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Journey to become a special son of the motherland

Dec 24 (CT) The sun shines in the pure blue sky, with burning light towards the earth through green shades. Sandy soil with half green, yellow, and most brown grass reveals how much they affect the naked eye. There are a few waterways with limited water, where anyone can see cracked earth with the dry, hot winds around. One down up, two down up, three down up is a shout that we heard while travelling on the tar road more..

Chinese Trojan Horse

Dec 24 (CT) This newspaper carried an article under the heading, SJB charity gets Rs 19.6 million from China. It said, “Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa received Rs 19.6 million in donations from the Chinese Govt for SJB’s Wipakshayen Husmak. The donation funded a kidney dialysis machine. SJB said the money was a donation, not a loan. Chinese Ambassador to SL, Qi Zhenhong, said there will be more donations like this as he’s impressed with the transparency of the programme. more..

A Christmas of safety and generosity

Dec 24 (TM) Even though Christmas is the main religious event of the Christian and Catholic communities, it is not at all uncommon for those of other religious beliefs to also celebrate it, and therefore, it would not be wrong to say that tomorrow is a day of celebration for the majority of Sri Lankans. Like several other national-level celebrations and events, Christmas too faced challenges during the past few years. In 2019, there were concerns about holding large-scale more..

Covid-19: Don’t let your guard down

Dec 24 (TM) On 3 Dec 2021, Sri Lanka confirmed its first case of Omicron-infected patients, and at the time of writing, the number of confirmed patients had increased up to four. According to the WHO, as of 16 Dec, the Omicron variant has been identified in 89 countries across the six WHO regions. In the countries where the community transmission of the Omicron variant is documented, doubling time of the virus more..

Fathers and mothers of Christmas

Dec 24 (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..

Don’t let Covid spoil Christmas

Dec 24 (CT) Christmas 2021 approached with several restrictions from the SL Health authorities due to Covid-19. Over two billion people celebrate the birth of Christ on 24 Dec every year. Christmas is the most joyful season in the year. Generally it’s an occasion for the family to reunite and everyone in the family joins for either lunch or dinner on Christmas: the menu is Turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and vegetables. Other types of poultry, roast beef, or ham more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa: අර්බුදයට විසඳුම IMF යාමද?

Editorial: Win for Seawin & Lankan crooks?

Dec 24 (Island) Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group, which refused to accept the results of tests conducted by the National Plant Quarantine Services (NPQS) of Sri Lanka on samples of its fertiliser, is reported to have claimed that its product has been found to be uncontaminated and safe. It says it has got samples of the shipment of fertiliser it failed to unload here, tested in Singapore, and they have been found to contain no harmful microorganisms such as Erwinia. more..

Sri Lanka to be a partner country to 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2022

Dec 24 (FT) Sri Lanka is to be one of the partner countries to the upcoming 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit scheduled in the State of Gujarat from 10-22 January 2022. Preparatory work is ongoing, and a formal announcement is expected shortly. Daily FT learns Sri Lanka Tourism and key private sector companies have been invited to attend the summit organised by the Govt of Gujarat at the Mahatma Mandir Convention and Exhibition Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. more..

BIL to brew more tea; 128 year-Finlays exits planting

Dec 24 (FT) Browns Investments PLC announced the acquisition of shares worth 90% in Udapusselawa Plantations PLC and Hapugastenne Plantations for Rs. 1.9 billion from Finlays SL, who were present in the country for 128 years. The deal is at Rs. 42 per Udapusselawa (UDPL) share and Rs. 28.30 per Hapugastenne (HAPU) share. Price paid for UDPL is 81% premium to the Net Asset Value of Rs. 23.17; and for HAPU, more..

554 persons test positive for COVID-19

Dec 24 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 case count rose to 582,149 with the detection of 554 COVID-19 positive persons yesterday. The patients detected yesterday were from the New Year cluster. 7,024 PCR tests were conducted yesterday. The previous day, 7,367 PCR tests and 4,722 rapid antigen tests were conducted and 673 persons tested positive for COVID-19. The detections include 672 persons from the New Year cluster and one Sri Lankan overseas returnee. 477,436 patients from more..

21 more COVID-19 fatalities confirmed

Dec 24 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 14,832 after health officials confirmed 21 more fatalities on Wednesday. 18 persons over 60 years and 3 persons between 30 and 59 years were among the COVID-19 fatalities confirmed on Wednesday. Zero deaths were confirmed from the under-30 age group. 76.46% of the total COVID-19 fatalities are over 60 years, 22.37% of the fatalities are from the 30 to 59 age group, and 1.17% of the fatalities are below 30 years. more..

Apparel sector signs historic MoU with trade unions

Dec 24 (FT) SL’s apparel sector and key industry trade unions signed a historic agreement that ensures business owners and employees work together to maintain continued vigilance on pandemic prevention, discuss issues of mutual interest and jointly participate in addressing grievances. In a key milestone in the industry’s efforts to continuously elevate its human resource practices and safeguard employees from more..

Sobitha Thero urges govt to withdraw new licenses granted to manufacture liquor

Dec 24 (FT) Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thero demanded the Govt to withdraw its approval to open three new distilleries. He said that by endorsing such decisions, Cabinet of Ministers is encouraging a drunken culture in the country that will lead to the breakdown of social values. Thero questioned the purpose behind the Govt’s interest to grant such licences and a drunken culture in the country, and alleged that it was reminiscent of the colonial strategy to distract the public from real issues more..

Sri Lanka U19s commence Asia Cup campaign with a massive win

Dec 24 (Island) SL Under 19s commenced their Under 19 Asia Cup campaign with a crushing 274 runs victory over Kuwait U19s in the Group ‘B’ match played at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday. Chasing an unlikely target of 324 runs to win, Kuwait were dismissed for a paltry 49 runs as skipper Dunith Wellalage, who came to bowl only in the 16th over took four wickets in nine balls. Captain Meet Bhavsar & Jude Saldanha who opened batting were the only batsmen to reach double figures more..

හිටපු කෘෂිකර්ම ලේකම්

Worker remittance inflows lose steam

Dec 24 (Island) In a period of decreasing reserves and foreign exchange shortages, migrant worker remittances had once been a welcome stream of income for SL in fulfilling its foreign exchange shortfalls. With the recent sharp fall in remittances, the ongoing situation is causing chaos in the island nation’s mission to increase foreign exchange revenues. The following is an examination of how remittances aided SL in the past, the causes of the sudden drop, and most importantly, more..

Over 44,000 tourist arrivals in December

Dec 24 (TM) During the month of December this year, a total of 44,120 tourists have arrived in SL for the holiday season. Ministry of Tourism Secretary S. Hettiarachchi stated: “Upto 20 Dec, total arrivals for the month are 44,120 while total arrivals in 2021 (up to 20 Dec) are 150,244.” On Tuesday (21), Ministry of Tourism official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that in comparison to the earlier year (2020) and year before (2019), period following the Easter Sunday attacks, more..

Despite pandemic, Sri Lanka Prosperity Index shows marginal gain in 2020

Dec 24 (FT) SL Prosperity Index (SLPI) marginally increased to 0.786 in 2020 compared to 0.783 recorded in 2019, its co-compiler Central Bank said this week. The Well-being of the People sub-index improved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, while decreases were observed in Economy and Business Climate and Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-indices, during the year. SLPI is a composite indicator compiled by the Statistics Dept more..

Minister instructs authorities to find alternatives to continue Galle Fort Crazy Dive

Dec 24 (DM) Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has instructed the Archeology Department to introduce an alternative plan for youth to continue engaging in adventurous sea diving activities which is also popularly known as Crazy Dive from Kodigala in Galle Fort. It has been reported that due to the archeological conservation work, the youth who have been diving into the sea from that spot was for about 15 years, are not able to engage in such activities since last Friday. more..

Domestic workers’ unions call for ratification of Int’l Conventions

Dec 24 (DN) To make decent work a reality for domestic workers in Sri Lanka, Centre for Working Women (CWW) together with the National Workers Congress and Protect Union and other domestic workers’ unions called for the ratification of International Labour Organisation- Domestic Workers Convention-(C189) and Violence and Harassment Convention-(C 190) by the Govt of SL. Domestic workers, most of them from marginalised groups, are contributing to SL’s economy more..

LPL: Jaffna Kings crowned champions, again

Dec 24 (Island) Jaffna Kings who topped the group phase of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2021, went on to win the title as they beat the Galle Gladiators in the final by 23 runs. The Kings were also the defending champions coming into the tournament but went down to the Gladiators on three occasions before the final in this years’ edition. Jaffna Kings stuck by what has worked well for them throughout the tournament as more..

Fitch downgrades SriLankan Airlines bonds to ‘CC’

Dec 24 (TM) Fitch Ratings has downgraded the rating on SriLankan Airlines Ltd.’s (SLA) $ 175 million government-guaranteed 7% unsecured bonds due 25 June 2024 to “CC”, from “CCC”. The rating action follows the downgrade of Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Ratings to “CC” from “CCC”. SriLankan Airlines’ bonds are rated at the same level as its parent, the state of Sri Lanka, due to the unconditional and irrevocable guarantee provided by the state. more..

B2B meetings between Sri Lankan, Nepali construction companies

Dec 24 (TM) Twenty construction companies from Sri Lanka and Nepal recently connected via Zoom technology for an interactive B2B (business-to-business) session, jointly organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Nepal and the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka (EDB). The participating companies represented sectors ranging from building construction, road development, bridges, and irrigation to renewable energy projects including hydropower and solar. more..

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

China donates medical equipment worth Rs. 20mn to hospitals in N&E provinces

Dec 24 (DM) Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong handed over a donation of eight lifesaving Kidney Dialysis Machines worth of Rs. 20 million to needy hospitals in the Northern and Eastern Provinces upon a request by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa. Rehan Jayawickreme, Vice Chairman of SJB Youth said this donation was not only an extension of the continued support to SL by the Peoples Republic of China, but also a landmark moment in relations between Sajith more..

Sensitive groups warned as Colombo air quality turns unhealthy

Dec 24 (DM) The air quality in the Colombo city is to remain unhealthy and thus, sensitive people are warned to be cautious of this situation, NBRO Senior Scientist H.D Sarath Premasiri said. He said Air Quality Index (AQI) values were recorded between 100-130 during last three days and it is expected to remain at the same range in next five days as well. “However, sensitive people should be mindful of this and take early precautions to avoid air interaction,” Premasiri said. more..

Health Ministry officials in the dark about mandatory vaccine card plan

Dec 24 (TM) Despite statements by Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella and Prasanna Ranatunga to the effect that it will be made mandatory for the people to have Covid-19 vaccination cards in possession when entering public places from 1 Jan 2022, even senior officials of the Health Ministry are not properly informed about its implementation. Recently, Rambukwella and Ranatunga stated that it will be mandatory to carry the Covid-19 more..

Former Agriculture Secretary expresses disappointment over dismissal

Dec 24 (AD) Udith K. Jayasinghe, former Secretary to the Agriculture Ministry, says he is disappointed by the dismissal even after dedicating his time, labour and knowledge to serve in the post. Mr. Jayasinghe said he is not aware of a specific reason for his sacking and that he is yet to be notified in writing of the move. He was removed as the Agriculture Secretary not long after he sparked debate with a warning about an imminent food shortage due to existing crisis in the country. more..

UNP claims Fitch Rating downgrade not due to pandemic

Dec 24 (Island) UNP said that the Fitch Rating agency’s downgrading SL to a rank of CC indicated an increased probability of a default event in coming months in light of the country’s worsening external liquidity position and drop in foreign-exchange reserves. Addressing the media at Sirikotha, UNP Chairman and former minister Wajira Abeywardena said that it could not accept the excuse given by the govt that the downgrading was a consequence of Covid-19 pandemic. more..

Agro sector mess: Govt cannot absolve itself of responsibility by sacking Secy. – SJB

Dec 24 (Island) The SJB has called for a thorough inquiry into the conduct of sacked Agriculture Secretary Senior Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe by Auditor General W.P.C. Wickramaratne and other relevant authorities. Matale District lawmaker Rohini Kaviratne on behalf of the SJB said that the truth couldn’t be suppressed by sacking Prof. Jayasinghe. Accusing Prof. Jayasinghe of importing liquid nano urea from India at a cost more..

JVP dismisses any possibility of aligning with SLFP

Dec 24 (DM) Amidst claims of some SLFP politicians of a possible aligning with the JVP in a future election, the JVP today dismissed any such possibility claiming that they were not ready to align with the two main parties or anyone who had been part of them. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told media that the JVP was not ready to join hands with those who contributed to the debacle the country was put into by being in the two main parties while enjoying ministry portfolios. more..

NFF demands restoration of price control

Dec 24 (Island) State Minister Jayantha Samaraweera on behalf of the NFF urged the govt to re-introduce price control to ensure the importers pass on the duty concessions received from the govt to consumers. NFF is a constituent of the ruling SLPP. The lawmaker cited how sugar importers, in spite of the reduction of Rs 50 a kilo duty on a kilo of imported sugar to 25 cents jacked up the prices. The govt was helpless as price control on rice, sugar, flour, milk powder and other essentials more..

Power cuts certain as it stands: CEBEU

Dec 24 (Island) The Country would experience rotational power cuts due to the negligence of some top officials of the CEB, the powerful CEB Engineers Union (CEBEU) warned. A senior Electrical Engineer and one time President of CEBEU said that masses would experience more power cuts unless immediate action was taken. “Power Crisis Committee Meeting has not been held for three months by CEB General Manager more..

Christmas: A season of sharing, goodwill and peace

Dec 25 (DM) Today the whole world celebrates Christmas. Christmas comes but once a year. This was a term often heard in days past when children were told not to expect gifts or rewards on a regular basis. Thus we can understand the underlying theme of Christmas. It is a time of celebration and joy at the birth of Jesus Christ, who has had such a deep impact or influence on our world. So great is the influence of this humble carpenter who lived two thousand years ago, that time itself more..

The losing battle for devolution

Dec 25 (DM) Twelve Tamil and Muslim political parties have on Tuesday finalized a common proposal on devolution of power that is to be presented to SL and Indian govts and the international community. It was reported that they are going to demand through this proposal a devolution package that would go beyond the provisions of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. TNA leader R. Sampanthan, TPA leader Mano Ganesan, ITAK leader more..

PM in Tirupathi seeking divine blessings to salvage country from multiple crises

Dec 25 (CT) As the country is hit by multiple crises, including a predicted famine in 2022, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Friday, offered prayers at the ancient hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, famously known as Tirupathi Temple. PM Rajapaksa, accompanied by his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa, flew on Thursday afternoon on a 2-day-long spiritual journey to the hills. more..

ICCPR: Viewed through the experiences f Hejaaz Hizbulla & Palakrishnan Rathikaran

Dec 25 (CT) To instil in us that respect for human rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was drafted in 1966 by the UN General assembly and came into force ten years later when 35 countries adopted it. The domestic version enacted in Sri Lanka was flawed. According to B.K.M. Jayasekera and A.A. Edirisinghe, both of the Kotelawala Defence University, in their 2016 article say as adapted below: SL acceded to ICCPR in 1980 & its First Optional Protocol in 1997, more..

Lynching in Sialkot and burning alive in Sri Lanka: A comparison

Dec 25 (FT) On Thursday 3 Dec, Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, was brutally killed by workers of the factory and his body was set on fire in the Pakistani city of Sialkot, bordering India. This sheer barbarity was promptly condemned by all Pakistanis. There were demonstrations all over Pakistan and women demonstrated in Lahore. Prominent ulemas expressed their deep condolences. Though Three-e-Labia Pakistan party was accused the TLP officially distanced itself from the incident. more..

When angelic voices herald Christmas in Kandy

Dec 25 (ST) In the hills of Kandy, the Christmas season seems inevitably to begin with the carols at Trinity College. The congregation returns expectantly, to hear the angel voices of the choir deliver a ritual reminder that a king was born and laid in a lowly stable. Traditional preparations for the carols would start in Sept after Aug holidays, when rehearsals begin, but the choristers have been preparing their hearts and minds all year. more..