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Govt should understand the message given by Uni students: Omalpe Sobitha Thero

Dec 20 (TM) Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thero says the govt should understand the message displayed recently by the graduates of the Uni of Colombo. He said that the steps taken by the academics receiving their degrees during a convocation ceremony at the Colombo University is being praised by the intelligent people as an extremely exemplary and noble deed. He said that through their action the academics of the university have well demonstrated the courage and self-respect as academics, more..

Govt in a sinister move to deny the country’s bankrupt status: Ruwan

Dec 20 (DM) Govt is in a sinister move to deny the bankrupt status which the country is facing, UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene said. Mr. wijewardene who was speaking to party activists over zoom, said bankruptcy will result in a fuel and power shortages after January 2022. "Fitch Ratings have named SL as a nation which faces bankruptcy. this is because the country's foreign reserves are down to dollars 1.5 billion. SL has to settle a loan of dollars 500 million by January 18 2022. more..

Ministers defends decision to pay millions to Chinese fertilizer company

Dec 20 (EN) Senior govt ministers in cash-strapped SL on Sunday defended a decision to pay US$ 6.7 million to a Chinese fertilizer company over a deal that had gone awry, as opposition lawmakers decried the move. Minister Johnston Fernando told reporters that antagonising a nation as powerful as China will not be in Sri Lanka’s interest in the long run. “This issue must be resolved amicably. It’s easy for people to more..

Three including Manna Ramesh arrested by STF over murder

Dec 20 (AD) Three suspects including organized criminal gang member Manna Ramesh have been arrested in connection with an incident of shooting and killing an individual and then burying the victim’s body. The arrests were made following an operation carried out across two days based on information received by the organized crime division of the STF. Police have also recovered the firearm suspected to have been used to commit the murder as well as 05 bullets buried behind a residence in more..

UAE to sign eight pacts with Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (CT) The UAE is looking forward to signing eight agreements with SL, including one on bilateral security cooperation, UAE Minister of State Ahmed bin Ali Al Sayegh informed Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Rtd) Dr. Sarath Weerasekara, who met the Emirati Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Abu Dhabi recently. “After vaccinating 80 per cent of its citizens and protecting the country from threats, Sri Lanka is ready for tourism, trade, and investment,” more..

GMOA to launch islandwide strike tomorrow

Dec 20 (DM) The GMOA has decided to launch an islandwide trade union action from 8 am tomorrow over seven demands, GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr Samantha Ananda said. He told Daily Mirror that emergency services at all hospitals would not be disrupted during the time of the strike while the strike would not affect the functions at maternity hospitals, children's hospitals, Cancer Hospital, Maharagama. The strike action would be carried over more..

Labour dept to take plantation companies to court?

Dec 20 (CT) Dept of Labour mulls taking legal action against plantation companies that have so far failed to pay Rs 1,000 daily wage to estate workers despite an order to pay the said amount from 1 March 2021. Commissioner General of Labour, Prabhath Chandrakeerthi, said some private plantation companies have failed to pay workers Rs 1,000, while the remaining 95% of the companies pay their employees properly. Meanwhile, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said more..

FM discusses progress in achieving SDGs with UN Assistant Secretary General

Dec 20 (MFA) Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris met UN Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG), UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Kanni Wignaraja on 15 December, during her official visit to SL. ASG Wignaraja’s visit is aimed at better understanding country priorities and exploring new avenues of support from UNDP to SL. Minister briefed the Assistant-Secretary-General on SL’s recent achievements in SDGs more..

Julie Chung confirmed as next US envoy to Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (AD) The US Senate has approved the nomination of Julie Chung to be the new Ambassador of the US to SL. The Senate on Saturday had approved a flurry of nominations for overseas diplomatic posts while most of the nominees, including Chung, were approved by voice votes. US President Joe Biden had nominated foreign service woman diplomat Julie Chung to be the country’s next ambassador to SL in June. more..

Ruling party benefited through Dr. Shihabdeen controversy: Sajith

Dec 20 (CT) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa claimed the ruling party reaped the benefit of the controversy surrounding Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen during elections, but now it has been proved that the sterilisation allegations were baseless. During an inauguration ceremony, Premadasa said the ruling party used Dr. Shihabdeen and the bizarre allegations levelled against him on performing illegal sterilisation operations and targeted the Muslim community to incite racism as part of their more..

U.S. donates over 820,000 additional Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (USE) The United States delivered an additional 820,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses to the Ministry of Health, increasing the total U.S. donation to 3.4 million jabs from the American people. “The United States supports Sri Lanka’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible,” said U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Martin Kelly. “Widespread vaccination is vital to ending the pandemic, preventing the emergence of new variants, and rebuilding livelihoods. more..

Anura Kumara Disanayake

Police spokesperson advises public on mitigating child rape and abductions

Dec 20 (TM) In response to the incident of a 13 year old girl who went missing on 15 December and was found dead about 500 m away from her home in Pudukudirippu, Mullativu three days later, Police Spokesperson SSP Nihal Thalduwa said that such incidents can be avoided with proper care and responsible behaviour from parents and guardians. “Firstly, around the clock care is needed. This is the first and foremost that needs to be followed with children. Even when children are put to sleep more..

Registrar General’s Dept launches online portal for deeds, land documents

Dec 20 (CT) An online portal for copies of deeds and land-related documents has been introduced recently and made available for all citizens since Friday, said Registrar General of W.M.M.B. Weerasekara. He noted the online portal for copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates was launched in Aug 2020 and the portal for land-related documents was launched recently. Accordingly, people who need deeds or others can request via the website and can obtain a maximum of more..

DEW: IMF can’t intervene in rescheduling int'l sovereign bonds; SJB disagrees

Dec 20 (Island) Former outspoken Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera says the unprecedented crisis faced by cash-strapped SL in meeting its external debt obligations in 2022 and 2023 cannot be solved by seeking IMF intervention. Govt has ignored repeated calls by various parties, both in and out of Parliament, to seek IMF intervention as it is aware the IMF is not in a position to intervene as close to half of country’s external debt more..

Colombo port will handle over 24 m TEUs by 2040: SLPA Chief

Dec 20 (FT) Colombo port is boosting capacity to handle a forecast demand of 24 million TEUs by 2040, its Chairman Nihal Keppetipola revealed recently. “In addition to the eight million existing TEU capacity at the Port of Colombo, we will be adding another six million by 2025 by developing the East and West container terminals with a depth of 20 metres and having quay cranes of 26 across reach. We will also be adding another 10 million TEUs in the North Port which will give more..

SL & AUS partner again to enhance regional border security

Dec 20 (NR) Australian and SL Govts have once again partnered to enhance regional border security, today opening the SL Border Risk Assessment Centre (BRAC) at the Dept of Immigration and Emigration, near Colombo. The BRAC is a new intelligence facility directly under the Ministry of Defence which will allow SL agencies to share their collective intelligence, systems, resources, and real-time data to facilitate lawful travel and trade while detecting and responding to unlawful activity. more..

Remittances down to 12 year low in Nov 2021 amid credibility loss of peg

Dec 20 (EN) Sri Lanka’s foreign remittances fell to US$ 271.4 million in Nov 2021 as credibility of the soft-dollar peg was lost to liquidity injections and record volumes shifted to the unofficial cross border settlement market. Foreign remittances hit US$ 266.3 million in April 2009, when the rupee was floated after the pegs credibility was declined amid sterilized interventions of mostly bond buyer exits though monetary policy was tight. more..

SL may draw down US$1.5bn China swap

Dec 20 (EN) Sri Lanka may draw down on a US$ 1.5 billion equivalent swap with the People’s Bank of China, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka has kept the swap, which is worth one month of imports as a back up. Cabraal said drawing down the swap was under contemplation. The swap is denominated in Renminbi. Renminbi can be used for payments to China. Since 2016, RMB is also a part of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights basket. more..

Udugama Hospital gets ICU

Dec 20 (EN) Udugama Base Hospital in the Galle District is commissioning an intensive care unit improving the health facilities for people living in Udugama, Neluwa, Thawalama, Nagoda, Yakkalamulla, Hiniduma and Nakiyadeniya areas, the project’s promoters said. The project with 100 million rupees of medical equipment backed by Watawala Plantations Ltd and Tata Communications Lanka Ltd. “Residents of the area have been severely affected by the lack of intensive care more..

No plans to lock down Sri Lanka during Christmas, New Year holidays: official

Dec 20 (EN) SL has no plans at the moment to impose travel restrictions during the Christmas and New Year season, Health Services Director Dr Asela Gunawardena said. He acknowledged that the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is present in SL, but strict adherence to hygiene protocols would allow for the status quo to remain sans a lockdown. “Omicron has been found in 89 countries at the moment. more..

Health experts warn about simultaneous dengue and Covid waves

Dec 20 (TM) Pointing out that the spread of the dengue epidemic is on the rise at present, health experts have warned that if the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and the dengue epidemic increased at the same time, the hospital system would find it difficult to cope. Senior Prof. Arjuna De Silva stated that dengue is now spreading largely in a background where much attention has been paid to Covid situation. “Large number of dengue patients are currently being treated in hospitals. more..

Global Tamil Forum says US sanctions a message to Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (TM) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has called on the Govt of SL to reflect on recent messages conveyed by the US and the wider international community through the newly imposed sanctions by the US State Department on two former SL Army officials. “SL is in the midst of many crises. Trajectory it is heading – increasing authoritarianism and militarised governance; further marginalisation of Tamil, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian communities; and the debilitating more..

අද සිට ගෙදරට එන ගෑස්වල ප්‍රමිතිය...

Regulate gas composition immediately

Dec 21 (DM) We have been compelled to editorially write again and again about the domestic LP Gas crisis faced by millions of families in the country as the hoodwinking of consumers by the heads of the gas companies and the govt politicians are continuing. Now, around 25 domestic LP Gas related explosions and fire are occurring a day in this country, which means an incident every hour. However, the response to those incidents by the authorities including the relevant ministers more..

Some political roots of SL’s economic crisis

Dec 21 (CT) SL is within a serious economic and political crisis which has been unprecedent in its recent history. While the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide has aggravated the situation, most of the root causes are within the country related to bad management of the economy, exports and imports, the trade balance, balance of payments, foreign and domestic loans, dollar-rupee value, consumer prices, and many other economic variables. Even if the management of key economic variables more..

'Rajapaksa rule began in 2005 should be held responsible for present crisis'

Dec 21 (DM) SJB MP Gayantha Karunatilake, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, responds to questions about the present economic plight of the country, prorogation of Parliament and the conduct of MPs in the House. Q: When talking about the current precarious situation of the country, some people blame the inefficiency of the govt for it. The govt, instead blames the pandemic. What are your views as an opposition MP? more..

State power over religion helps Saudi Arabia curb radicalism

Dec 21 (DM) In the last few years, Saudi Arabia has been slowly but steadily transforming itself from being a medieval anachronism to being a modern country under the tutelage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, popularly known as MBS. The determined assertion of State power over religion under the Crown Prince has put the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on the path to becoming a fully modern country by 2030 but without losing its Islamic identity. more..

Sinking external finances: The myth of an Indian rescue

Dec 21 (DM) The govt has so far resisted the calls, including by its own ranks, to go to the IMF for a debt restructuring program. Save the Ministry of Finance, the rest of the world seems to be believing that SL is heading for sovereign default. The latest salvo was issued by Fitch Ratings, an int'l credit rating provider, which downgraded the country to ‘CC’, from ‘CCC’ due to the increased probability of a default event in coming months in light of Sri Lanka’s worsening external liquidity position. more..

Weaponising Buddhism: Will the third wave be the last?

Dec 21 (GV) Independent Sri Lanka experienced three waves of weaponsation of Buddhism. The first was when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike embraced the Buddhist Commission Report. D.S. Senanayake had refused, on Constitutional grounds, a request by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) to appoint a royal commission to study Buddhist grievances. The ACBC appointed its own commission in 1954. more..

Safer to lend to Ethiopia than Sri Lanka!

Dec 21 (CT) On Friday, Fitch Rating, an international credit rating agency, dual headquartered in London and New York, downgraded Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘CC,’ from ‘CCC’. Of the 124 countries ‘credit rated’ by Fitch, Sri Lanka stands right at the bottom at the 121st position and is the only economy with the unenviable credit rating of ‘CC’. A ‘CC’ rating stands ninth out of a total of 11 Fitch ratings in alphabetically descending order which means more..

Leading by disciplined example

Dec 21 (TM) Sri Lanka has been at the receiving end of much criticism and brickbats, both domestically and internationally, which the Govt and its allies and supporters feel is undeserved. Much of the general public, however, feel otherwise, and the viewpoint that Sri Lanka needs a superior class of leadership because those who ruled the country in the past seven decades have not done their job properly is gaining ground. What can alter the direction of SL’s economy is the question more..

Face the Nation

Editorial: Indiscipline and disaster

Dec 21 (Island) Prez Rajapaksa, addressing a group of officers who passed out at the SL Military Academy, Diyatalawa, over the weekend, waxed eloquent on discipline, which he called the highest virtue in the life of a military officer. He also said optimism, self-confidence and trust in his or her team were prerequisites for the success of a leader. While agreeing with him on this score, one may add that the success of any leader also hinges on his or her ability to enforce discipline at all levels of more..

The pyre of Extremism: The lesson of Sialkot

Dec 21 (Island) Extremism is a virus. It spreads exponentially. In most societies extremism exists at the fringe but, often ignites the centre by appealing to commonly held shibboleths. Not infrequently, due to the indifference of liberals and moderates, public apathy, and both implicit and explicit political support when expedient, extremism drives the central narrative. The ugly reality is that the spread of extremist ideology is catalyzed by common cultural, religious and ethnic prejudices and more..

Exports growth outpaces imports rise in Oct

Dec 21 (FT) External trade in October turned favourable to SL but challenges persisted from a 10-month analysis posing fresh problems to the country amidst the worsening foreign exchange crisis. Central Bank revealed that overall exports in October surpassed the previous maximum recorded in March 2019 ($ 1,137 mil) to increase by 40.4% to $ 1,200 mil. On the other hand, imports grew by only 24% to $ 1.7 bil, more..

524 persons test positive for COVID-19

Dec 21 (FT) SL’s daily COVID-19 detections remained below 700 for the third consecutive day, with 524 persons testing positive for the virus yesterday. Daily detections have remained above 700 since the end of October but dropped to 695 on 18 Dec. On Sunday, 551 persons from the New Year cluster tested positive for COVID-19. 6,504 PCR tests and 3,206 rapid antigen tests were conducted on 19 Dec. Yesterday, 5,451 PCR tests were conducted and 524 persons from more..

64,086 persons vaccinated against COVID-19

Dec 21 (FT) COVID-19 vaccines were administered to 64,086 persons on Sunday and 74.28% of the country’s population has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The second dose of a vaccine has been administered to 64.24% of the population, Our World in Data states. 94.4% of the population over 20 years had received both COVID-19 vaccine doses as of 18 December. 15,968,147 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 13,810,482 persons have received 2nd dose. more..

Two Litro ships cleared; SLSI sets new gas standard

Dec 21 (TM) Out of the three ships carrying new stocks of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) to Litro Gas Lanka Ltd., two have been completely cleared for distribution, while the SL Standards Institute (SLSI) has determined that the propane-to-butane composition in LPG cylinders should be 30:70. This information was provided at a press conference held yesterday at the PMD about the LPG-related explosions that have been more..

Dialog extends a host of unparalleled offers for customers this season

Dec 21 (Island) Sharing the happiness of the festive season, Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, extended a bundle of exclusive offers for customers ranging from Dialog Home Broadband, Dialog Television, Device, and Star Points deals. Dialog Television extended special seasonal offers for all new Prepaid and Postpaid connections, where all new Dialog Television Prepaid connections will receive Rs. 1,000/- worth channel cards for free. more..