa in SL’s central district of Matale last weekend brought home a sombre truth: that lofty ideals such as accountability are perhaps destined to remain abstract concepts and not much more. Villagers had gathered to mourn 53-year-old Ashoka Priyangani, a mother of four who’d succumbed to burn injuries from a cooking gas-related explosion in her own kitchen. more..

S&P Sri Lanka 20 index includes Commercial Leasing, LOLC Finance

Dec 18 (EN) Commercial Leasing and Finance Plc, LOLC Finance Plc, has been added to the S&P SL 20 Index, made of the larger liquid stocks. Richard Pieris and Company Plc and Brown and Company Plc has been dropped. The constituent changes to the index compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices, are effective from Dec 20. The S&P SL 20 index includes the 20largest companies, by total market capitalization, listed on the CSE that meet minimum size, liquidity & financial viability thresholds. more..

Are Sri Lankan expatriates’ rights harmonised for country’s economic interest?

Dec 18 (FT) Today, 18 December, is International Migrants Day. However, for Sri Lanka, this year 18 December is marred due to unfortunate incidents that took place in Japan and Pakistan, with the deaths of two Sri Lankan expatriate workers – Wishma Rathnayake and Priyantha Kumara. Today Sri Lankan expatriates around the globe have suffered during the pandemic. The Govt claims that nearly 150 domestic migrants in 17 countries have died due to COVID-19 within last 2 years. more..

පොලිස් මාධ්‍ය ප්‍රකාශක නිහාල් තල්දූව

PNS Tughril departs island after successful naval exercise

Dec 18 (SLN) Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Tughril which arrived at the port of Colombo on an official visit on 13th Dec, set sail from the island after a successful naval exercise with SL Navy on 16th Dec. Concluding her four-day official visit, PNS Tughril conducted the naval exercise with SL Naval Ship (SLNS) Sindurala off the western coast, adhering to COVID-19 protocols. As such the two ships conducted preparation drills for Replenishment at Sea and maneuvering exercises in seas more..

Failed pandemic narrative

Dec 18 (FT) Omicron, the latest scariant was announced with so much hullabaloo and fanfare. How depressing for the purveyors of pandemic alarm to find that it may already be running out of steam in South Africa in less than three weeks. Infections in the province of Gauteng, which have been surging from November, are already levelling off while seven-day positive tests in Tshwane, one of the early epicentres, are now relatively flat, as reported by the Telegraph. more..

Fitch downgrades SL sovereign rating to CC

Dec 18 (EN) Fitch has downgraded SL to ‘CC’ from ‘CCC’ saying there was an increased probability of default as liquidity injections made to sterilize interventions and enforce a 6% policy rate continue to drain reserves and create forex shortages. “The downgrade reflects our view of an increased probability of a default event in coming months in light of SL’s worsening external liquidity position, underscored by a drop in foreign more..

'An anonymous caller is threatening me'

Dec 18 (DM) SJB MP Champika Ranawaka said he had got a threatening call from an anonymous caller who had threatened that he would put out a video clip of the former. Mr. Ranawaka said in a statement that the caller had identified himself as a witness to the case filed against him and is pending in courts. “This person called me between 11 am and 12 noon on Tuesday, Dec 14 and said that he is aware of every detail of the case that had been filed against him and is pending in courts. more..

Nalanda loses its most valued curator

Dec 18 (DM) The visiting teams may have struggled on Nalanda Turf, but it has been always a delight for Nalandains to play on a wicket prepared by one of the best in the subject Edwin Syneris: The evergreen Nalanda groundsman. It is heartbreaking to hear about his demise. His stewardship, to make the Nalanda ground one of the best maintained in Colombo schools, helped him to become arguably one of the most qualified groundsmen in the Colombo schools during the last quarter of more..

SL hits back at Fitch Rating over downgrade

Dec 18 (DM) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has denounced the assessment by Fitch Ratings (Fitch) that downgraded Sri Lanka’s international sovereign rating. In a statement, the Central Bank said, “Reckless action by rating agencies continues despite being informed of the imminent inflows as outlined in the Six-month Road Map. Investors are advised not to be dissuaded by such action. Progress of inflows will be announced during this week." more..

14 coronavirus fatalities confirmed today

Dec 18 (NR) Another 14 coronavirus related fatalities have been confirmed in Sri Lanka, raising the death toll to 14,734. The Director General of Health Services in a statement said the deaths were reported yesterday, the 17th of December. Nine males and five females were among the victims. Six males and three females were identified as 60 years of age or above while three males and two females who succumbed were between 30 and 59 years of age. more..

Former PS member under arrest dies inside police cell

Dec 18 (AD) A former Pradeshiya Sabha member who was under arrest has died inside a cell at Hungama police station. The 62-year-old, identified as Premathilaka Amaraweera, was taken into custody earlier today on charges of selling liquor on Poya Day. The former PS member had collapsed inside the cell shortly after he was brought to the Hungama Police following his arrest. He was then rushed to the Ranna Hospital, however, he had already passed away at time of admission, more..

DEW says most countries struggling to overcome worst-ever economic crisis

Dec 18 (Island) Former General Secretary of the Communist Party, D.E.W. Gunasekera yesterday said three reasons had triggered Sri Lanka’s current economic crisis, which is considered the worst ever since Independence. “There is a global economic crisis, and we are affected by it. Prices of most goods we import have gone up, and this is beyond our control. On the other hand, COVID-19 too has affected us immensely. more..

Ashok Abeysinghe slams Basil’s U.S. trip

Dec 18 (CT) SJB MP Ashok Abeysinghe questioned whether it is ethical of Minister Basil Rajapaksa to head off to his adopted homeland the US to spend the Christmas vacation without fulfilling his duties to the country of his birth. He made this comment in response to a question posed by this paper where a number of SLPP Ministers and MPs had gone overseas in the immediate aftermath of the President proroguing Parliament. MP observed that this sort of situation could always arise more..

Doctors in five districts threaten to strike

Dec 18 (CT) Doctors in five districts have alerted the Health Ministry that they would stage a token strike on Monday (20) as the Ministry had failed to allocate medical officers adequately for smooth functioning of their hospitals. Secretary of the GMOA said on Friday that annual transfers should have been effected as per the Transfer List, at least by the end of the second week of December, and that it had been delayed due to the machinations of the Deputy Director of General Health Services II. more..

Talk with Sudhaththa

Video: Unloading and distribution of one LPG shipment currently underway: Litro

Dec 18 (AD) Litro Gas Lanka Limited, one of the largest liquefied petroleum gas suppliers in SL, says unloading and distribution of LPG from a latest shipment is currently underway. According to the chairman of the company, Mr. Theshara Jayasinghe, two more ships with LP gas, docked near the Kerawalapitiya Terminal, are awaiting the approval of SL Standards Institute (SLSI) and Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). Litro chief stated that a total of 3 ships carrying LP gas have arrived in SL. more..

Pulling back from the precipice: A Pathfinder perspective

Dec 18 (Island) The way out of SL’s most challenging external financing crisis is to negotiate an arrangement with the IMF and agree on a preemptive debt restructuring, Pathfinder Foundation has said in a media statement. An IMF programme could include strengthening the govt’s revenue base (widening the tax base and improving tax administration); improving the primary balance in the budget (revenue – (expenditure-interest payments)); proactive, data-driven and more..

Trenches against wild elephants – tried, tested and failed, say experts

Dec 18 (ST) Controversy is swirling around moves to cut trenches to reportedly mitigate the human elephant conflict (HEC). Conservationists are levelling very serious charges that this trench warfare will do more harm than good to wild elephants and other animals and is a ruse to exploit resources including soil in Protected Areas (PAs). This is while a top-level official of the Dept of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) is adamant that more..

Wedding bells for couple at elders’ home

Dec 18 (ST) Neither age nor other barriers can come in the way of true love it is said and Liyoni Fernando (62) and Cyril Gunawardane (79) inmates of a state run elders’ home, Welcome Village in Sadalanka, Narammala proved this point when they tied the knot on Dec 8. Cyril Gunawardane is a former SLTB employee. Liyoni has been a paraplegic since she was a mere nine months old. As a young woman she excelled in handicraft and was a talented singer. more..

SL firm adds modern fizz to Kithul brew

Dec 18 (EN) SL’s Agri Deshiya (Pvt) Ltd, has produced a fizzy canned drink modernizing the traditional tipple made from the sap of the Kithul palm flower. The firm which is already producing kithul treacle is now also eying export markets. “..[W]e have not just reimagined the potential of our island nation’s underappreciated agro-resources such as Kithul, but we have alsopaved the way for the traditional, village level Kithul tapping trade to become an int'lly recognised industry,” more..

Civil society organisations concerned by appointment of RTI Commission Chairperson

Dec 18 (FT) While welcoming the move to appoint the members of the Right to Information (RTI) Commission, a group of activists and civil society organisation members have expressed their deep concern about the selection of its Chairperson. The RTI Act sets out the criteria that should be followed when making recommendations to the Commission. Section 12 (2)(a)(i) requires nominees to be “persons who have more..

Crafty, nocturnal ninja running wild in city homes

Dec 18 (ST) Some residents of the city and suburbs are increasingly troubled by the nocturnal activities of palm civets, which take shelter in their homes. The palm civet is a small mammal with a long, furry tail and a pointed snout. There are times when residents seek the help of local authorities, pest control companies, the zoological gardens and the Department Wildlife Conservation, but face roadblocks over who is in charge of controlling the wild creature. more..

Elevated prices to persist through next few months

Dec 18 (DM) Credit rating agency ICRA Lanka said consumer prices, which hit nearly a decade high last month, indicate that the economy might have entered an era of higher prices and the trend could persist in the next few months, proving that it is no longer transitory as repeatedly claimed by the Central Bankers. The Central Bank in November said inflation could accelerate in the near term but expected such spurts in prices to be largely transitory, a term widely used by more..

NPPO issued non-compliance notice to China

Dec 18 (CT) Ceylon Today reliably learns that China's Qingdao Seawin Biotech company has not produced the vital Protection of Phytosanitary Certificate to Sri Lanka and that it is the company's mistake and not the fault of the two local fertiliser companies that opened the Letter of Credit, nor the National Plant Quarantine Services (NPQS) of the Department of Agriculture that issued a certification that the samples were contaminated. more..

Reappoint former chairpersons to committees: Sajith

Dec 18 (DM) Whilst stating that Parliament was prorogued to sweep important scams which Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) in particular had uncovered, under the carpet, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa yesterday challenged the govt to reappoint former chairpersons of these committees once again. “Parliament was prorogued suddenly to sweep important scams uncovered by committees such as COPA, COPE and Public Finance. more..

Poisonous cargo from worst maritime disaster being recovered

Dec 18 (ST) Sunken containers from the chemical-laden Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl cargo vessel that caught fire and caused the worst maritime disaster in Sri Lankan waters in May are now being salvaged by a Chinese company. Shanghai Salvage Company has been contracted by Express Feeders, the owners of the ship that caught fire and exploded spilling its toxic cargo which then washed up on to beaches and also spread in the ocean. Dead fish and marine creatures such as turtles began more..

Govt MPs urge Health Minister to take action against Ministry Secretary

Dec 18 (DM) A number of govt legislators requested Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to take action against Ministry Secretary Sanjeewa Munasinghe over the reinstatement of Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen who is facing charges over unlawful sterilisation of women who sought treatment from him during their childbirths. Dr. Shihabdeen was on compulsory leave after investigations conducted by the authorities more..

Sampath Bank among country’s Top Ten Corporate Citizens

Dec 18 (Island) Sampath Bank PLC was ranked as one of SL’s Top Ten Corporate Citizens for the year 2021 at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2021 organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, recently. The Bank was also bestowed with the Category Award for Governance at this forum for displaying high standards of governance in the structure and composition of its Board and Board Committees, its practices to ensure ethical behaviour and its reporting to shareholders. more..