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TNA, allies call for outfit like IIIM in Syria to probe Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Island) Three Tamil political parties represented in Parliament backed by several other civil society groups, have urged the Geneva-based UNHRC to set up an evidence gathering mechanism, similar to the International Independent Investigatory Mechanism (IIIM), in relation to Syria, established as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly, with a strict time frame of 12 months duration to investigate SL war crimes. more..

India gifts Rs. 200 million worth radar spares to Sri Lanka Air Force

Jan 18 (AF) Handing-Over Ceremony of Air Defence equipment and INDRA Mk-II Radar Spares Equipment was conducted today (16) at SLAF Base Katunayake. The event was held under the auspices of the High Commissioner of India to SL, Gopal Baglay. Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana participated to accept the equipment on behalf of the SL Air Force. The event commenced with the arrival of the Chief Guest, HC of India at the Aeronautical Engineering Wing more..

Parliamentary select committee should be appointed: Ranil

Jan 18 (DM) Whilst highlighting that COVID-19 pandemic will not end this year, the vaccine distribution will be a time-consuming process, former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He called for the appointment of a special parliamentary select committee to monitor the developments regarding the process of obtaining effective vaccines. A Parliamentary select committee can monitor the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine and report to the House on its progress, he said during more..

Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters welcome re-opening of schools

Jan 18 (CT) Anunayake of the Malwatte Chapter, Venerable Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Nayake Thera and the Secretary of the Asgiriya Chapter, Venerable Medagama Dhammananda Nayake Thera, said that making a decision not to let schools remain closed in the face of the Covid virus and taking steps to re-open them is very good and that it is apparent that support is being received from both parents & children. more..

COVID-19 death toll rises to 264

Jan 18 (FT) Eight COVID-19-related deaths were confirmed yesterday by health authorities, raising SL’s COVID-19 death toll to 264. Three of the eight deaths occurred yesterday. A resident of Colombo 8 tested positive for COVID-19 while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo and was transferred to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID). Individual died of trauma of blood poisoning and multi-organ dysfunction with COVID pneumonia yesterday. He was 83-years-old. more..

SL among best performing stock markets

Jan 18 (EN) SL stocks have risen the most in the world in 2021 after Venezuela in local currency and is just behind Vietnam and Bermuda in US dollar terms among stock markets tracked by Bloomberg. Venezuela stock market index was up 30.77% to 1.74 million by Jan 15, behind 14.18% for the Colombo’s All Share Price Index. Venezuala had soared becoming a top performer in past years. ASPI’s 3.91% gain on Jan 15 was the highest daily rise among markets tracked by Bloomberg. more..

Take-off Thursday

Jan 18 (FT) Key stakeholders are busy getting ready to reopen borders and resume international tourism in the country from Thursday, a move which if successful will give a big boost to the COVID-19-hit economy, industry sources said. Civil Aviation Authority of SL (CAASL) on Saturday notified all airlines of the resumption of commercial flights at BIA and the MIA from 21 January, subject to certain conditions more..

IGP issues stern warning

Jan 18 (CT) IGP C.D. Wickramaratne instructed Senior Police Officers to strictly enforce the law against those who claim to be close associates of the IGP and influence investigations. It has come to light that incidents have been reported where people were attempting to influence investigations claiming that they were friends or relatives of the IGP. IGP instructed that no telephone calls in this regard should be entertained and that investigations should be conducted impartially. more..

Updated announcement on isolation orders

Jan 18 (AD) National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) has issued an updated announcement on the isolation status of several areas. Accordingly, the following areas will be no longer under isolation with immediate effect: Kalutara Police Division: An area of 725 Kalutara South GN Division; 725 A Kalutara South GN Division; An area of 725 B Welapura GN Division; 727 Mahawatta GN Division; 727 B Kuda Heenatiyangala Division except for more..

Triple cluster exceeds 49,000 patients

Jan 18 (FT) The COVID-19 clusters that emerged from Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, and Prisons exceeded 49,000 patients with more than 1,400 persons testing positive for the virus over the weekend. Patients detected over the course of the past two days include 719 patients on Saturday and 763 patients yesterday. The 749 persons who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday include 747 associates of the Peliyagoda cluster, more..

SEC welcomes stock surge, calls for informed decision-making

Jan 18 (EN) Securities & Exchange Commission has welcome the surge in the Colombo Stock Exchange making it one of the best performing markets in the world but called for informed decision making. “The SEC through its social media platforms has educated investors on different aspects of investing and the need to make an informed investment decision,” the regulator said. “With the view of protecting investors, SEC has highlighted the importance of following the official channels more..

'Achieving US$ 5B target: Regulatory changes, bigger workforces needed'

Jan 18 (CT) SL Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM) past Chairman Jeevan Gnanam stated that govt’s target of achieving US$ 5 bil in Information Technology (IT) / Business Process Management (BPM) exports, is achievable, provided regulatory changes and improvement in human resources are met. Speaking at a virtual conference, on economic transformation in COVID era, he said, “Currently we export US$ 1.7 bil, our workforce is around 85,000 in IT & 25,000 in BPM. more..

Factories face tough times in 2021

Jan 18 (ST) Companies in the investment zones are facing severe stress as a result of the pandemic that has resulted in increased expenses on testing for COVID-19, a tight order situation and staff turnout dropping by 25%. Factories are operating as usual but with a less number of staff due to certain reasons since some employees are reluctant to report to work amidst pressure from families while other companies more..

Sri Lanka tourism looks to the skies for hope

Jan 18 (ST) Hotels are clinging onto their last ray of hope – the reopening of the airport to commercial flights – as their only form of business from locals is also hampered as a result of border health checks. Authorities have stated that the Sri Lankan skies will open to commercial flights officially from January 23 allowing tourists to visit the destination again. However, the regulations as recommended by the Health Ministry continue to be seeing more and more changes. more..

Retd. Major General Chandrasiri appointed to BOC Board

Jan 18 (FT) Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed Maj Gen (Retd) G.A. Chandrasiri as a Non-Executive Director to the Board of Bank of Ceylon (BOC). He is the incumbent Chairman of Airport & Aviation Services (SL) Ltd, since Dec 2019. Following the latest appointment, BOC Board of Directors comprises Kanchana Ratwatte (Chairman), Harsha Wijayawardhana, Manilka Fernando, Maj Gen (rtd) G.A. Chandrasiri & R.M.P. Rathnayake (ex officio Dir from Treasury). more..

England face nervy final day after Jack Leach battles to five-for

Jan 18 (CI) It may look like a modest target, but England face a nervous final morning in their bid to wrap up victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. When Sri Lanka's second innings ended, midway through the final session on day four, it seemed the result was little more than a formality. England had been set just 74 to win, after all. But within minutes, England were 14 for 3. The left-arm spin of Lasith Embuldeniya, more..

Sri Lanka to manufacture FDG compound: New hope for cancer patients

Jan 18 (TM) Renuka Ekanayake, a cancer patient currently residing in the Gampaha District, has been on a waiting list that could potentially save her life. For the past five months, she has been in the queue for a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, which most doctors around the world deem essential when fighting cancer. Ekanayake stated that she has been on the waiting list for the scan since May 2020, at which time she was scheduled to do it in three to four months. more..

Onyx Group to launch cement plant operations in South this year

Jan 18 (SO) The Onyx Group will commence operations of the cement grinding plant in Mirijjawila, Hambantota this year, said Onyx Group Chairman Nandana Lokuwithana on the sidelines of the launch of Ferentino Tyres, the largest tyre and radial manufacturing facility in South East Asia, in Horana on Thursday. The nearly USD 100 million cement grinding facility has a capacity to produce around 3.6 million metric tons of cement increasing the quantum manufactured locally. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Budget 2021: Playing Ostrich or parading in the Emperor’s new clothes?

Jan 18 (Island) The national budget is a financial plan, not a policy statement. Specific budget proposals become nonsense, unless they form part of a consistent whole. Unfortunately, Budget 2021 parts did not add up to a consistent whole. Yet, SL’s leadership in both public and private domains did not seem to care. Budget 2021 was presented in parliament on 17 Nov 2020. Several analysts with knowledge, experience, and integrity reported that this budget 1) provided no numeric estimates more..

Jaded Jack Leach taking nothing for granted after five-wicket comeback

Jan 18 (CI) Not even the lure of watching his beloved Liverpool reclaim top spot in the Premier League from arch-rivals Manchester United is likely to deflect Jack Leach from his primary objective tonight - a good night's sleep. That's the effect that a hard day's toil can have on a cricketer in the sweaty, humid conditions at Galle, where Leach's second-innings haul of 5 for 122 has bowled England to the brink (a few wobbles notwithstanding) of their fourth consecutive Test victory in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's top five show their mettle - three days too late

Jan 18 (CI) Kusal Perera played one of the greatest innings of all time. He also has a batting average of 32.13, and just seven scores of more than 50 from 39 innings. He will never have a day that good ever again, and may forever play in the shadow of that 153*. Still, he could yet become a very good batsman. Signs are, he's trying. Where once he would unfurl the full array of his low-percentage shot-making almost as soon as more..

The new southern star

Jan 18 (ST) The cricketing fraternity in Sri Lanka witnessed a glimpse of the capabilities that our future generation possesses during the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). It did provide a fine platform for young Sri Lankans to showcase their talents to a global audience. Among the youngsters that participated in the tournament, Dananjaya Lakshan emerged as one of the rising stars. This is the story of a promising talent who has ambitions of being a genuine all-rounder more..

What’s England doing right in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Island) There was a time when England barely lasted three days in Galle. The extreme heat, tracks that turned square and skilful spinners brought misery upon successive England teams. But they have found a way to turn the tide. What is England doing right to succeed in SL conditions? In the last ten years, England have visited the island on three occasions and have never lost a series. The easy answer is to say that the SL team has lost some big names and the team is in transition. more..

LPL 2020: SLC stumped with bills

Jan 18 (TM) Nearly a month after its conclusion, Lanka Premier League (LPL) cricket tournament is back in the spotlight, with SLC being criticised for spending millions of rupees on food and accommodation for officials and teams at Shangri-La, Hambantota. These allegations were levelled against SLC by SJB MP Thushara Indunil in Parliament recently, when he alleged that the SLC had spent over Rs. 40 million for food and more..

Editorial: Make killers pay

Jan 18 (Island) Health authorities in some parts of the pandemic-hit US are in a dilemma over the prioritisation of risk groups for vaccination. The New Jersey govt is reported to have decided to vaccinate smokers on priority basis as they run a higher risk of having Covid-19 complications than others. It has drawn heavy criticism for its decision, which will result in smokers getting the jab before teachers and public transport workers, we are told. Covid-19 vaccine saves lives, especially those of more..

Al-Qaeda’s new home and death throes of a fallen regime

Jan 18 (DM) An old English proverb quoted by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes... though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all. In other words no matter how. And so it was with US Prez Trump, who a week ago unsuccessfully attempted to stage an insurrection to overturn the US prez election results in which he was the losing candidate. Slowly but surely wheels of justice are closing in on him. more..


Lanka hunts for vaccine with begging bowl in hand

Jan 18 (ST) While many countries have joined the queue well on time to be in line to receive the life-saving, life-changing, hope-restoring vaccine of vaccines to end COVID’s unchallenged siege in their respective lands, Lanka hasn’t even arrived at the starter’s gate to be whistled out. Instead, she is still in the paddocks making inquiries from potential suppliers without a clue as to which vaccine to order, regardless of its quality; and holding out the begging bowl for charity from all passers-by more..

A slip of the tongue and a celluloid crusader’s unfortunate downfall

Jan 18 (ST) Confusion has been worse confounded in the public mind following the conviction this week of politician and self-proclaimed corruption crusader Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of court by the SC for allegations made in 2017, that a majority of lawyers and judges in SL were corrupt. This acute confusion must be set to rights, sooner rather than later. As an aside, those carelessly exaggerated words, a majority was what returned to haunt Ramanayake now embarking on a 4-yr jail more..

Fall armyworm invasion: Farmers grapple with uncertainties

Jan 18 (TM) As the State Ministry of Development of Sugarcane, Maize, Cashew, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Betel Production, and Promotion of Allied Products and Export awaits the crops to be harvested at the end of the Maha season which is fast approaching in order to look at estimating the overall yield loss caused by the fall armyworm invasion. Farmers are grappling with uncertainty on whether they would be betrayed yet again more..

Ranjan vilified Executive, Legislature and Judiciary: Minister Ranatunga

Jan 18 (SO) The Supreme Court on Tuesday, January 12 convicted SJB Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of court and sentenced him to four years Rigorous Imprisonment. The actor-turned politician was moved to the Correctional Centre for Youth Offenders in Pallansena for quarantine. MP Ramanayake admitted in his evidence that he made the statement in question saying, the majority in Sri Lanka are corrupt judges, corrupt lawyers and they work for money. more..

Why do we need a separate University for Teacher Education?

Jan 18 (DM) Teachers have been criticized for not being up to date with the times however, their grievances about the absence of a proper system to further their education has been repeatedly overlooked. The best way, in my view is to establish a separate university for teacher education. This is significant for a number of reasons: a) declining teacher quality, b) absence of opportunities for teachers to further their education, c) the very low IQ level in our nation, d) lack of creativity more..

'Restoring the environment: A work in progress'

Jan 18 (TM) Last year, Sri Lanka witnessed a record number of incidents of deforestation, illegal logging, illegal sand mining, and an increase in water pollution being reported in the media. By now, several committees and task forces have been appointed to assist the Govt in finding the causes and suggesting recommendations to avert further destruction. Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera respond to some questions that we had on more..

Saving our island and planet

Jan 18 (CT) A global coalition to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and ocean by 2030 has swelled its ranks to about 50 countries, as Govts said at a summit hosted by France that biodiversity loss and climate change should be tackled jointly. First launched in 2020, the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People added to more than 20 nations, including Japan, Germany, Kenya, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Ecuador. Its member countries combined are home to an estimated 30% of more..

Sunny side up

Jan18 (TM) US Prez-elect Joe Biden last week announced his nominee for the post of Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Biden had nominated Ambassador Samantha Power to head USAID. Biden also announced that he is elevating the position to the National Security Council within the White House – a signal that he will prioritise outreach to other nations. “A leading voice for humane and principled American engagement in the world, she will rally more..