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Christmas embodies God’s immeasurable love for His people

Dec 23 (DM) Another Christmas is upon us and this year too it is being celebrated in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic with its never-ending mutations and variations ravaging countries across the world. In SL, Christmas is also being celebrated in the backdrop of 847 domestic gas-related explosions -- most of them in Nov and Dec -- that killed seven people including a 53-year-old mother of four and injured 16 others; steeply rising cost of living made worse by the sudden increase in fuel prices; more..

Ministers abroad during home crisis: Entitled holidays or sense of entitlement?

Dec 23 (TM) Although the terms economic crisis and health crisis are often used to describe SL’s situation, there is a question as to whether they actually describe what the people are going through. There is a great deal of fear and uncertainty about the future, and also what the cash-strapped Govt can do to address these crises. As some Opposition politicians have said, “the situation is such that the people cannot stay home more..

Gas company officials lied

Dec 23 (CT) Yesterday the lead story in this newspaper headlined Composition Change Caused Gas Explosions, said, “Chairman of the Presidential Committee formed to investigate household Liquid Petroleum (LP) gas cylinder explosions, Prof. Shantha Walpolage, said the latest gas explosions were caused by the change in the composition of gas”. He also revealed the ratio of the gas composition had increased by over 40%. When asked why the Litro Gas Company changed more..

Missing clarity of mandatory vaccine cards

Dec 23 (TM) Putting into action a new and stricter plan to control the Covid-19 pandemic, the Govt and the health authorities have announced that they will make proof of vaccination, mainly vaccine cards, mandatory when entering public places with effect from 1 Jan 2022. This decision is not a surprise, as there were rumours as well as official statements about it. The health authorities – i.e. Head of the now defunct National Operations Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) more..

කර්මාන්ත අමාත්‍ය විමල් වීරවංශ

Editorial: When haste leads to failure

Dec 23 (Island) Failure is said to be an orphan. If the govt’s organic fertiliser drive had become a success, many ruling party politicians and state officials would have been falling over themselves to claim paternity thereof, as it were. Having come a cropper to all intents and purposes, the project is now without a father. Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe has blamed some unnamed advisors for making a botch of the govt’s organic fertiliser programme. more..

Knife with a double edge

Dec 23 (ST) UDA seals deals worth US$ 1b” was the headline of a story in the Sunday Times last week. After going through the news, one of my friends called me for a clarification on its economic implications. “Does it solve our foreign exchange problem? Or does it worsen it further?” he asked me. I knew his in-depth knowledge in the subject area with his postgraduate qualifications and working experience; therefore, his question made sense. I thought of taking this up for more..

Alert raised amid 26 dengue deaths and jump in infections

Dec 23 (ST) Close to 5,000 people have been infected with dengue in the first half of December. Health authorities are asking people and institutions to keep their surroundings free of mosquito breeding sites to prevent an outbreak in the coming weeks. Those with a high fever are being advised to get medical help immediately and get a complete blood count to check for unusual drops in cell counts as well as their red/white more..

138,340 persons vaccinated against Covid-19

Dec 23 (FT) COVID-19 vaccines were administered to 138,340 persons on Tuesday and 64.26% of the country’s population has received both COVID-19 vaccine doses. 74.29% of the population has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to 15,972,186 persons and 13,817,888 persons have received the second dose. The booster dose has been administered to 2,840,356 persons. more..

673 persons test positive for COVID-19

Dec 23 (FT) Three more Omicron cases have been detected in the island, raising the total number of Omicron detections in the country to seven. According to MRI Consultant Virologist, the three cases include two returnees from Sudan and one returnee from Tanzania. The overseas returnees arrived in SL on 16 Dec and 20 Dec. “MRI began gene sequencing on 26 Nov and we have carried out several tests so far. We detected three patients with the Omicron variant [yesterday],” more..

Record exports sole silver lining for SL

Dec 23 (FT) Record exports appear to be the sole silver lining for SL, helping the country avert partly a direr foreign exchange crisis. As per the latest provisional data released by the EDB yesterday, November marked the fifth consecutive month of over $ 1 billion performance. The record figure of $ 1.215 billion comes hot on the heels of the October haul of $ 1.199 billion which broke the previous best of $ 1.137 billion. more..

LPL: ESPNcricinfo's team of the tournament

Dec 23 (CI) After 20 league matches, and three playoff games, the second season of the LPL reaches its climax on Thursday night. Here's ESPNcricinfo's XI of the tournament. 1 Phil Salt (Dambulla Giants) Runs: 301 runs, Strike rate: 154.35: Outstanding at the start of the tournament when he struck two rapid fifties in the space of three innings to give Giants' campaign their early impetus, Salt contributed consistently through LPL, if not quite as spectacularly as in those early games. more..

Chess: Susal, Sanudula give respite for hosts

Dec 23 (Island) Promising youth player Susal de Silva and young talent Sanudula Dahamdi gave the hosts some respite as they did well to score points on day six of the Asian Junior Chess C'ships 2021 continued at Citrus Hotel, Waskaduwa on Wednesday. Susal drew his game against V.S. Rahul, the leading player of the championship. Susal earned half a point with his draw as Rahul continued to lead. Rahul had thus far beaten all leading players. Susal is now tied for fourth place more..

'එන්න, දඹර අමිල එක්ක හුරතල් වෙමු'

Jan-Oct BoP deficit balloons to US$ 3.3bn

Dec 23 (DM) The balance of payment (BoP) deficit ballooned to an all-time high in the 10 months to October, despite the robust merchandise exports in the recent months, as the outflows by way of imports, loss of services inflows from tourism and worker remittances and consistently poor investment track record deepened the hole in the country’s external current account, causing heightened concerns about a looming debt default. BoP, which measures the net of inflows & outflows more..

Tourist arrivals cross 150,000 mark

Dec 23 (FT) Tourist arrivals post reopening of borders have now crossed the 150,000 mark, with the Govt also planning to soon roll out a joint effort to promote SL as an attractive destination. During the first 20 days of December, 47,120 tourists have arrived, pushing the cumulative figure to 152,109. This is also the highest number of tourists that had been recorded in any month post-COVID. “An integrated promotion will be rolled out with the support of all tourism-related organisations more..

LPL: Galle Gladiators face Jaffna Kings in repeat of last season's final

Dec 23 (CI) So, after 20 group-stage matches, an Eliminator and two Qualifiers, we've finally arrived at the culmination of this year's LPL. And it's once again those two, Galle Gladiators and Jaffna Kings, vying for top spot, in a repeat of last year's final. En route, Kings have pretty much trounced nearly every team they've played, while Gladiators have been less polished, but are crucially the only team to have beaten Kings - 3 times all up, more..

Shanika caps a successful year with three meet records for Gampaha

Dec 23 (Island) Middle distance runner Shanika Lakshani capped the year 2021 with impressive performances by winning the Under 20 800 metres and the 1500 metres with new meet record marks at the Youth National Championships concluded at Sugathadasa Stadium. The Holy Cross College, Gampaha athlete clocked 2:11.27 seconds to win the 800 metres and cruised to a 4:35.55 seconds finish in the 1,500 metres. She was the only athlete to run the latter distance below five minutes more..

Sale of finance company boosts Prime Group’s core biz; looks for further...

Dec 23 (FT) With the infusion of Rs. 2.1 billion via the sale of shares in its financing company, Prime Lands said it was looking to further consolidate and strengthen the presence and equity of its core business whilst looking to diversify into other business sectors. The move apart from strengthening Prime Lands’ cash flow position will add value to and uplift the Sri Lankan economy as well, the company added. “With the sale of its majority stake, our intention is to build and more..

Joint Chambers urge govt to consider IMF package

Dec 23 (CT) Various Chambers of Commerce in SL released a joint statement expressing their difficulties in carrying out their business operations due to the current forex crises, and urged the Govt to seek alternative action to the crises such as engaging with IMF, if the efforts to mobilise short-term funding as per Central Bank’s 6-month road map doesn’t materialise. “Issues include not being able to obtain letters of credit to more..

Santani hailed as Best Wellness Retreat in the World by Travel+Leisure India

Dec 23 (Island) Travel+Leisure’s readership voted for their favourite wellness retreat in the world and have chosen Santani, SL as the best in the world. Santani’s unique and scientific approach to wellness and ayurveda has made it stand out once again, with Travel + Leisure elaborating: ”Built with the belief that human beings heal and thrive when surrounded by nature, Santani Wellness Resort & Spa in SL features sustainable architecture and minimalist interiors, designed to preserve more..

Samsung unveils pioneer project to empower the nation’s youths

Dec 23 (Island) Samsung, Sri Lanka’s No. 1 smartphone provider, recently unveiled their pioneer project to empower SL youth, the Samsung Student Ambassador Programme. Through this initiative, Samsung paved the way for 26 undergraduates to be exposed to new technologies, insights from tech leaders and access to many novel Samsung launches. The feedback received from all Student Ambassadors following the completion of this programme for 2021 was phenomenal. more..

පිපිරීම් වලට මුල සංයුති වෙනස. දැන්වත් මේ අපරාධ...

JVP organises countrywide protests against high cost of living

Dec 23 (Island) The JVP is planning to hold a series of protests countrywide as inflation has hit an all- time high. Former JVP Kalutara District MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that the consumer prices had climbed to double digits in November, touching the highest level. “We have decided to stage a series of protests countrywide on Thursday and Friday to the govt to reverse its decision to increase fuel prices and bring down prices of essential commodities immediately,” Dr Jayatissa said. more..

Rajco Industries to bear expenses of Priyantha’s children

Dec 23 (CT) The Sialkot factory where late SL manager Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana was employed has announced that they would bear the expenses of his two children, Pakistan's Ary News reports. This was shared by the SL Envoy to Pakistan at a meeting with the Pakistan Premier’s aide on religious harmony Allama Tahir Ashrafi and renowned religious scholar Moulana Tariq Jameel. Pakistani religious scholars condoled on behalf of the entire Muslim community in the country more..

Confusion and chaos around Cabraal press conference

Dec 23 (TM) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) and the Treasury have denied the rumours that a media conference had been scheduled by the CBSL to be held yesterday (22), where CBSL Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Ministry of Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle were to address the prevailing economic situation of the country, which was, as per the talks, subsequently cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances, more..

Station Masters to refrain from transporting, accepting parcels, issuing tickets...

Dec 23 (DM) The SL Railways Station Masters' Union (SLRSMU) has decided to refrain from transporting and accepting parcels and issuing tickets from 12.00 midnight today to avoid serious problems faced by station masters. While sending a letter to the Transport Minister, SLRSMU Chief Secretary said although parcels are currently accepted for transportation, the goods wagons required to transport parcels to destinations are not properly arranged. The night mail trains, more..

Vegetable prices to rise further due to fuel prices

Dec 23 (TM) Traders have pointed out that vegetable prices, which have risen exponentially due to the govt’s now lifted ban on the importation of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, could increase further due to the recent increase in fuel prices. Peliyagoda Manning Market Wholesale Association Deputy Chairman Prabath Susantha stated that the increase in fuel prices would definitely lead to an increase in vegetable prices. “The increase in fuel prices is affecting farmers. more..

Agriculture Secretary sacked, bringing fourth change to post this year

Dec 23 (TM) Prez Rajapaksa has decided to remove Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe-Mudalige from the post of Ministry of Agriculture Secretary and appoint D.M.L.D. Bandaranayake to the said post with immediate effect, making the latter the fourth such appointee to occupy the said office during the course of this year. Following the resignation of former Ministry of Agriculture Secretary Rohana Pushpakumara, more..

Mixed signals from CEB on possible power shedding

Dec 23 (Island) Some engineers claimed yesterday that power shedding and random power cuts would take place was coal was in short supply at the Norochcholai coal power plant complex. Earlier the CEB announced that there would be power cuts in several areas yesterday as two generators at the Lakvijaya Power Plant at Norochchnolai had developed faults. However, CEB top management says things will improve soon and they could manage immediate supply needs due to more..

Bus fares to be increased from Wednesday

Dec 23 (AD) The bus fares will be increased from next Wednesday (29) in line with the recent fuel price hike, says State Minister of Transport Dilum Amunugama. The matter was taken up during a meeting held with the private bus owners at the Ministry of Transport earlier today. Accordingly, the chairman of the National Transport Commission was directed to calculate the bus fare revision. Meanwhile, in a media briefing, the Inter-Provincial School Children Transport Services more..

Govt warns gas companies with closure

Dec 23 (TM) State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna warned yesterday that the Govt will close down the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) companies if required, amidst a series of LPG-related explosions for over one-and-a-half months. “If they continue to act irresponsibly without any regard for consumer safety, we will not hesitate to shut them down,” he said. Senior DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon said this week that more..

China’s challenge, JVP’s jump-start, SJB’s stance

Dec 23 (FT) A few days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken re-emphasised the Indo-Pacific region as the most decisive single factor in determining the trajectory of our time, China made a symbolically assertive move in the Indian Ocean, south of India. Chinese Ambassador in Colombo spent a few days in the island’s Tamil majority north, which is just a few miles from the southern tip of India. He was accompanied by the able representative of the PLA, and was given a more visible SL military escort more..

Fathers and mothers of Christmas

Dec 23 (FT) Christmas has a lot of meanings. It is a day for reflection, penitence and reaffirmation of faith for devout Christians. It is also a moment of celebrating community. It is also a time of joy, goodwill, sharing and reunions. To me, it is all of these things. But looking back and especially reflecting on the holiday from a fair distance from familiarities, I realise that the one word I associate most with Christmas is family. Christmas is about giving, sharing, loving and forgiving and more..

චන්ද්‍රසේන මාලියද්ද

Navy launches cleaning programme in Hamilton Canal area and Uswetakeiyawa Beach

Dec 23 (SLN) SL Navy has organized a wide range of programmes as part of its 71st anniversary celebrations. As an extension of these events, a cleaning programme was held in the Hamilton Canal area and Uswetakeiyawa Beach, under the patronage of the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy, Commander Western Naval Area and Commandant of Volunteer Naval Force, Rear Admiral Upul De Silva on 19th Dec 2021. Sri Lanka Navy has been conducting regular beach cleaning programmes in each naval command, more..

PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on two-day pilgrimage to Tirupati, India

Dec 23 (EN) MP Mahinda Rajapaksa is India for a two-day pilgrimage to the temple city of Tirupati. Tirupati is a popular pilgrimage destination or SL’s powers that be, with many a past leader including former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe having made frequent visits to the Sri Venkateswara temple. Rajapaksa arrived in Tirupati on Thursday (23), where he was welcomed by officials of the Chittoor district administration led by Chief Minister K Narayanaswamy and district collector M Harinarayana, more..

Video: GMOA strike continues for third consecutive day

Dec 23 (AD) The strike action initiated by the GMOA entered its third consecutive day today. The association said it would carry on the trade union action until their demands are met. According to its executive committee member Dr. Prasad Colombage, several other trade unions have agreed to support the GMOA strike from today. The association engaged in a 24-hour token strike on Tuesday at all hospitals and medical institutions in Mannar, Trincomalee, Ratnapura, more..

Survival of the breadman during a crisis

Dec 24 (DM) What would happen to bread or paan lovers in Sri Lanka with the 450 gram loaf now costing between 70 or 80 rupees? Can they afford it? True enough, health experts would not recommend the traditional loaf of bread as one of the most healthiest breakfast meals. But then we do have a tradition dating back to the 16th century when we started tasting this bakery item when the Portuguese introduced it to us during their rule of this nation. more..

Economic Imperatives & Social Costs

Dec 24 (CT) Sri Lanka is caught in a quagmire from which escape seems difficult, if not impossible. On every front, it’s slinking towards the edge of a precipice. Indeed, we may already be on the edge. Be it gas shortages, exploding cylinders, food inflation, fertiliser imbroglios, or lack of dollars, we are either heading for disaster or barely averting one. Not surprisingly, while government officials strike an optimistic note, many of them are also firing warnings about the future. more..