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Dr. Godahewa admits undue haste in banning agrochemicals caused irreparable damage

Dec 22 (Island) State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa says the govt had caused a wholly unnecessary problem by trying to do away with agrochemicals overnight. Dr. Godahewa said that their original plan had been to shift from agro-chemicals to carbonic fertiliser over a period of 10 years. However, Prez Rajapaksa had ordered the process to be telescoped into five years, but the project had gone pear-shaped due to someone’s decision to issue a gazette banning the import of agrochemicals. more..

No other option than a price hike of petroleum products: Dullas

Dec 22 (DM) The govt has taken the difficult decision to increase fuel prices in the domestic market, well aware of the difficulties faced by the people, as there is no other option than a price hike of petroleum products, as the national economy is in a major crisis as never before, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said yesterday. The decision to jack up oil prices was taken after consulting the Central Bank, the Power and Energy Ministries and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, he added. more..

Change in gas composition main cause of explosions

Dec 22 (Island) Simmering controversy over gas-related explosions has taken an unexpected turn with Prof. Shantha Walpolage, Chairman of the Committee appointed by Prez Rajapaksa to probe the recent gas explosions, concluding that the change in the composition of gas was the primary reason for the recent gas-related explosions, They came to the conclusion following theoretical and on-site inspections, more..

I told foreign missions, donor agencies to go ahead and assist SL: Sajith

Dec 22 (DM) Whilst stating that representatives of donor agencies and those from foreign missions have informed him that the SL govt had sought their assistance to get out of the exchange rate crisis, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday said he had told them to go ahead and assist SL. "Mr. Premadasa who was speaking at a function he participated at Lunawa Hospital to donate medical equipment in memory of the late musician Sunil Perera, said many donor agencies and more..

CPSTL Managing Director resigns

Dec 22 (Island) Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals LTD Managing Director M. Uvais Mohamed yesterday resigned from his post, Energy Ministry officials said. Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila had instructed the Ministry Secretary to remove him as the Managing Director of Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited. Mohamed tendered his resignation to the President’s Secretary. The Island learns Minister Gammanpila was not happy with the initiatives taken by the Director General. more..

Fuel price hike triggers chain reaction

Dec 22 (CT) Prices of several commodities and services have increased as a result of the sudden fuel price hike announced by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka IOC. Following the fuel price hikes, Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) said it is essential to increase minimum bus fares by 15-20% in line with the price increase. LPBOA Chairman Gemunu Wijeratne said more..

A national consensus to face the crisis

Dec 22 (FT) The people of this country are facing hanging in a fortnight, and their minds are ripe for concentration. They are dealing with shortages and skyrocketing prices of essentials. Core inflation, which reflects the underlying inflation by excluding volatile items of food, energy and transport groups in the economy as measured by the Year-on-Year (YOY) change based on NCPI for the month of October 2021, increased to 7.2% from 4.8% reported in month of September 2021. more..

A Christmas chat with Otara Gunewardene

Dec 22 (TM) It’s that time of the year again – cold air, busy streets, and an overall buzz of excitement and cheer. This season, Brunch decided to speak to a few familiar faces to see what they’ll be up to this Christmas. We had a chat with the passionate and empowering Otara Gunewardene – a lady that indeed needs no introduction. She is known as one of Sri Lanka’s most recognised entrepreneurs and philanthropists and for her work as an animal welfare advocate and conservationist. more..

වෛද්‍ය උපකරණ කැඩුණොත් හදන්න බඩු නැ!

Seventeen newly-appointed envoys present credentials

Dec 22 (AD) Seventeen newly accredited envoys to SL including 11 newly appointed Ambassadors and six High Commissioners presented their credentials to Prez Rajapaksa at the President’s House yesterday. The new Ambassadors were appointed from Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Hungary, Mauritania, Tunisia, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Spain and Slovenia. The new High Commissioners represent Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Botswana, Malta, Republic of Guyana and Nigeria. more..

CBK lauds Uni. Students’ denial to receive degrees from Ven. Muruttettuwe Ananda

Dec 22 (DM) While appreciating the moves by the graduates of the Colombo Uni at the recent graduation ceremony where they refused to receive the degree award certificates from the Chancellor Ven. Muruttettuwe Ananda Thera, former Prez Chandrika Kumaratunge said today that it was the day when the democracy was upheld in the country. Posting a video on social media, she said that the graduates had demonstrated their protest in a decent and polite manner without resorting to more..

Sri Lanka exports hit a new monthly high in November 2021

Dec 22 (EN) SL’s exports hit a new monthly high in Nov 2021 generating US$ 1,215 million up 55.11% from a pandemic hit year topping the previous high in October, data from the export promotion office showed. Apparel exports grew 52.77% to US$ 496.39 million, rubber product exports grew 46.9% to US$ 102.2 million, tea grew 22.3% to US$ 117.65 million and coconut-based exports grew 40.66% to US$ 80.09 million. more..

Video: Private-owned light aircraft makes emergency landing at Payagala beach

Dec 22 (AD) A light training aircraft of a private company has made an emergency landing on the beach in North Payagala, says the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF). A rescue team of the air force station in Katukurunda has been dispatched to the scene. As per preliminary investigations, the aircraft had made the emergency landing due to a technical fault. Two individuals had been aboard at the time of the incident, however, no casualties are reported. more..

SL's first Women Top 50 calendar launched

Dec 22 (GDI) Launch of SL's first Women Top 50 Calendar for the year 2022 for women who have been empowered in various fields was held at the Galadari Hotel Colombo under the patronage of State Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle. The 12 months of the year are dedicated to the 12 SL women who have won the World Bank's Top 50 Award, who have risen to the top in the corporate, political, social and business fields included in the calendar published by the Institute of more..

Banks instructed to offer extra Rs.10 for hard foreign currency conversions

Dec 22 (DM) Licensed banks have been asked to offer extra Rs.10 for foreign currency notes held in hand, as part of a broader incentive package offered to encourage the general public to channel all their foreign currency through the formal banking system. As the latest attempt to draw foreign currency notes lying outside the banking system, Central Bank issued fresh instructions roughly a fortnight ago to all licensed banks more..

President appoints new secretaries to two ministries

Dec 22 (AD) Two new ministerial secretaries have been appointed by Prez Rajapaksa. Mr. D.M.L.D. Bandaranayake has been appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture with immediate effect. Meanwhile senior Sri Lanka administrative officer Mr. Anusha Palpita has been appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media with effect from Jan 1, 2022. Palpita had previously served as Director General of the Telecom Regulatory Commission more..

SL Ambassador briefs top US officials

Dec 22 (CT) Senior Official for the Office of Global Criminal Justice (OGCJ), at the US State Dept, Ambassador Michael Kozak and several of his advisers held a virtual discussion with SL Ambassador to the US Mahinda Samarasinghe in Washington DC, on the current efforts in Sri Lanka aimed at human rights and reconciliation, with emphasis on the importance of transitional justice and reconciliation initiatives. The others who conversed with Samarasinghe, more..

Video: SL records three new Omicron cases

Dec 22 (AD) Three new cases of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 have been detected in Sri Lanka, says Dr. Jude Jayamaha, Consultant Virologist of the MRI. According to Dr. Jayamaha, two of the new cases of this highly-mutated variant had returned from Sudan. The other Omicron-infected person is reportedly a returnee from Tanzania. They had arrived in the country on the 19th and 20th of December. more..

Another 16 COVID deaths confirmed

Dec 22 (NR) Another 16 coronavirus related fatalities have been confirmed in Sri Lanka, raising the death toll to 14,811. The Director General of Health Services in a statement said all 16 deaths occurred yesterday, the 21st of December. Eight males and eight females were among the victims. 11 persons, six males and five females among the group that succumbed to the virus, were 60 years of age or above. Meanwhile, four individuals, one male and three females, were between 30 & 59 yrs more..

Power cuts expected in parts of the island

Dec 22 (AD) More power cuts can be expected in several areas as the electricity generation capacity of the Norochcholai power plant is still incomplete, says the Ministry of Power. Spokesman of the ministry, Sulakshana Jayawardena said steps are being taken to add the power plant’s full electricity capacity of 900 MW to the national grid. Accordingly, power cuts can be expected in several areas, he noted. He said there had been issues in the electricity generation capacity more..

Who would be blamed for latest fuel hike, asks SJB

Dec 22 (Island) SJB lawmaker Mujibur Rahman asked whom would the ruling SLPP blame for the latest increase in fuel prices. MP Rahman recalled how SLPP General Secretary Attorney-at-Law Sagara Kariyawasam, with the blessings of the top party leadership, repeatedly demanded Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila’s resignation over the latter making the announcement regarding the revision of fuel prices on June 11. more..

Video: 13 year old girl dead after receiving blows from father and uncle

Dec 22 (DM) A 13 year old residing in Gampola was pronounced dead upon admission at the Gampola district hospital yesterday, after being beaten by uncle and father. SSP Nihal Thalduwa said that the cause of death cannot be confirmed right now, but she had died after receiving some blows from the father and uncle. “We cannot definitely confirm that the girl had died due to injuries sustained from the beatings from her uncle and father but we can confirm that an incident as such had more..

Colombo restaurants strive to maintain price stability amid cost escalations

Dec 22 (DM) As this week’s fuel hike has led to price escalations across the supply chain, the Colombo City Restaurants Collective (CCRC) said it would try its best to maintain the price stability of its plates. CCRC President Harpo Gunaratne said, while a collective decision has not been taken as yet on hiking the prices of plates, the restaurants are on the look out for avenues to maintain costs and not pass them to the customers. “There is no doubt that things have picked up, but price escalation, more..

SLAF hands over MiG-27 to Moratuwa Uni

Dec 22 (Island) Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana handed over a MiG-27 fighter aircraft (MiGs comprising the famed No 10 squadron has been removed from active service) on 20 Dec to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa (UOM), Senior Professor Niranjan Gunawardana, to promote the Aeronautical Engineering Degree program. In addition, a formal MoU was also signed between the Commander (on behalf of the Air Force) more..

India expresses concern over detention of fishermen by Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (PTI) India on Tuesday expressed concern over the detention of 68 of its fishermen from Tamil Nadu by SL authorities and said the issue of their early release has been taken by its mission in Colombo. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Indian High Commission in Colombo has taken up the issue of "early release" of these fishermen and their boats with the SL govt. "We are concerned at the detention of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by SL authorities more..

Milk powder shortage expected to continue, importers say

Dec 22 (AD) The ongoing shortage of milk powder is expected to continue for two more months as a result of the delays in shipping and the increase in warehousing charges, the importers say. According to the media spokesman of the Milk Powder Importers’ Association Mr. Ashoka Bandara, the Letters of Credit could not be issued through banks due to the lack of dollars required to purchase the imported products. He went on to note that local milk powder manufacturers should take measures more..

Presidential probe on gas explosions contradicts previous official claims

Dec 22 (EN) In a swift and blatant contradiction of a claim by key govt officials that substandard accessories had caused some 800 cooking gas explosions in Sri Lanka since October, a presidential committee which probed the matter said on Tuesday that a controversial composition change in the gas cylinder was, in fact, largely to blame. Prof Shantha Walpolage, the head of the committee appointed by Prez Rajapaksa, more..

Path taken to switch from chemical to organic fertiliser is wrong: Agriculture Secy

Dec 22 (TM) The switch from chemical to organic fertiliser was not rushed, but instead was wrong says Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Prof. Udith Jayasinghe. “It is like purchasing a new vehicle and experiencing a high speed crash. Paddy cultivation which was 100% self sufficient can reach 80%, however we must rectify the mistakes,” he said. Prof. Jayasinghe further added that mistakes can happen, however they must not continue. “We have to come out of this situation,” he stated. more..

Johnston slams Opposition for blowing crises out of proportion

Dec 22 (TM) Blowing crises out of proportion has become the order of the day for Opposition parties, Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday. Addressing a ceremony held at the Kottawa Interchange to launch the LankaQR app that enables toll payments for expressway users, Minister said that crises have become the pet subjects of speeches of Opposition parties. “Whenever they open their mouths, nothing but harangues of this or that crisis more..

Minority parties reach consensus on devolution

Dec 22 (TM) Sri Lanka’s main minority parties which represent the country’s Tamil-speaking people had come to a final agreement yesterday on the common proposals on the devolution of power, and the document will be signed over the coming few days, according to SJB Opposition MP and TPA Leader Mano Ganesan. “We did not sign the document yesterday as we took some time to come to a common agreement, more..

Japan grants USD 88,819 for war-affected school in K’nochchi

Dec 22 (CT) The Govt of Japan has offered a USD 88,819 (about Rs 17.6 million) grant to construct school buildings in war-affected areas and to resettle children in the Kilinochchi area in the Northern Province through its Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). The grant contract was signed on 21 Dec between Mizukoshi Hideaki, Ambassador of Japan and Jesurasa Amirtharaj, Programme Director of the Humanitarian Development Org (HDO) at the ambassador’s residence in Colombo. more..

Forex shortages crippling businesses, IMF deal urged: Joint Chambers

Dec 22 (EN) SL main business chambers say their importers, banks and are being crippled by foreign exchange shortages and some may have to relocate overseas and foreign investors will also be discouraged. SL is facing forex shortages and parallel exchange rates after rupee liquidity injections made to keep interest rates low had hit the credibility of a soft-peg with the US dollar. Enforcement of a 200 to the US dollar peg with partial convertibility had led to forex more..

Official reserves will remain above USD 3 Bn by end of 2021: CBSL

Dec 22 (AD) The measures being taken at present will ensure that by the end of 2021 official reserves will remain above US dollars 3 billion, the Central Bank of SL said today. Despite the headwinds of the economic impact of COVID-19 and challenges posed by adverse developments in the external sector, the SL economy showed resilience throughout 2021, a statement issued by the CBSL noted. more..

Stocks gain after two session losses amid thin trade

Dec 22 (EN) Stocks gained 1.55 percent on Wednesday recovering from the losses made in the previous two sessions, brokers said. “The market came down in the last few days because of the credit sellings as it is risky to have so much credit in the market and now that it’s out of the way, the market is back to green,” a Colombo-based analyst said. All Share Price Index gained 180.65 points to close at 11,821.56. The more liquid S&P SL 20 index, rose 1.12% or 46.84 points more..

Moves afoot to make Colombo Port a logistics hub

Dec 22 (CT) Several implementation plans in Sri Lanka’s maritime sector are underway in an effort to make the Port of Colombo a container and logistics hub, the Port of Galle, a tourist destination with a mixed development project including cruise terminals, the Port of Trincomalee an Industrial Port, and plans are also set to start a ferry service between Jaffna and Karaikkal in Tamil Nadu, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) Captain Nihal Keppetipola said. more..

නව සංයුතියක් යටතේ වෙළෙඳපොළට එන ගෑස්

Is Sri Lanka a democracy?

Dec 23 (CT) From about mid-Sept to late Nov this year the President was on the back foot; defensive and acknowledging that his Administration had lost pubic support. Then the hard-core around him fought back till Anura Kumara Dissanayake exposed regime and Finance Minister Basil Rajapakasa’s contractual shenanigans in LNG/Yugadanavi deals. (During the fightback we had three proclamations and appointments of task forces for greening SL and reposing much power in the military). more..

Doomsday looms; who is to blame?

Dec 23 (DM) By all counts, the end is near. If it is not physical dissolution of the nation state, symbolically it will be. The territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the people of Sri Lanka is now in threat of being undermined, and this time it is neither the armed wing of the JVP nor the LTTE, neither the Portuguese, Dutch or the English. It is not the US, Russia, India or not even China. It is our own doing. Our leaders, our clergy, our teachers, our businessmen, our elders and us. more..

Spotlight on SMEs: Footwear industry buckles under dollar crisis

Dec 23 (DM) Entrepreneurs of the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Sector blamed an officer of the Presidential Secretariat for attempting to close down Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). The apparel industry is the only source of export revenue in Sri Lanka. Given the economic crisis faced by Sri Lanka if not for these apparel manufacturing factories, established by the former President Ranasinghe Premadasa, more..

One Country, One Law in an aggrieved, anxious nation

Dec 23 (DM) The appointment of a presidential task force mandated to draft relevant legislation aimed at operationalizing the One Country, One Law concept precipitated howls of protests. The howlers weren’t exactly from those opposed in some way to a single corpus of rules; rather they by and large belonged to that small set of people who are either inclined to object to anything that any govt proposes or to see demons in anything proposed by govts headed by people with the name Rajapaksa. more..