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Bus fares to increase from next week

Dec 29 (AD) State Minister of Transport Dilum Amunugama says that the minimum bus fare will be increased by Rs. 03 with effect from Jan 5, 2022. Accordingly, the minimum fare for travel in SL Transport Board (SLTB) and private passenger buses will be increased from Rs. 14 to Rs. 17 from next Wednesday (5). He stated that the other categories of bus fares, excluding minimum fare category, for SLTB and private passenger transport buses will be increased by 17% with effect from the date. more..

Storm over attempts to build hydro-power project

Dec 29 (Island) Centre for Environmental Justice is expected to hold a discussion with the Central Environmental Authority to register its protest against a controversial mini hydro project. CEJ Senior Advisor Hematha Withanage said that hundreds of protesters including villagers and environmentalists were urging govt agencies to stop a small hydro power project near the Athwelthota Pilithuda Falls. Environmentalists, Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera, Hemantha Withanage, more..

Prospects of swap, US$1.5bn India credits get closer after Sri Lanka minister comments

Dec 29 (EN) SL’s prospects of getting a US$ 400 million central bank swap and import credits from India had brightened after the island’s petroleum minister said an agreement would be signed on a tank farm in India in January. SL had asked for a US$ 400 million swap from the Reserve Bank of India, a US$ 500 million petroleum credit likely from the Eximbank of India and a one billion US dollar food and medicines credit during a visit of Minister Basil Rajapaksa to India. more..

Colombo Port City project: Controversial since its inception

Dec 29 (ORF) At first envisioned during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency (2005-15), the Colombo Port City (CPC) project was announced on Xi Jinping’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2014. The CPC is one of China’s flagship projects and a major component of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Spanning 269 hectares of reclaimed land from the sea, the project is worth US $1.4 billion and is the single largest investment in Sri Lanka. Colombo being amongst the top 25 busiest ports in the world, more..

UNMISS bound first army group leaves for South Sudan

Dec 29 (SLA) The first group of the 8th Army contingent of the SL Army Medical Corps (SLAMC), bound for the UN Peace-Keeping Mission in South Sudan’s Level-2 Hospital (UNMISS) to serve the SRIMED Hospital left for South Sudan during early morning hours on Wednesday (29) amidst greetings of Commander of the Army, General Shavendra Silva who showed up at the airport despite his day's hectic schedules. Soon after review of a simple parade, presented by those troops in honour of their Army Chief, more..

මහින්දගේ පෞද්ගලික ගමන ගිය අධි සැප යානේ...

LIOC Mega Campaign prizes awarded after pandemic created delay

Dec 29 (Island) The Fill and win Mega Campaign conducted at 205 petrol sheds of Lanka IOC launched on Jan 13, 2020 and concluded on March 15, 2020. However due to the Pandemic the Prize distribution could not be conducted earlier. Despite the Pandemic, the Campaign received an overwhelming, enthusiastic and positive response from all customers, covering seven Provinces. Over 150,000 customers participated in the contest that brought together all stakeholders, pledging to appreciate, more..

Plans underway to bring 50% students to Uni: UGC Chairman

Dec 29 (DM) Steps will be taken to bring back all students to universities for academic activities in the near future, UGC Chairman Prof. Sampath Amaratunga said. Addressing the media, he said every university could presently bring 50% of its students' capacity. Therefore, the university vice chancellors had the authority to summon 50% of the students according to the requirement. It has been decided not to bring the full student capacity, due to the COVID pandemic. more..

Scaremongering has led to booster hesitation in Sri Lanka: doctors union

Dec 29 (EN) Despite impressive strides in COVID-19 vaccination, Sri Lankans are showing some hesitancy towards the booster shot, the GMOA said. GMOA Secretary Dr Shenal Fernando said that misinformation campaigns were to blame for the development. “Scaremongering by various parties has resulted in a certain level of booster hesitancy. It’s not a shortage of vaccines or a shortcoming in the rollout, but some individuals and groups have been more..

Obscene publications prohibition bill to be re-submitted

Dec 29 (CT) A gazette issued on 24 Dec 2021 on the prohibition of obscene publications is to be nullified. Justice minister Ali Sabri has instructed the justice ministry secretary M.P.L. Mayadunne to submit an amended bill to the cabinet as consideration should also be given to the rights of content creators. The bill is to be introduced for the welfare of child abuse victims and to protect the privacy of women subject to harassment and not to curtail the freedom of expression, more..

Rs 150M for migrant worker welfare

Dec 29 (CT) A total of Rs 150 million has been allocated from Budget 2022 for the Safe and Regular Labour Migration Programmes, State Minister Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle said. She made this remark in a statement issued in celebration of the International Migrants Day by the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus. Dr. Fernandopulle is the Chairperson of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus. “This day is of special interest to the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus in particular as statistics show that more..

Petitioner demands explanation over change of LPG composition

Dec 29 (Island) Attorney-at-Law Nagananda Kodituwakku says the govt owes an explanation as regards recent gas explosions, especially in the wake of the declaration made by Prof. Shantha Walpolage, Chairman of the Committee, appointed by Prez Rajapaksa to probe the recent gas-related incidents, that the change in the composition of gas in 12.5 kg domestic gas cylinders was the cause of the continuing blasts. more..

VC regrets misrepresentation of University’s reputation

Dec 29 (CT) Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Uni of Colombo Senior Professor Chandrika Wijeyaratne said, she regrets misrepresentation of the university’s reputation and good name, following the reports of some graduates abstaining from obtaining their degree certificates from the Uni Chancellor at the graduation ceremony held on 17, 18 and 19 Dec. In a statement, she said the university reiterates its commitment to uphold decent behaviour and attitudes among all sectors of the Uni. more..

SLMC mulls EP development with other parties

Dec 29 (CT) SLMC Deputy Leader and Ampara District MP, H.M.M. Harees said they were ready to collaborate with other political parties when it comes to the development of the Eastern Province. Harees was addressing an event held at the Sainthamaruthu Divisional Secretariat under the patronage of Divisional Secretary M.M. Ashique. “Our country is facing a foreign currency crisis right now. However, a large sum of money has been allocated in the Budget 2022 for rural development activities. more..

Malaria outbreak despite WHO malaria elimination certification?

Dec 29 (TM) Ministry of Health’s Anti Malaria Campaign warned this week that there is a risk of the spread of the malaria virus in the country again, five years after the WHO certified that malaria has been eliminated from SL. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Anti Malaria Campaign Director Dr. Prasad Ranaweera said: “Although malaria was eliminated from the country, every year we receive reports of cases from those travelling more..

Six-storey Maternity Hospital to get off the ground

Dec 29 (CT) Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella directed that the six-storey new maternity hospital in Karapitiya, Galle, be completed with the support of the German Govt and be utilised for Patient Care Services. The Minister said that the construction of this hospital should not be postponed any longer and expressed regret that the hospital, a national resource, was not operational on time, and that the contractors in charge of its development at the time were to blame. more..

SLIAg condemns abrupt removal of Prof Jayasinghe

Dec 29 (CT) SL Institute of Agriculture (SLIAg) has written to Prez Rajapaksa condemning the abrupt removal of a renowned food and agriculture scientist, Senior Professor Udith K. Jayasinghe, from the post of Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture. The SLIAg said they believe the removal of Prof. Jayasinghe did not conform to professional and ethical standards of good governance. Prof. Jayasinghe was removed from his position reportedly for his comments to the media more..

Aircraft involved in recent emergency landing taken to Ratmalana Airport

Dec 29 (AD) The light aircraft which sustained damages in an emergency landing at Kimbulapitiya area in Katana has been taken to the Ratmalana Airport for further investigations, says Director-General of Civil Aviation Themiya Abeywickrama. According to preliminary probes, the accident took place as the pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft belonging to Sakurai Airlines attempted to make an emergency landing at BIA more..

Responsible pet ownership vital

Dec 29 (CT) There was a slight increase in the number of human rabies cases last year, most probably due to the lockdown and the public fear of seeking medical attention from hospitals due to COVID pandemic, Head of the Dept of Rabies and Vaccine Quality Control, MRI, Dr. Kanthi Nanayakkara said. Annually around 20 to 30 cases of humans infected by rabies (human rabies) were diagnosed and last year the cases rose to 31. Also, last year saw an outbreak of rabies in jackals more..

CSE’s year-to-date net foreign outflow exceeds Rs. 51 billion

Dec 29 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is in the final week of trading for 2021 on a negative note with both indices down although turnover improved sharply, stock market analysts said yesterday. Market also saw high net foreign selling, increasing the year-to-date (YTD) net outflow over Rs. 51 billion with the deteriorating foreign exchange reserves. Therefore, the market witnessed significant profit takings this year especially among foreign investors. more..

Wanidu nominated for ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Year

Dec 29 (AD) SL’s Wanidu Hasaranga is among the ICC’s four nominees for the ICC Men’s T20 Cricketer of the Year Award. Two brilliant wicketkeeper-batters and two all-rounders constitute the ICC’s nominees for the 2021 ICC Men’s T20I Player of the Year awards. Pakistan’s Mohammad Rizwan, England’s Jos Buttler and Australia’s Mitchell Marsh are the other nominees for the coveted award this year. more..

Seychelles Police open investigation in apparent strangulation death of Sri Lankan

Dec 29 (SNA) An investigation has started in the death of a Sri Lankan national after the autopsy report showed that he died by strangulation, the Seychelles Police said on Wednesday. The body of Harindra Ponnawilage Don, 47, who was residing on La Digue, the third-most populated island, was found on Friday, Dec 10 around 8.50 am, the police said, in a private house of a businessman who was employing the SL national. The police statement added that "the businessman who owns more..

Next couple of weeks extremely decisive, says Epidemiology Chief

Dec 29 (DM) The next couple of weeks could be crucial in determining the impact of the COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige said. Addressing a news briefing today, he said the behavior of the people during this ongoing festive season would be crucial. “Although the COVID-19 situation in the country has reached a slightly controlled level, it does not mean that Sri Lanka is safe from the virus. It’s not. We are not out of the woods yet, he said. more..

පහළ වැටුණු විදෙස් සංචිත යළි ඉහළට...

People’s anti-malarial responsibility

Dec 30 (TM) Amidst a health crisis that has wreaked havoc in the country, the health authorities express concerns about the risk of the re-emergence of another health crisis. On Monday (27), the Health Ministry’s Anti Malaria Campaign warned that there is a risk of the spread of the malaria virus in the country, five years after the World Health Organisation (WHO) certified that malaria has been eliminated from Sri Lanka. According to the Campaign’s Director Dr. Prasad Ranaweera, more..

On grievance, anxiety and belonging

Dec 30 (DM) In the matter of voicing, assessing and addressing grievances and apprehensions, it is my contention that there’s grievous neglect of acknowledging (say) ‘error.’ Communities, or rather those claiming to represent such collectives, are big on pointing fingers, wailing and stamping redress-feet, but seem all too ready to navel-gaze when their own faults of omission and commission are brought to the table. And so, we have a shouting match. Or worse. It gets us nowhere. more..

One family, One set of looters

Oct 30 (CT) The current financial crisis that our small nation is facing is due to a single reason. Yes, a single reason called the Rajapaksa family willfully assisted by others who have benefited financially and otherwise during the successive terms of this family when in political power. Starting with the Tsunami funds the Rajapaksa elder has shown that his greed has no bounds. The bigger the project the better it was as deciding factor more..

What caused poor booster penetration

Dec 30 (CT) Yesterday a daily quoting Epidemiology Unit (EU) Head, Dr Samitha Ginige said only about 25% of the population eligible for the COVID-19 booster dose had received it. “That means another 75% or 10 million have not received it as yet,” Ginige is further quoted to have said. He also said the public was reluctant to receive the booster shot though there were adequate vaccine stocks. Epidemiology Head had further said, “Everyone over 20 years of age is eligible for booster shot, more..

Hoping for a tomorrow that’s better than today

Dec 30 (DM) We definitely hope it will be so, but given the current crisis situation in Sri Lanka the chances of tomorrow being better or brighter than yesterday are quite remote indeed. Amid the rapidly escalating cost of living; the shortage of food and essential commodities such as milk powder; the prospect of a return to an era of long queues; the rise in fuel prices triggering a chain reaction and the overall economic downturn with the rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves; the outlook, more..

Covid-19 in Sri Lanka: Macroeconomic crisis, or more of the same?

Dec 30 (TM) It’s been two years since the discovery of the first Covid-19 patient and the ensuing lockdowns which pushed the global economy into turmoil. SL was a victim of both the health and economic crises that came with the pandemic. But for a country that has gone through 16 IMF programmes, macroeconomic data for 2020 and 2021 shows that these two years were not so different from the preceding decades. more..

An unjust justice system needs to be changed

Dec 30 (GV) Two prisoners in SL were recently released after being detained for many years, a harsh reminder of the ease with which people can be locked up on flimsy grounds. This has fuelled criticism of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), in particular, and in general a supposed justice system that can be blatantly unjust. Although minorities have been most affected, anyone outside the ruling family and its inner circle could find themselves a victim, especially at a time of rising discontent. more..

Army discipline combined with the monastic order

Dec 30 (CT) Former soldiers becoming Buddhist monks are not unheard of in the history of SL. We have examples from the time of King Dutugemunu whose army fought successfully with invading foreign forces and some of them finally ending as Buddhist monks. But with the departure of the most venerable Buddhangala Ananda Maha Thera, formerly, Major General Ananda Weerasekera, we are witnessing the end of a legend that combined his army discipline with that of the Buddhist more..

Keheliya Rambukwella

Welcoming the Seventh Bishop of Kandy: Bishop Valence Mendis

Oct 30 (Island) On 9th Oct 2021, the Vatican announced the appointment of Rt. Rev. Dr. Valence Mendis (Bishop of Chilaw) as the Bishop of Kandy by His Holiness Pope Francis, succeeding Bishop Vianney Fernando on his retirement after a very fruitful and record-breaking long episcopate spanning more than 38 years. His installation as the 7th Bishop of Kandy will take place on 17th Jan 2022 at St. Anthony’s Cathedral, Kandy at a ceremony to be presided over by more..

Editorial: All hat and no cattle

Oct 30 (Island) There has been a considerable increase in the country’s foreign reserves, which have risen to USD 3.1 billion from USD 1.6 billion, according to the Central Bank. This is good news, and it is hoped that the forex situation will continue to improve. But it is said that one swallow doesn’t make a summer. On seeing widespread chaos in the country, one wonders whether there is a govt at all. Traders are jacking up prices whimsically. Rice millers have become a law unto themselves; more..

Chinese company intensifies fight against SL

Dec 30 (DM) A Chinese company has intensified its fight against Sri Lanka over disputed fertilizer stocks and has even proposed tough sanctions to be imposed at a time the country is experiencing an economic crisis, the learns. Govt of SL has already decided to pay US$ 6.7 million to Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd for the fertilizer which was rejected by Sri Lanka after local tests had identified harmful bacteria. more..

132,603 COVID-19 vaccines administered

Oct 30 (FT) COVID-19 vaccines were administered to 132,603 persons on Tuesday, with 64.35% of the country’s population now fully vaccinated against the virus. 74.36% of the population has received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 15,987,913 persons have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 13,836,707 persons have received the second dose as well. Third dose has been administered to 3,691,716 persons. On Tuesday, 127,854 persons received the booster dose, for which more..

Chess: Susal and Dasuni take lead

Oct 30 (CT) Sri Lanka’s promising youth Chess Player Susal de Silva of Nalanda College is in the lead with 9 points out of possible 10 games after he beat Senuka Ahangama in the 10th round. Earlier, Susal beat Isara Dahanayake, Chehan Weerasinghe and Theekshana Denuwan in the 7th, 8th and 9th rounds. Former National Chess Champion Dasuni Mendis (Passed Pawn CC), who scored 7 ˝ points out of 10 games, took over the lead in the Women’s category. more..

'Opposition’s plan to get people to boo govt. politicians failed'

Dec 30 (Island) The Opposition plan to get people to hoot at govt politicians in their electorates had failed, Minister Johnston Fernando said. “Their plan was to organise people to boo ministers and MPs when we visit our electorates and villages. That did not work because they have no strength or organisational power to work out a campaign of such level. Today their plan went awry and was proven to be another flop. more..

U-19 Asia Cup: Batting in focus as Sri Lanka face Pakistan in first semi

Oct 30 (CT) The knockout round of the ACC U-19 Asia Cup 2021-22 will kickstart with an encounter between Pakistan U-19 and Sri Lanka U-19 in the first semi-final. The high-octane clash will be hosted at the ICC Academy Ground in Dubai on Thursday (30). Sri Lanka finished second in the Group ‘B’ standings. They won two of their three matches, while their one game against Bangladesh was cancelled due to the COVID-19 scare. The Lankans have been brilliant in the competition so far. more..