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Video: Ex-Def. Secretary on why Ranil & IGP were not invited to Security Council meetings

Sep 19 (AD) Former Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis gave evidence before the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday terror attacks for the 7th day on Thursday. During the proceedings, the legal counsel representing the Director of State Intelligence Service (SIS) Nilantha Jayawardena asked the witness as to how he came to know that an attack had been carried out on Easter Sunday in 2019. more..

Sri Lanka plantations sitting on Rs300mn in oil palm seedlings amid ban

Sep 19 (EN) Sri Lanka’s large commercial plantations companies are sitting on 300 million rupees of worth imported plants, which cannot be planted due to a ban imposed by the state, which are growing old, an official said. Though SL had been planting oil palm for over 50 years, there had been a global backlash against the industry largely due rainforest clearing in Malaysia and Indonesia in favour of the crop. “..[T]here are currently almost 300 million rupees worth of plants in more..

Two more lanes for motorcycles and three-wheelers

Sep 19 (CT) As a solution to the inconvenience faced by motorcyclists and three-wheel drivers plying on the same priority lanes allocated for heavy vehicles such as buses, the Police allocate more space to three-wheelers and motorcycles by allowing them to travel in two lanes. The Director of the Traffic Control and Road Safety Division said, buses, three-wheelers and motorcycles could travel in the first & second lanes on 4-lane roads, while buses will move on the first lane from the left, more..

'Yahapalana govt came to power with minority votes and officials felt helpless'

Sep 19 (Island) Given how important the support from the minorities was for the previous govt, the defence establishment had to be very careful when dealing with rising Islamic extremism and radicalisation, former Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarchchi informed the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks. Hettiarchchi said that State Intelligence Service (SIS) had identified rising Islamic extremism and radicalisation as more..

President presents motorbikes for PHIs

Sep 19 (PMD) President Maithripala Rajapaksa symbolically presented motorbikes for the Public Health Inspectors in appreciation of their commitment and life-risking service during the COVID 19 at the Presidential Secretariat today (18). Since 2015 no PHIs were provided with motorbikes. PHIs representing 26 selected Medical Health Zones covering the entire island and who had not received motorbikes during their service were presented with 749 motorbikes. more..

Petrol and Diesel prices brought down

Sep 19 (CT) Finance Ministry reduced the duties on petrol (92 Octane) by Rs 5 (11.36%) and diesel containing sulphur exceeding 10 milligrams (mg) per kilo (kg), but not exceeding 500mg/kg which is generally used by passenger and goods transport vehicles such as buses, lorries and trains, by Rs 1 (5.56%) with effect from 17 Sept. However, earlier on 24 August, the Ministry imposed surcharges on Customs duties on all types of petrol and diesel (gas oil) imports ranging from a minimum of more..

Islandwide crackdown reveals network of illegal weapons, drugs and secret accounts

Sep 19 (ST) Crime Syndicates operating countrywide held over 100 illegal weapons, carried out drug sales and held secret bank accounts, a senior police official revealed. Deshabandu Tennakoon, Senior Deputy IGP said this came to light after 400 members from 25 different groups were identified. He said these operations will continue. The operation which was in progress for the past 8 months has resulted more..

Will not increase prices of rice for any reason: Minister Bandula

Sep 19 (DM) Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardane yesterday assured that prices of rice in the market will not be increased for any reason. The minister expressed these views at a discussion held with the small and medium scale rice mill owners with the aim of dispelling pretensions of artificial rice shortages and thereby causing inconvenience to the consumers. He said the government has decided not to increase the maximum retail price set for consumers. more..

2 Customs officers arrested for smuggling out turmeric consignment in custody

Sep 19 (AD) Two Customs officers have been arrested by the police for illegally removing a massive consignment of Turmeric in the custody of the Customs. The Bloemendhal Police on Friday (18) seized 33,000 kg of Turmeric and 3,000 kilograms of Oried illegally imported into the country and smuggled out of Customs. The stocks of Turmeric and Oried were found inside three container trucks parked near a storage complex, based on information received by Police. more..

In-school support boost to head off alarming rise in child abuse

Sep 19 (ST) NCPA is speedily setting up school protection committees following alarming reports of physical and sexual abuse by school and tuition teachers and even shop-keepers operating near schools. A dance teacher in his 40s was arrested for molesting a schoolboy late one evening after a school event. The suspect allegedly offered the boy food and drinks and, after spiking the drinks, had molested the unconscious child. more..

Video: Ranil, Anura leave PCoI premises

Sep 19 (AD) Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake have left the PCoI probing the incidents of political victimization. They arrived at the PCoI premises at around 10.15am this morning (19) to record a statement with regard to a complaint filed by former Director General of Divi Neguma Department Kithsiri Ranawaka. Former Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Champika Ranawaka also arrived at the PCoI on political victimization to give evidence. more..

Over 2,000 participate in SL Vanithabhimana

Sep 19 (FT) Over 2,000 participants from the Central Hills took part in the first-ever Sri Lanka Vanithabhimana clarion call at Kandy City Centre (KCC). Accordingly, the special women’s day program organised by NDB and Sirasa News 1st conducted provincial Women’s Day workshops for different areas such as cookery, beautician, yoga training, health clinics, mobile banking and financial/monetary services, legal aid services, advice for self-employment, training for more..

Now, UK concerned about detention of lawyer allegedly involved in easter sunday...

Sep 19 (Island) Many an eyebrow has been raised over the UK condemning the arrest of 2019 Easter Sunday attack suspect, lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, at the UNHRC. Cabinet on Wednesday discussed the British govt criticism of SL’s withdrawal from the 30/1 accountability resolution and current human rights situation in SL et al. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena briefed the cabinet of ministers of strong criticism directed by more..

Prison sergeant’s alleged plot to assassinate Kuruwita superintendent disclosed

Sep 19 (AD) A prison sergeant has allegedly orchestrated a plot to assassinate the superintendent of Kuruwita Prison, the Police told the court. The officers of Kuruwita Police, presenting their submissions to the Ratnapura Chief Magistrate, informed that a special investigation will be launched in this regard. The prison sergeant in question has reportedly hired a criminal gang member who is currently serving a sentence at the Colombo Remand Prison to carry out assassination. more..

India subtracted: Colombo, the Tamils and constitutional change

Sep 19 (FT) Any collective, especially a minority community, is in the most serious kind of political trouble when its smartest representatives say things that are the exact opposite of smart—and that’s a polite euphemism—at exactly the wrong time. Take MP M.A. Sumanthiran, quoted by Meera Srinivasan of The Hindu as follows: ‘… “While it is true that the draft 20th Amendment seeks to enhance executive powers, just as the 18th Amendment did, we should not lose sight of the need to abolish more..

Covid Task Force urges the public not to relax their guard against the virus

Sep 19 (EN) The authorities are warning the public not to relax their guard against the Covid 19 virus saying the risk of infection remains even though there is no evidence of community transmission of the disease, in SL an official statement said. The 5 new cases of Covid diagnosed in the past 24-hours are all foreign returnees to SL, but the authorities are still cautioning against holding of public events more..

'Get Sara deported from India for vital info'

Sep 19 (DM) SJB MP Mujibur Rahman urged the govt to seek India’s support to get SL woman Sara deported from that country as she is directly involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. Mr. Rahman said that it will be possible to uncover vital information on Easter Sunday attacks if Sara is brought down from India and is questioned “I am also prepared to help the government in this endeavor. I have brought this to the notice of the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks when I was summoned,” more..

SL’s COVID-19 recoveries hike to 3,070

Sep 19 (AD) Ten more individuals infected with COVID-19 have made complete recoveries today. According to the situation report issued by the Epidemiology Unit, 5 receiving treatment at IDH, 1 patient at the Welikanda Base Hospital and 4 others from the Iranawila Hospital have been discharged in this manner. COVID-19 recuperations confirmed in Sri Lanka thereby reached 3,070. In the meantime, the total count of positive cases of novel coronavirus found in SL currently sits at 3,281. more..

Do not allow brand name Ceylon Tea to be tarnished

Sep 19 (PMD) President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa urged the tea factory owners not to pave the way to tarnish the image of Ceylon Tea brand which has attracted many countries in the world for a long time. Media recently reported instances of adulterating the quality tea by mixing sugar, glucose, sodium bicarbonate and ferrous sulfate. The rejection of such tea in the world market has caused a huge setback to the tea industry. more..

Presidential accountability is what the 20th Amendment is about

Sep 19 (FT) Despite the Govt appearing to step back from the planned decimation of the improvements made to the Constitution in 2015, it is likely that some of the key autocratic elements of the original J.R. Jayewardene design made worse by the 18th Amendment will remain in a new draft amendment. Or they may be included in the proposed new Constitution. The in-your-face nastiness of some of the provisions proposed in the SLPP’s original 20th Amendment caused more..

'SL job seekers should be adaptable, have self-initiative in post-Covid world'

Sep 19 (EN) Young people and private sector workers who wanted to succeed in the post-Coronavirus environment should be adaptable and have self-initiative and many businesses are demanding information technology skills, industry practitioners said. Coronavirus crisis had forced businesses to change the way they did operations, business models and sometimes shifting to entirely new products, triggering sweeping changes across organizations. more..

රාජ්‍ය අමාත්‍ය සනත් නිශාන්ත

Sri Lanka’s digital literacy increases to 46%

Sep 19 (CT) SL’s digital literacy increased from 42.4 to 46% and computer literacy from 29 to 30.8%, 2018 over last year (2019), Census and Statistics Department (CSD) said on 17. When digital literacy is considered (aged 5 - 69), digital literacy was higher than computer literacy for all disaggregated levels and within the similar age group, showing the drift from personal computers to smartphones/tablets. Positions such as senior officials and managers (76.1%), more..

Namal wants the youth to play a bigger role

Sep 19 (NR) Minister Namal Rajapaksa says the youth have a key role to play in reshaping the country, and successfully face the new challenges. He said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are facing major financial issues and it will also impact the local economy. He said therefore the govt has taken a number of measures to increase the domestic food production. Minister noted that the govt is aiming to create a self-sufficient country through the increase use of technology in more..

'Sirisena Asked Ex-IGP to be the Fall Guy'

Sep 19 (CT) Making a damning statement on Friday, before the PCoI into the Easter Sunday bombings, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando said, former President Maithripala Sirisena, on 24 April 2019, informed former IGP Pujith Jayasundara that if he accepted responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombings and resigns, he would be given his pension and an ambassadorial post in any country that he desired. more..

SLTB ticket scam: Monthly loss of Rs. 120 m

Sep 19 (TM) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) incurs an estimated loss of Rs. 120 million a month due to the ongoing ticket scam. SLTB Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka said that bus conductors’ failure to give tickets to commuters was causing this issue. “Some conductors don’t issue tickets after taking the money for it. As a result, a huge loss is incurred by the SLTB. We’ve asked the commuters to ensure they obtain tickets. Around Rs. 60 lakhs (Rs. 6 million) a day is lost because of this.” more..

Probing SLMC actions: GMOA shelves strike

Sep 19 (CT) The GMOA said it had shelved the idea of a strike during the week starting 21 Sept, following Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi’s move to set up a five-member committee to probe the actions of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and to submit a Cabinet paper to issue the Gazette on the Minimum Standards for Medical Education. GMOA Secretary, Dr. Senal Fernando, said on 17 Sept that the GMOA General Committee would meet on 24 Sept to review the progress more..

SJB prepares to take 20A to Court next week

Sep 19 (FT) The SJB plans to take their concerns regarding the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Courts after the Govt presents it in Parliament next week. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that SJB plans to go to Courts following the first reading of the bill next Tuesday (22). He was joined by SJB members Sujith Perera and Harshana Rajakaruna. more..

President orders prompt action: Salusala revival expedited

Sep 19 (TM) A news article was published by The Morning highlighting that the property under the purview of the Ministry of Defence was to be reacquired by the State Ministry before restoration could commence, and it would make room in the store that is now repurposed as a vehicle garage by the security units for the same. Upon taking note of the obstacles that the State Ministry is facing in continuing restoration process of Lanka Salusala, due to the presence of the security units, more..

Recording of confidential conversations a matter for concern: Media Minister

Sep 19 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the recording of confidential conversations between senior officials was a matter for concern. Minister acknowledged the need to look into the matter. He said so when The Island asked whether the govt felt the need for legislation to prevent releasing of confidential conversations. The Island sought the govt response to former head of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena releasing a conversation more..

SriLankan Airlines negotiating with lessors, reducing costs

Sep 19 (FT) SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage, in an interview with Bloomberg, discussed how the national carrier is coping up with the impact of the COVID pandemic. He said that the airline has seen a 75% drop in turnover compared to last year due to the pandemic, and they have taken many measures to reduce costs. However, he expressed optimism that organisation will be in better shape post-COVID, more..

Relief for Northern farmers affected by Cyclone Amphan

Sep 19 (FT) Cabinet has approved a proposal to provide relief to over 2,300 farmers in the Northern Province who suffered severe losses due to Cyclone Amphan, which hit the island, causing heavy rains and winds for four days from 16 to 19 May. The cyclone caused severe damage to banana and papaya plantations of 2,374 farmers in the Kopay, Thellipalai and Karavetti DS in Jaffna District. According to the Jaffna District Secretary, the total estimated loss was Rs. 52.9 million. more..

First COPE meeting on Tuesday

Sep 19 (FT) The first meeting of the Parliament oversight committee, COPE, will be held next Tuesday (22). Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena named 22 members to COPE last week, with the Opposition having eight members, while the Govt members make up the rest. The SBJ said it is seeking the COPE chairmanship, saying an Opposition MP should chair this important oversight committee, as was done in the last Parliament when former JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti chaired it. more..

Two dead as fox fear hits Kalutara

Sep 19 (CT) The Wildlife authorities on 18 September alerted the public on the threat from rabid foxes prowling in the suburbs of Kalutara following recent fatal attacks on humans and animals, a senior-most official said. The two victims died after they were attacked in separate incidents within a space of two months while the animals were also killed the same period, Conservation Director (Health) of the Department of Wildlife, more..

Video: Draft of 20A included in Parliament agenda for Sep. 22

Sep 19 (AD) The draft of the 20th Amendment was included in the Parliament’s agenda today. Accordingly, the draft Bill is to be tabled in the House on the 22nd of Sept. Meanwhile, MP of SJB Ranjith Madduma Bandara says judicial action will be taken sought against the draft Bill of the 20th Amendment. Minister Bandula Gunawardena stated that the Cabinet of Ministers unanimously decided to table the gazetted draft Bill of the 20th Amendment in the Parliament without any alterations. more..

'Halt importing duty-free vehicles for 79 new MPs'

Sep 19 (CT) President of Hela Bodu Saviya, Ven. Budugala Jinawansa Thera has written to Prez Rajapaksa requesting him to reconsider ordering duty-free vehicles for the 79 new Members of Parliament. He said, he came to know that the Ministry of Public Administration was arranging to import duty-free vehicles for new MPs. He stated it has been stated that a duty-free permit was worth Rs 30 million. The prelate’s letter states: “Certain Cabinet Ministers have already declared that more..