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Sri Lanka blames pandemic for economic woes, reserve depletion

Dec 21 (EN) SL govt blamed Covid-19 pandemic for depleting forex reserves, after printing unprecedented volumes of money to keep inter rates down as tax cuts expanded a budget deficit. Fitch, a ratings agency downgraded SL’s credit rating on Friday to ‘CC’ barely above default, this week after the US$ 81 billion economy’s foreign reserves depleted to US$ 1.6 billion at the end of November. more..

Rare tree blocking E04 project to be relocated

Dec 21 (CT) The Crudia Zeylanica tree, obstructing the route proposed for the Central Expressway (E04), will soon be relocated to an adjacent area by rootballing, Secretary to the Ministry of Highways, R.W.R. Pemasiri said. He said a committee has been appointed to inspect the translocation of the tree, while stating that it would take a huge sum of money if the E04 is to be built without moving the tree. “Thereby steps will be taken to move the tree as soon as possible,” he said. more..

Video: GMOA launches island-wide strike action

Dec 21 (AD) GMOA kicked off its island-wide strike action which is based on seven demands, from 8 a.m. today. The association noted that the doctors are continuing to provide emergency treatment services uninterrupted at all hospitals across the country. It also said that strikes will not be carried out at maternity hospitals, children’s hospitals, cancer hospitals and kidney diseases treatment units. The GMOA had launched a 24-hour token strike last morning at all hospitals & medical institutions more..

SLPP ally questions order to pay back wages of Dr. Shafi

Dec 21 (Island) NFF says the ongoing investigations into Dr. Shafi Shahabdeen’s alleged involvement in Easter Sunday attackers and nonconseual sterilisation of women in Kurunegala had been seriously weakened by the govt’s controversial decision to pay him back wages. The Constituent party of the ruling SLPP yesterday called a special media conference at its Pitakotte party office to explain how the govt had undermined more..

Another cabinet reshuffle on the cards?

Dec 21 (DM) Rumors are rife that another cabinet reshuffle by Prez Rajapaksa is on the cards, this will most likely happen upon the return to the country of Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Political sources said that some key ministers might face a shuffle, in a last-minute announcement by the Prez, similar to the cabinet reshuffle which took place in August. Sources said that this was discussed before Minister Basil left the country and is likely to be carried out upon his return. more..

Three-wheeler fares to be increased

Dec 21 (AD) The three-wheeler drivers’ union has decided to increase the fares following the price hike announced by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka IOC. The chairman of the union, Lalith Dharmasena said the new minimum fare for the first kilometre will be increased to Rs. 80.00, and up to Rs. 45.00 from the second kilometre. Earlier today, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) announced that the fuel prices were increased with immediate effect. more..

SL inks Tea for Oil debt deal with Iran

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka had inked a deal to set off export of tea to Iran against a legacy oil credit owed by state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to the National Iranian Oil Company, without busting US sanctions. Sri Lanka was unable to settle the credit after US sanctions barred dealings with Iranian banks. Each month Sri Lanka’s Treasury will release 5 million dollar equivalent in rupees to the Sri Lanka Tea Board, more..

GMOA to carry on strike action

Dec 21 (AD) The GMOA says it would carry on the ongoing island-wide strike action until proper solutions are provided for their issues. GMOA’s central committee member Dr. Prasad Ranaweera said the doctors would provide emergency treatment services uninterrupted at all hospitals. He noted that the strike action is not carried out at maternity hospitals, children’s hospitals, cancer hospitals and kidney diseases treatment units. Meanwhile, the executive committee member, more..

Cabinet nod for signing nuclear weapons prohibition treaty

Dec 21 (EN) Cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to sign the Treaty to the Prohibition of the Nuclear Weapon (TPNW) that will see a ban on the usage of any nuclear weapons within the country, Co-Cabinet Spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma said on Tuesday. The treaty bans development of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosives, experimenting, manufacturing, designing and the exchange, possession, storage of such explosives, as well threatening their use. more..

ගෑස් පිපිරීම්වලට මූලික හේතුව අනාවරණය වෙයි...

One Country, One Law: Concept or rhetoric?

Dec 22 (DM) Widely publicized one country and one law perception conveys a hazy implication to the public and raises suspicion & alarm among minority communities, particularly Muslim community, who perceive apprehension & fear of gradual deprivation of religious/cultural rights that they have enjoyed for centuries. Justification for continuation or discontinuation of Muslim personal law depends on the cardinal question of whether the continuation is politically & constitutionally justifiable. more..

Families of Prisoners are Human Beings

Dec 22 (DM) In Dec 2008, Human Rights Office Kandy (HROK) had started to present Human Rights awards during the celebration of Int'l Human Rights Day. I was amongst those who received an award, and others awarded included two medical doctors, a priest, a nun, an Army officer, a police officer, survivors of rape and torture and several wives and mothers of torture victims. The majority were women. Since then, HROK had continued this tradition of celebrating Human Rights Day more..

Playing musical chairs with public servants

Dec 22 (TM) Amidst economic and health crises, SL is getting ready to welcome a new year. People are expecting answers to a myriad of questions, and even though there seems to be little hope, the Govt urges the people to remain hopeful as it is striving to find solutions. However, it is not only the health sector and the economy that are struggling to stay afloat. Countless other sectors, such as the education and private sectors, more..

Holidaying in crisis, prosperity in austerity

Dec 22 (TM) Yesterday (21), Sri Lankans woke up to the news that the Govt has decided to increase fuel prices, to worsen the cost of living that has been on an upward trajectory for several months. Within hours, the media reported various traders associations as having decided to hike the prices and charges of the goods and services they provide, including taxi and bus fares and bakery products. This is not how the people expected to end the year. Instead of taking time off to relax with more..

SL descending into abyss of starvation

Dec 22 (CT) SL is just one step short of descending into the abyss of shortages, rationing, queues, a black market, corruption and even starvation, last witnessed 44 years ago during the seven-year period from 1970-77, when the island practised a closed economy. If the closed economy seen then was led by following Marxist/Socialist policies, which have as its principles that the State should have a monopoly over production and services and the private sector and FDI being anathema, more..

Negative outcome of vehicle import ban

Dec 22 (CT) Vehicle Importers Association of SL (VIASL) was inaugurated in the early 1980’s. Many VIASL members are in the motor vehicle trade. In this article we wish to elaborate the impact made by Budget 2022 on motor vehicle imports. Govt has imposed a complete import ban on Motor Vehicles since March 2020 sighting foreign currency outflows as the main reason. This has negatively impacted more..

AKD explains NPP’s progressive plans for SL

Dec 22 (CT) NPP is the only aspiration to put an end to corrupt politics and move away from traditional politics that has led the country to a crisis and the NPP is ready to lead the country towards a stronger economic and political journey, NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka said. He said the economic and political policies adopted over the past decades have been completely ruined in the most disastrous manner and the burden has been passed onto the public by way of increased cost of living, more..

Tryst at midnight and more gas leaks

Dec 22 (ST) Many decades ago — until the end of the 1980s — when we covered the country’s political scene, it was customary to see some politicians strutting around like over-rated popinjays promising to have village roads with holes as big as our fiscal deficit, filled in no time, non-working street lights would be repaired in a jiffy and sheaf of other promises that were never fulfilled until the next elections loomed in sight. Senior citizens of the area and young wags accustomed to more..

ස.තො.ස, සමූපකාරේ සැමන් කන්න එපා ආසනික්

Editorial: A sucker punch

Dec 22 (Island) There seems to be no end in sight to the crippling blows people are suffering at the hands of those who came to power, promising them prosperity and splendor among other things. The latest round of fuel price hikes is sure to give another turbo boost to inflation, which has already travelled through the stratosphere. Prices of all essential goods and services are bound to rise further. Taxi operators lost no time in raising their fares disproportionately. more..

From meeting Pottu, Balraj and Soosai to being Sri Lanka’s top envoy in Canada

Dec 22 (Island) There seems to be no end in sight to the crippling blows people are suffering at the hands of those who came to power, promising them prosperity and splendor among other things. The latest round of fuel price hikes is sure to give another turbo boost to inflation, which has already travelled through the stratosphere. Prices of all essential goods and services are bound to rise further. Taxi operators lost no time in raising their fares disproportionately. more..

Rising veg prices change consumer behaviour; health warning from...

Dec 22 (ST) A sharp vegetable price hike, together with the domestic cooking gas shortage and safety issue, has given rise to a marked change in consumer behaviour, traders say. In most markets, the scenes were the same – people buy small quantities and go for low-priced vegetables or green leaves. Those who cooked three vegetables for a meal are now forced to cook only one vegetable for a meal along with another dish more..

24 COVID-19 fatalities confirmed

Dec 22 (FT) Health officials confirmed 24 COVID-19 fatalities on Monday, raising the country’s COVID-19 death toll to 14,795. Covid fatalities confirmed on Monday include 19 persons over 60 years and five persons between 30 and 59 years. Zero COVID-19 deaths were confirmed from the under-30 age group, which accounts for 1.16% of the total COVID-19 fatalities. 76.47% of the COVID-19 fatalities are from the over-60 age group and 22.37% of the fatalities are from the 30 to 59 age group. more..

Is there an alternative to fuel price increase?

Dec 22 (DM) Death, the saying goes, comes like a thief at night. The sudden midnight price increase in fuel prices ranging from petrol, to diesel to the poorest of the poor man/woman’s fuel - kerosene came like a bolt from the blues. Media reports warn of fuel rationing with importers struggling to pay for oil, import of food, medicine and industrial raw materials in a worsening economic crisis. Already supermarkets have begun rationing staples such as sugar, lentils, canned fish and rice. more..

Inflation bursts into double digits after a decade

Dec 22 (FT) The overall rate of inflation, as measured by the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) in November, moved to the double-digit level for the first time in over a decade. Dept of Census and Statics (DCS) said November inflation at 11.1%, up from 8.3% in Oct, was mainly due to the higher price levels prevailing in both food and non-food categories. The year-on-year (YOY) inflation of food group rose to 16.9% in Nov more..

149,473 persons vaccinated against Covid-19

Dec 22 (FT) COVID-19 vaccines were administered to 149,473 persons on Monday and 64.24% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated. The first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to 74.28% of the population. 15,969,986 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 13,813,852 persons have received the second dose as well. The booster dose has been administered to 2,659,638 persons. This includes 144,982 persons vaccinated on Monday. more..

Jaffna Kings enter LPL final with 23-run win over Dambulla Giants

Dec 22 (DN) Opener Avishka Fernando stroked his maiden T20 century as Jaffna Kings defeated Dambulla Giants by 23 runs in the LPL qualifier 2 game played at Mahinda Rajapaksa International cricket stadium yesterday. The superb batting display by Jaffna Kings paved the way to enter the grand final which will be played against Galle Gladiators tomorrow at the same venue under lights. Dambulla Giants, chasing a target of 211 runs, managed to get 187 for 9 wickets in 20 overs. more..

ගෝඨාට අනුව gas පුපුරන්නේ මිනිස්සුන්ගෙ වැරැද්දෙන්

Indians dominate at Asian Junior Chess C’ships

Dec 22 (DN) V.S Rahul of India continued to lead with 5 ½ points out of possible 6 games will meet SL’s top seed Ranindu Liyanage in the seventh round at the Asian Junior Chess Championship which is now in progress at Citrus Hotel Waskaduwa. Earlier Rahul drew his colleague from India, International Master Srihari Raghunandan in the sixth round while he beat Int'l Master GB Harshawardana in the fourth round and the top seed, Int'l Master Mitrabha Guha both from more..

Tracified says helps 10,000 Lankan farmers to move up the value chain

Dec 22 (ST) Tracified Technologies has initiated a blockchain based traceability solution targeting 10,000 farmers in SL who export to the EU. Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), co-financed by the European Union (EU), and implemented by GIZ SL, the solution will be a platform for farmers to provide transparency on the origin of the food source, harvesting and processing dates, and processing techniques used, more..

'New Fortress Energy a near-bankrupt company'

Dec 22 (TM) New Fortress Energy (NFE) is a near-bankrupt company and the price of its shares traded on Nasdaq has fallen from around $ 65.9 in 2020 to around $ 20.5 now, claimed former JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti. He stated: “Our friends in the US, whom we requested to purchase shares in NFE in order to access information, are now complaining that the company is a near-bankrupt company.” more..

hSenid Business Solutions rings the bell to debut trading on CSE

Dec 22 (Island) The shares of hSenid Business Solutions Limited commenced trading on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday. The shares have been listed on the Main Board of the CSE under the Application Software sector. The occasion was marked with a special bell ringing ceremony held at the CSE. CEO of the CSE, Rajeeva Bandaranaike, speaking at the ceremony, congratulated hSenid Business Solutions on the success of IPO and for progressive step more..

Fuel hike forces container transporters to jack up rates by 20%

Dec 22 (FT) Association of Container Transporters (ACT) President Roshan Manikwaduge said that they have decided to increase charges by 20% from yesterday following the fuel hike announced on Monday. “We have a rate book, and the price hike was planned for 2022. As we did not increase our prices for the past five years, and due to increase in all spare part costs, we decided to up our charges by 20%,” he explained. According to him, tyre prices have increased by 35%, batteries by 45% more..

Authorities undecided on X-Press Pearl salvage method

Dec 22 (TM) Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said that the exact method of salvaging the MV X-Press Pearl shipwreck is yet to be determined, as there is a large split in the middle of the ship. “The owners of the ship opened a tender and gave the job to Shanghai Salvage Company. The best salvage companies and experts in the field responded to that tender. Most of them proposed that the ship be split in half and then dragged more..

Fuel hike dampens investor sentiment at CSE

Dec 22 (FT) The midnight fuel hike dampened investor sentiment yesterday as the Colombo stock market closed on a negative note with below-average turnover. All Share Price Index dipped by over 9 points, and the S&P SL20 declined by over 17 points. Turnover was Rs. 4 billion involving 181.4 million shares. Asia Securities said after opening the session with a downtick, the indices staged a gradual recovery yesterday as investors resorted to front-line stocks at relatively lower levels more..

713 persons test positive for COVID-19

Dec 22 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 detections rose to 580,922 with the detection of 713 COVID-19 positive persons yesterday. The patients detected include 518 persons from the New Year cluster. 9,307 PCR tests were conducted yesterday. The previous day, 5,451 PCR tests and 2,773 rapid antigen tests were conducted and 524 patients were detected. This includes 522 persons from the New Year cluster and two persons from the Prisons cluster. 476,052 patients from the New Year cluster, more..

Ajith Nivard Cabraal

Bakeries decide not to stipulate standard price from today

Dec 22 (FT) Unable to further get crushed between the ever-increasing cost of essential commodities and to keep the businesses afloat, the ACBOA have decided not to stipulate a standard price for their products from last night. “We cannot increase the prices of bakery items every time the cost of essential commodities are revised upwards. It has now become an everyday situation. There is no Maximum Retail Price (MRP) or a controlled price for bakery items. more..

Court bars State bank from auctioning properties

Dec 22 (CT) Colombo District Court Judge Aruna Aluthge yesterday imposed an injunction on a State commercial bank preventing it from auctioning of the properties of a paddy mill owner in the Galnewa area, who had been facing economic hardships due to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The Judge, having considered the one-sided submissions produced by the petitioner, via his lawyer Gamini Senarath, slapped the injunction on the bank while forcing it to place a bond of Rs 25,000 and more..

Why was Sirisena-Gota assassination plot not probed?: Catholic church

Dec 22 (TM) The Catholic church has questioned Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Govt as to why they are not investigating the alleged plot to assassinate then President and incumbent Govt MP Maithripala Sirisena and current Prez Rajapaksa, which led to the arrest of then Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Director DIG Nalaka de Silva, who is said to have been working to arrest the late NTJ Leader Zahran Hashim in 2018. more..