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Sri Lanka should end intimidation & threats against human rights defenders: report

Jul 29 (RSF) SL Govt should end the targeted arrests, intimidation and threats against the lives and physical security of lawyers, activists, human rights defenders and journalists, a statement issued by ten international human rights organizations said today. Statement was signed by Amnesty Int'l, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, FIDH & OMCT; in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of HR Defenders, more..

'TNA has failed to come up with a realistic plan to address problems of the N&E people'

Jul 29 (Island) The TNA has come out with its manifesto for the August 5 general election, and it is disheartening to see that the TNA has failed to come to grips with the new reality and introduce a realistic plan to address the problems facing the people of the North and the East, LSSP leader, Prof Tissa Vitarana, says. "They have come out with the same set of demands that were raised by the TNA at the time the 30 year war of separation began. A news report of July 19 labeled it as a low key event, more..

Covid-19 recoveries in Sri Lanka at 2,317

Jul 29 (AD) Total recoveries from Covid-19 in Sri Lanka have escalated to 2,317 today as 21 patients were discharged from hospitals upon making complete recoveries. The daily situation report issued by the Epidemiology Unit says that 03 of these recoveries were confirmed from the IDH, 11 were from Welikanda Base Hospital, 01 from Iranawila Hospital, and 02 each from Kattankudy Base Hospital, Panagoda Army Hospital and Kamburugamuwa District General Hospital. more..

STF arrest 70 since January 2020

Jul 29 (CT) Police Media Spokesman, SSP Jaliya Senaratne noted that Police STF had apprehended 70 suspects in 62 direct raids, on organised criminal gangs, conducted since January 2020. He further pointed out that 1,407 raids had been conducted on dangerous drug dealers and 1,303 suspects were arrested. SSP Senaratne revealed this during a press briefing, yesterday (28). more..

Ex-SIS Director blames investigators for not acting on intelligence

Jul 29 (Island) NTJ leader Zahran Hashim could have been arrested before the Easter Sunday attacks if investigators had acted upon the intelligence provided by the State Intelligence Service (SIS) former SIS Director, Nilantha Jayawardena informed the PCoI investigating the unprecedented carnage. Jayawardena told the PCoI that he had been aware that Zahran was a terrorist and how dangerous he was, long before a foreign intelligence agency more..

Media disallowed to obtain statements from witnesses outside PCoI...

Jul 29 (AD) The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the incidents of political victimization from 2015 to 2019 has apprised the media to refrain from obtaining statements from witnesses who leave the premises after testifying before the panel. Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya, directing a letter to the Presidential Commission on political victimization recently, drew its attention to preventing the media from obtaining voice cuts from the witnesses. more..

All political parties accept EC’s explanation, UNP candidate’s allegations end-up in...

Jul 29 (Island) The ruling SLPP and all other political parties, including the UNP contesting parliamentary polls scheduled for Aug 5 had accepted Elections Commission (EC) chairman Mahinda Deshapriya’s explanation as regards the recognition of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) as a registered political party, polls monitor Manjula Gajanayake said. CMEV representative Gajanayake said so when The Island sought his opinion more..

Sacking pro-SJB members from the UNP was long overdue: Ravi

Jul 29 (EN) With a week to go for the elections, the UNP and the breakaway SJB fired barbs at each other after the UNP Working Committee sacked 115 party-men for supporting the SJB at the elections, yesterday. A statement from the UNP said that it had expelled “54 members who obtained nomination under the SJB for the 2020 General Election. A further 61 Local Govt members from the UNP were also expelled for not supporting the party during the ongoing election campaign.” more..

Jayantha Dharmadasa appointed new SLC VP

Jul 29 (NR) Jayantha Dharmadasa has been appointed as the new Vice President of Sri Lanka Cricket following the resignation of K Mathivanan from his position. Issuing a statement, SLC said the Executive Committee at its Emergency Meeting held this afternoon, approved the new appointment. Mathivanan who held the post of Vice President of SLC tendered his resignation today and the Cricket Board has accepted the resignation. SLC said the resignation of Mathivanan more..

All schools to start from August 10 under several stages: Edu. Ministry

Jul 29 (DM) The Education Ministry had decided to restart all Govt and Govt approved private schools from Aug 10 under several stages following recommendations of the health officials. Education Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said only Grade 11, 12 and 13 were reopened from July 27. Only these students would be allowed to schools until Friday (31), he said. Meanwhile, the Ministry also decided to close all schools for 3 days more..

SLC vice president K. Mathivanan resigns

Jul 29 (AD) Vice President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) K. Mathivanan has resigned from his position. Mr. Mathivanan says he officially tendered his resignation letter to the administration of the cricket governing body. In his letter of resignation addressed to the Secretary of SLC Mohan de Silva, the vice president says he will be stepping down with immediate effect, however he does not cite any reasons for the abrupt decision. Mathivanan was elected as one of the 2 vice presidents of more..

'Govt withholding first quarter GDP data'

Jul 29 (TM) Former MP Harsha de Silva today claimed that the govt was withholding first quarter GDP data. Speaking to reporters out side the Census and Statistics Department (DCS), the former MP said that the Department had still not released data on first quarter GDP growth rate. “I spoke to the officials of the Department today with regard to the delay in releasing the relevant data.” “We know for a fact that the GDP growth rate is negative for the first quarter. more..

Sri Lanka will resume full repatriation of migrant workers from Aug 9: Officials

Jul 29 (EN) Sri Lanka will fly home some 600 migrant workers from Abu Dhabi and Dubai on July 31 and Aug 1, but begin full repatriation flights after the elections on Aug 9, senior officials said. They said that flights from other countries are also scheduled. Repatriation flights from the Middle East, in particular, were stopped after the breakout of COVID 19 at the Kandakadu Rehabilitation centre in Polonnaruwa in early July. more..

Sri Lanka finance companies to be hard hit by import controls as bad loans top 11%

Jul 29 (EN) SL’s Finance Companies which have seen rising bad loans as the rate cuts of April 2018 triggered currency collapses, will be continue to be hit due to the latest import control imposed after the 2020 money printing, analysts said. A regulatory push for further consolidation is also expected by some. Central Bank made a pro-cyclical rate cut in April 2018 and injected money through open market operations, amid a so-called buffer strategy to enforce the cuts as credit recovered. more..

Negombo Prison chief jailors remanded after surrender

Jul 29 (AD) The two Negombo Prison’s Chief Jailors Sarath Bandara and Nishantha Senarathna, who surrendered to the Negombo Magistrate’s Court earlier today, have been remanded until the 4th of Aug. The verdict was delivered when the duo was produced before Negombo Magistrate. Arrest warrants had been issued on them for allegedly providing special facilities to inmates. On July 22, the CID, on the directives of the Attorney General, obtained arrest warrants from more..

Video: Former Intelligence chief reveals the theoretician of NTJ

Jul 29 (AD) Former Director of State Intelligence Service (SIS) Nilantha Jayawardena revealed at the PCoI that Mawlawi Naufer, who is currently under arrest, had served as the theoretician of the banned-terror group National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ). He said that Mawlawi Naufer, who had lived in Qatar for 19 years, had played a role at NTJ similar to the role played by Anton Balasingham in the LTTE. more..

Former SIS head: Sharing intelligence under divided govt a balancing act

Jul 29 (Island) State Intelligence Service (SIS) had maintained its balance when sharing intelligence with the previous govt, which was divided, former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director and SDIG of Eastern Province, Nilantha Jayawardena on Monday night, informed the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks. Jayawardena told PCoI that the previous govt comprised two political parties and he and his outfit had to be careful when sharing information with such an administration. more..

Sri Lanka tea buyers led by Iraq, Turkey, Russia in 2020 first half

Jul 29 (EN) Sri Lanka produced 129.04 million tonnes of tea in the first half of 2020 down 18.76% from a year earlier, and exported 129 million tonnes, down 14.5%, with Iraq, Turkey, Russia and Iran the top buyers. Sri Lanka saw production and sales disruption after a Coronavirus lockdown was imposed on March 20, but the sector gradually came back to operation as the govt selectively allowed economic activity to resume. Iraq had bought 16.2 million tonnes in the first half of 2020, more..

The Indo-Lanka Accord and the SL Tamils

Jul 29 (FT) Today (29) is the 33rd third anniversary of the Indo-Lanka Accord. It was on 29 July 1987 that former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi and then SL President Junius Richard Jayewardene signed in Colombo the agreement between India and SL known as the Indo-Lanka Accord along with two letters described as annexures. The Indo-Lanka Accord at that time brought an end to the ongoing armed conflict between SL armed forces more..

CBK returns 4 vehicles allocated to her office

Jul 29 (DM) Former Prez Chandrika Kumaratunga has returned four of the allocated fleet of vehicles for her office to the Presidential Secretariat earlier this month considering the financial constraints of the govt. A spokesman for Ms. Kumaratunga said she was ready to return another vehicle allocated to her office shortly. She said in a letter addressed to Secretary to the Prez P. B. Jayasundara, that she had been allocated nine vehicles for her personal use and another three vehicles more..

No special polling date for those under quarantine

Jul 29 (AD) Commissioner General of Elections Mr. Saman Sri Ratnayake says a separate date will not be allocated for those who are under self-isolation and quarantine to mark their votes for the General Election 2020. These individuals can cast their votes on the 5th of Aug after 5 pm, he said. Mr. Ratnayake further noted that all necessary measures have been taken to carry out this year’s parliamentary election in compliance with the health guidelines put in place by the health authorities. more..

Asath Sali, National List Candidate, SJB

Policy reform key to attract Foreign Direct Investment and spur economic growth

Jul 29 (FT) An opportunity has emerged for Sri Lanka to attract high quality Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the prevailing COVID-19 backdrop. The study has identified the biggest pain point which influences the lack of FDIs being non-conducive policy. Policy reform will serve as a critical enabler that will set-in place the appropriate ecosystem to attract FDIs into SL. Critical cogs in the wheel of FDIs will need to be identified, relevant policy streamlined & bottlenecks eliminated. more..

How leaders should inspire staff to provide customer service

Jul 29 (FT) At the onset of this pandemic, employers became concerned about their employees. Initially, their prime concern was combatting the health risks of COVID-19 and ensuring the wellbeing of the staff. Then companies found that they have to struggle with the emotional repercussions of the disturbed, locked-down minds of the staff owing to the pandemic. For example, many employees started worrying about the future of their jobs. As a result, companies had to deal with their more..

Former SIS Head reveals how extremist ideology was allowed to spread

Jul 29 (Island) State Intelligence Service (SIS) had, in 2018, warned former minister of law and order, Ranjith Maddumabandara that the proliferation of places of worship, especially mosques, could lead to conflict between various religious groups, former SIS Director, Nilantha Jayawardena told PCoI. Jayawardena said he had, in that report, highlighted the fact that those places of worship were being established without following proper more..

Over 1.2 million new votes registered for upcoming polls

Jul 29 (EN) Over 1.2 million new votes are expected to be cast in the upcoming parliamentary election which is scheduled to be held on Aug 5 this year. According to the data published by the Election Commission, 1,219,395 new voters have registered for the 2020 parliamentary elections since the 2015 polls. EC data showed a total of 16,263,885 voters have registered to vote at the upcoming election, 31.95% of them being youth voters in the ages 18-25 and 1.67% first time voters. more..

SLC to inquire into fatal accident involving Kusal Mendis

Jul 29 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to conduct a disciplinary inquiry against batsman Kusal Mendis, who is accused of causing a motor accident that resulted in the death of a person. It is said that such a disciplinary inquiry has been proposed as a measure to prevent unfortunate incidents of this nature by cricketers. SLC has the authority to conduct disciplinary inquiries against contract players. Meanwhile, Kusal Mendis who agreed to pay Rs. 1 million as compensation to more..

Video: Ranil defends UNP’s decision to oust 115 party members

Jul 29 (AD) The high court has ruled at the conduct of SJB is an attempt to harm the UNP, says the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He made this remark defending the decision taken by the UNP’s Working Committee on Tuesday (28) while addressing a public meeting held in Rambukkana. The UNP’s Working Committee on Tuesday approved the removal of party memberships of 115 members. more..

Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 cases tally hits 2,809

Jul 29 (AD) COVID-19 cases confirmed in Sri Lanka escalated to 2,809 as two more persons tested positive for the virus today (28). One of them is a contact of a novel coronavirus patient at the Senapura Rehabilitation Centre and the other positive case is an arrival from the UAE. Two other arrivals from the UAE were also confirmed COVID-19 positive this evening. According to statistics, 502 patients infected with the virus are currently under medical care at hospitals. more..

ETF interest reduced

Jul 29 (Island) The interest paid to Employees Trust Fund members had been reduced to 8% in 2019, C. Mallikarachchi ETF Deputy General Manager -Member Services said. Interest paid to members was 9% in 2018. A group called the Organization to Protect ETF has sent a letter to Prez Rajapaksa informing him that there are serious issues with the management of the fund. The letter has said: "Given the present situation we urge you to appoint an expert on finance to head the fund. more..

Rs 11 bn. misappropriated at CCF under Yahapalana govt, investigation reveals

Jul 29 (Island) A 3-member committee appointed to probe the alleged financial malpractice at the Central Cultural Fund has found that over Rs. 11 billion was misappropriated during the 3-year period from 2016 to 2019. The committee handed over its report to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. The report has revealed an unauthorised removal of Rs. 400 million from the Fund during the presidential election in 2019. more..

Heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas forecast for next few days

Jul 29 (Island) Department of Meteorology yesterday warned of strong winds, rough seas and heavy rains in most parts of the country during the next couple of days. The rainy weather, particularly in the south-western part of the country is expected to enhance to some extent today due to a low level atmospheric disturbance in the vicinity of Sri Lanka. Heavy showers above 150 mm are likely at some places in Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces and in Galle and Matara districts. more..

IIHS offers Doctor of Nursing in Sri Lanka

Jul 29 (CT) International Institute of Health Science (IIHS), a leading healthcare education institute recently announced the offering of Doctor of Nursing programme to address the healthcare training needs of the nurses of South Asia. The Doctor of Nursing degree programme is a four-year coursework and dissertation-based international programme offered by the Open University Malaysia (OUM) and is relevant for nurses in administrative and educational roles. more..

Visionary plan by Prez to develop Colombo

Jul 29 (PMD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says Colombo will be developed under a well-designed plan while addressing main issues faced by the people. Lack of housing facilities, difficulty in garbage disposal and flooding are some of the issues affecting the people in the district. The said programme will resolve these problems. President made these remarks while touring the Colombo district today (28) more..

Lanka IOC deep in red as lockdowns hurt

Jul 29 (DM) Lanka IOC PLC reported extremely sluggish revenues, resulting in a deeper loss during the 3 months to June 30, 2020, as the demand for gasoline was at its lowest since much of the quarter remained economically inactive amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Company reported revenues of Rs.10.7 billion during the April-June 2020 period, down 42% from Rs.18.4 billion in the year earlier period, recording perhaps the worst decline in the revenues for the company in a single quarter. more..

'Govt to talk to India on reclaiming 25 tanks'

Jul 29 (DM) Amid govt plans to hold discussions with the Indian government and the Indian Oil Company (IOC) on reclaiming 25 oil tanks in the Trincomalee fuel storage complex CEYPETCO is exploring the possibility of wooing a foreign investor to build a new oil tank complex at Hambantota, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He said India had been informed of SL's need to take back 25 fuel storage tanks from the Trincomalee complex given to the IOC on a 30-year lease agreement signed in 1993 more..