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110 new cases brings total COVID-19 patients to 5,354

Oct 17 (FT) The total number of COVID-19 patients identified in the island rose to 5,354 yesterday with the identification of 110 new cases. Of the new cases, 38 are staff or associates of the garment manufacturing facility in Minuwangoda who were at quarantine centres at the time of testing positive and 72 are other contacts. This brings the Divulapitiya cluster to 1,899 cases. The remaining cases include 1,450 returnees from abroad, more..

Present Covid cases not random but linked to factory cluster: Pavithra

Oct 17 (DM) The Covid-19 cases, reported at present are not random cases but in someway linked to the Minuwangoda factory cluster, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said yesterday. She said it was true that cases were reported from several areas in the country but each case had either direct or indirect links to some of the positive cases of the Minuwangoda cluster. “Therefore, reports that cases are reported here and there randomly, are not just and correct,” more..

Rishad will be arrested soon: Defence Secy

Oct 17 (DN) Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne urged the public to give the law enforcement officers time for the arrest of MP Rishad Bathiudeen, assuring that he would be arrested very soon. “When we look at social media, Govt is attacked and criticized. Prez is targeted and the Police and Defence Ministry, including the Defence Secretary are being targeted and blamed. However, these people who are attacking and criticizing us are also citizens of this country. more..

Pompeo’s visit not confirmed yet: US Emb.

Oct 17 (Island) Close on the heels of China reiterating its commitment to Sri Lanka’s development goals and backing for Colombo at International forums, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Gopal Baglay met PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday to discuss ongoing Indian projects as well as cooperation on new projects. A top level Chinese delegation, led by senior Chinese leader and top foreign policy official Yang Jiechi, more..

EC urges President to hold PC elections

Oct 17 (CT) Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya requested Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take necessary actions to pass a Parliamentary Act as soon as possible in order to hold the postponed Provincial Council elections. In a letter sent to the President, Deshapriya stated, the Supreme Court had ruled that governing Provincial Councils through Governors and other officials without holding the Elections is not legal. This was when the petition SCFR35/2016 was heard. more..

20A will make democracy negligible: WMC

Oct 17 (CT) Parliamentary Council (PC) which replaces the Constitutional Council (CC) does not in any way reflect good governance and its powers in the democratic process are made negligible by the proposed 20th Amendment, Women & Media Collective (WMC) stated. Issuing a statement on the proposed 20th Amendment, specifically on independent Commissions under Clause 6, the Collective pointed out, Members of the PC will only be Parliamentarians and that it will no longer more..

'Zaharan’s group planned 20 suicide bombings'

Oct 17 (CT) The National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) Leader Zaharan Hashim- led group had initially planned to carry out the bombings on Easter Sunday, with the involvement of 20 suicide bombers targeting crowded places including hospitals. This was related, on 16 October, by an officer, attached to the Terrorism Investigations Division (TID), testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into 2019 Easter Sunday bombings. more..

Motor Traffic Dept. to restart limited services from Tuesday

Oct 17 (FT) The public services provided by the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT), which had been temporarily withheld due to the risks posed by COVID-19, will recommence from next Tuesday, the Department said in a statement yesterday. However, services will be dispensed with a limited staff and subject to certain limitations, with the aim of minimising the inconveniences faced by the public. Accordingly, the clients who expect to obtain the services provided by the DMT were asked to more..

Exploring the rivers and rainforests of SL

Oct 17 (ES) SL has long been a destination for travellers seeking escapism. This small beautiful island, situated south of India, is larger than life with idyllic beaches, sprawling tea plantations and exquisite properties that have the luxury credentials to rival any major city in the world. There are plenty of towns hidden away from the well-trodden tourist paths of SL. One is Piliyandala, where you’ll find Bolgoda Lake - which at a staggering 342 square km is country’s only natural & largest fresh water more..

Buddhist Monks write to President on 20A

Oct 17 (CT) Three Buddhist monks submitted a letter to Prez Rajapaksa urging him to reconsider the decision to ratify the proposed 20th Amendment, introducing necessary amendments before passing it. The three Buddhist monks who had forwarded the letter to the Prez are Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera and Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera. The monks had pointed out in their letter though more..

CID visits Sajith’s residence in search for Rishad

Oct 17 (DN) A group of CID officers had visited Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s Royal Gardens residence in Rajagiriya in search of MP Rishad Bathiudeen. Issuing a statement Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa stated that the CID had questioned him on whether Bathiudeen had contacted him on the particular day he was to be arrested. However, Premadasa states that despite six Police teams being deployed to arrest Bathiudeen, two days have lapsed but more..

SLT partners with Nemra Properties to power 5 major condominium projects in Colombo

Oct 17 (FT) The national ICT and digital services provider, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC recently entered into an agreement with Nemra Properties Ltd., a BOI approved property development and construction company in Sri Lanka, to power five major condominium projects that are currently under construction in Colombo city. The agreement signing took place recently at SLT premises in Colombo Fort, with SLT CEO Kiththi Perera and Chief Sales and Regional Officer Imantha WIjekoon more..

Yahapalana Minister pilfered Rs 1 billion

Oct 17 (CT) A top officer from Road Development Authority (RDA) claimed that a former Minister of the previous United National Front-led regime, hailing from the Kalutara District, had pilfered a sum of Rs 1,000 million from a highway project. He confirmed that necessary legal action against the former Minister will be instituted shortly. He also said the former Minister had obtained the said amount through a service bond and he emphasised more..

SL peace-keepers at Ex-Steel Storm – 2020

Oct 17 (SLA) SL Force Protection Company (SLFP-Coy) serving the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), together with UN peace-keepers from France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Germany, Slovenia, Ghana, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Serbia, Brazil, Bangladesh, China, Poland, and Lebanese Armed Forces recently participated in a five-day long direct live firing Exercise, Ex-Steel Storm - 2020. SLFP-Coy with 3 Officers and 27 Other Ranks used more..

Sports Ministry to put up shooting ranges in each district for school shooters

Oct 17 (Island) Plans are underway to put up three shooting ranges as the first step to provide shooting ranges in each district for school shooters, according to the National Shooting Sport Federation (NSSF). The Ministry of Sports has responded to a request made by the NSSF to build new ranges for school shooters. “The Sports Ministry will provide funds to build the shooting ranges. At the initial stage shooting ranges will be built in Colombo, Hambanthota (Hungama) and Gampaha,” more..

National Athletics Performance Test: Events and Athletes Limited

Oct 17 (CT) Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) decision to limit the number of events and number of athletes for the upcoming performance test next weekend (24 and 25) at Sugathadasa Stadium, has created an uproar among athletes and coaches islandwide. Originally, the trials were set to be held from 23 to 25 October at the same venue, and both senior and junior athletes trained hard for it since there were no national events during the entire year due to more..

ComBank & Ceylinco Life take online payments to new level

Oct 17 (Island) Two SL financial services giants, the Commercial Bank of Ceylon and Ceylinco Life Insurance are collaborating to enhance the convenience and security of paying premiums online, and have introduced Easy Payment Plans for the purpose. Ceylinco Life has appointed Commercial Bank as its Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) service provider, augmenting the online payment experience for users of Credit or Debit cards of any brand from any issuing bank more..

London Stock Exchange Group empowers female founders

Oct 17 (Island) The current women’s economic empowerment interventions around the world have proven that there are many obstacles faced by female entrepreneurs. The emerging evidence from psychology and experimental economics on agency, mindset, and leadership show that for successful interventions to be transformative, they need to move beyond basic access to financial and human capital and also tackle central psychological, social & skill-constraints on women entrepreneurs. more..

President wants to get rid of middlemen for the benefit of both producer and consumer

Oct 17 (FT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has emphasised the importance of establishing a market that guarantees higher prices for farmers and a concessionary price for consumers. He made these remarks at a discussion with the Committee on Cost-of-Living at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday. The President pointed out that this objective can be realised by preparing a background that enables farmers’ islandwide more..

Why modern agricultural technologies fail in Sri Lanka

Oct 17 (ST) Scores of modern technologies are being introduced to the agriculture sector regularly to enhance agricultural productivity that is imperative to feed the ever-increasing population in the world as the available arable land area is a near constant leaving no room for expansion. Maintaining the balance between the forest cover and agriculture is ever more important with global warming threatening the sheer existence of life on the earth. In such a scenario, it is of utmost importance for more..

All kings and all things Kandyan

Oct 17 (Island) In 1602, the year of the Dutch East India Company’s founding, Joris van Spilbergen reached the shores of Sri Lanka after setting sail from the seaport of Veere in Holland a year earlier. Tasked with opening up trade negotiations with the King of Kandy, Vimaladharmasuriya, Spilbergen bore with him a letter from the Prince of Orange, acknowledging their willingness to counter the Portuguese. Not for one moment underestimating the Portuguese presence in the island, more..

Rishad-Riyaj drama reveals the plot

Oct 17 (CT) The action-packed drama, involving Rishad Bathiudeen, was causing much damage to the people. Bathiudeen, who was piggy-backing on the previous Yahapalana regime, was the mastermind behind the destruction caused to the Wilpattu and adjacent forest areas. There were serious allegations levelled against his sibling and henchmen that they were all connected to the rising wave of Islamist extremism in the country, more..

Is a new covid-19 strain responsible for the Minuwangoda outbreak?

Oct 17 (Island) The total number of Covid-19 patients in the first seven months was around 3,500 but during the past two weeks another 1,600 were found as the result of the Minuwangoda outbreak. I call it the Minuwangoda outbreak as obviously some people have had the virus infection without being reported before it entered the Brandix factory. It has spread its way into farther parts of the country such as Jaffna and Monaragala and the numbers are rising. Gradually more and more districts more..

Tilaxan’s effort to capture plight of elephants wins award

Oct 17 (ST) Tharmapalan Tilaxan’s photograph of a herd of elephants eating from a rubbish dump in the Ampara district has won first prize in this year’s Royal Society of Biology (RSB) photography competition. On the evening of Feb 8, Tilaxan saw a herd of wild elephants foraging for food in a garbage mound close to the forest bordering the Oluvil-Pallakadu area in the Ampara district. The haunting visual stuck and he began researching and collecting information about SL elephants. more..

Exporters optimistic of biz growth in next 12 months

Oct 17 (FT) SL exporters are hopeful of a moderate growth for their businesses and economic recovery over the next 12 months despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases, a survey from the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. The findings of the three-week survey that began in mid-September were outlined in the latest Business Survey on Trade & Labour Market Impacts more..

The Flower Boy who didn’t shy away from blossoming

Oct 17 (ST) Even in his earliest memories, Amesh Wijesekera was always the arts and crafts kid. From painting, playing dress up and setting up his own puppet shows, to expressing his creativity through art, dance and later theatre in school — design and creativity surrounded him, encouraged by his mother and unhindered by the rigid societal expectations for boys. He would even help his mother, an interior designer, with choosing colours, materials and objects for her projects, and more..

Editorial: Power of Five

Oct 17 (Island) It is being argued in some quarters that the Easter Sunday carnage could have been averted if the police had been given clear orders to arrest Zahran when a foreign intelligence agency warned of the impending terror strikes. But the long arm of the law has not been able to arrest even Opposition MP Rishad Bathiudeen despite an order from the Attorney General himself. The Colombo Magistrate’s Court has also said he can be arrested without a warrant, given the severity of more..

කොවිඩ් 19 අභියෝගය හමුවේ ශ්‍රී ලංකාව

PC polls for national referendum: We disagree with abrogation of PCS

Oct 17 (CT) Absolute executive powers were centralised on one individual, the Prez, under the 1978 Constitution then arrogantly declared he could do anything other than transforming a man into a woman or a woman into a man with the powers bestowed on him. Realising the precarious nature of such a situation, all Presidents of the country who came to power after 1978 had, in their Election pledges in the run up to the Elections, assured the people of the country that in the event of more..

COVID-19 vs 20A: Health & Politics at Crossroads!

Oct 17 (DM) There seems to be at the moment a heated controversy about health and politics as to which issues have to be looked at as more urgent and therefore priority of attention to be given, in order the best interests of not politicians but the common good of the people could be achieved as quickly as possible. Many learned commentators in recent media articles, press conferences and other social media have made prolific presentations in defense of their choice of priority. more..

Environmental Act to be amended

Oct 17 (TM) The National Environmental Act of Sri Lanka is to undergo amendments in order to increase fines and terms of imprisonment against those who violate the Act, Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera revealed. “The fines and terms of imprisonment will be increased up to 10 times to curb the destruction that is caused to wildlife, forests, and the biodiversity of the country. more..

Time to decriminalise COVID-19

Oct 17 (CT) Nobody falls sick on purpose. Absolutely no one will chase after a deadly, highly contagious virus, and willingly contract it. And, most importantly, the sick and those who are potential carriers of the virus are not criminals who have committed punishable offences. Unfortunately, this is how the authorities, the Media and the general public have been treating those who have tested positive for COVID-19, their family members and those who have been sent for quarantine. more..

The pathology of ragging

Oct 17 (CT) Several recent letters in the Opinion columns of your paper have dealt with ragging at our Institutes of higher learning, including, of all betrayals, – the Bhikkhu University. That this perverse practice has caused distress, permanent injury and even death of some sensitive students due to so-called ragging is unacceptable. That this vulgarity is meant to welcome Freshers is utter hogwash or bullshit. That a huge investment in the Universities, stringent filtering of aspirants more..

LNG power plants: Vast area for exploration

Oct 17 (TM) The topics of renewable energy and LNG (liquefied natural gas) have resurfaced in the news yet again, with Minister Dullas Alahapperuma recently stating that two LNG power plants will be constructed by the year 2023 as a solution to the prevailing power crisis in the country in the future. He said that although discussions have been going on since 2007, not a single LNG plant has been built during the past 13 years. more..

Millions languishing in poverty; a moral outrage

Oct 17 (DM) Most world religious leaders have called on the international community and political leaders to give the highest priority to poverty alleviation. After 1970 when the globalized capitalist market economic system took control of most of the world, the gap between the rich and the poverty- stricken people has widened so much that independent social analysts say we may come to a catastrophe where about half the world’s people will watch on television the tragedy of more..

Will SriLankan Airlines as a smaller carrier retain a sustainable competitive advantage...

Oct 17 (CT) This presentation is a response to the above question raised by a recognized academic deeply committed to the socio-economic wellbeing of the nation and its people. This Op-ed is also an opportunity to recognize and pay a tribute to a civil society activist, late Rajeewa Jayaweera, an expert on airline industry issues, who was a person with whom the writer debated many issues connected to SriLankan Airlines. In answering the question it is an important priority, to review the current more..