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New Geneva challenge: Chagie calls for united stand

Apr 7 (Island) Retired Maj. Gen. Chagie Gallage says the country should take a united stand at the Geneva-based UNHRC or face the consequences. The battle-tested Gajaba regiment veteran said that there shouldn’t be a difference of opinion whatsoever as regards Sri Lanka’s defence in the face of a new investigative mechanism approved at the recently concluded 46th sessions. “We are on the Geneva agenda. more..

Sri Lanka plantations with oil palm plunge after uprooting directive

Apr 7 (EN) SL’s plantations stocks plunged after Prez Rajapaksa said they would be required to uproot oil palm from the fields in stages and said imports of palm oil was banned from April 6, while coconut plantation soared. Watawala Plantations plunged 7.83% falling 4.50 rupees to 53.00 rupees in the first hour of trading on Tuesday. Namunukula Plantations plunged 3.98% or down to 175.00 rupees falling 7.25 rupees. Kegalle Plantation fell 4.67% or 4.60 rupees to trade at 94 rupees more..

Dinesh presents motion to appoint PSC to recommend electoral reforms

Apr 7 (Island) Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena on Monday presented a motion to appoint a select committee to identify appropriate changes to the election laws and electoral system and to recommend necessary amendments. Select Committee will consist of 15 members and the motion states that the recommendations of the committee should be submitted within six months post the appointment of the Select Committee made by the Speaker. more..

Mrs. World international to go ahead in Sri Lanka in Dec. despite brawl

Apr 7 (DM) Mrs. world International pageant will go ahead in Sri Lanka as scheduled in December and the recent incident where the reigning Mrs World, Caroline Jurie uncrowned Mrs Sri Lanka, attracting international attention will not have any impact, national Director for Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. world, Chandimal Jayasinghe said. After returning the Mrs Sri Lanka crown back to Pushpika De Silva, who was uncrowned by Jurie on Sunday more..

177 COVID-19 positive patients detected

Apr 7 (FT) A total of 177 persons tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday and the country’s total COVID-19 patient count currently stands at 93,772. The patients detected yesterday include 158 associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster. Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda and Prisons triple clusters have expanded to 88,842 patients. In addition to the triple clusters, the total patient count also includes 2,780 returnees from abroad, 950 Navy personnel and their contacts, 651 persons linked to more..

Avurudu Nekath Seettuwa presented to Prez

Apr 7 (AD) Following the ancient customs and traditions, the Nekath Seettuwa – the table of auspicious times for this year’s Sinhala and Tamil New Year – was presented to Prez Rajapaksa at the President’s House, today (6). State Minister Vidura Wickremanayake presented the Nekath Seettuwa, brought by the astrologer who came with a drummer in keeping with the ancient tradition, to the Prez. The auspicious times relating to Sinhala and Tamil New Year indicating the dawn of the New Year, more..

'Sri Lanka may get US$800mn equivalent from IMF SDR allocation'

Apr 7 (EN) Sri Lanka could get up to US$ 800 million worth reserves from the IMF as a part of a new allocation of Special Drawing Rights, a reserve asset created by the lender shortly before the collapse of the Bretton Woods soft-pegs. “On the basis of our present quota, we should be eligible for a ne allocation of about US$ 800 million,” State Minister Nivard Cabraal said. In April 20202 at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic when more..

New Act to make penalties for nature vandalism ten times higher

Apr 7 (Island) The govt would enhance the penalties for destroying the environment under the new National Environmental Act currently in the pipeline, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, adding that penalties for such offences would be increased 10 times. “Environmental destruction is a grave crime like murder. Those who protect the environment would be rewarded. An awards ceremony will be held to give them national recognition.” more..

EPRLF leader alleges Prez ignored Tamils during Vavuniya visit

Apr 7 (Island) The EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran alleges that neither Prez nor his govt is interested in solving the national issue or at least addressing basic problems experienced by the Tamil community. He made the allegation when he met the media at his Jaffna residence in the wake of Prez’s recent visit to Vavuniya. Premachandran alleged that during the much-publicised presidential visit, Rajapaksa only met the members of the Sinhalese community living in the district. more..

Environmental case filed against Araliya hotel, Unawatuna

Apr 7 (Island) The Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) yesterday (6) filed a case against the Araliya Hotel, Unawatuna in the Court of Appeal. Attorney-at-Law Ravindranath Dabare told The Island that they had been compelled to file action because there had been no proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the negative impact of the project would harm the ecologically sensitive Buonavista reef. more..

Renovated Colombo Floating Market opens today

Apr 7 (DN) ​The Colombo Pettah Floating Market will be re-opened to the public today (7) at 6 pm after a complete renovation on the instructions of PM and Urban Development and Housing Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Urban Development and Housing Ministry stated that the floating market had deteriorated with decaying planks, improper operation of the lighting system, unsafe conditions, unsanitary environment, foul smell and illegal and undisciplined activities. more..

Consensus yet to be reached among Govt allies on new election law

Apr 7 (DM) ​The enactment of a new piece of legislation for conducting early elections to the Provincial Councils still hangs in the balance since the allies of the ruling party are yet to reach consensus on the provisions of it. Cabinet approvals has been secured to enact the new piece of legislation providing for the conduct of the elections to the Provincial Councils under a new system – a mix of proportional representation (30%) and the First Past the Post System (70%). more..

Sri Lanka 2021 GDP growth forecast lowered to 4% by IMF

Apr 7 (EN) ​ Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product in 2021 has been downgraded to 4% by the IMF from a 5.3% forecast in October 2020, with global growth upgraded to 6.% from an earlier 6%. Sri Lanka has already reported a contraction of 3.6% for 2020 amid a Coronavirus pandemic and monetary instability. The global expansion is led by the US, which is expected to grow at 6.4% after contracting 3.5% in 2020. more..

Panel of key businessmen a must to attract FDIs: Nirj Deva

Apr 7 (CT) ​ To attract foreign investors to SL, the first thing is to offer a panel of key business people in this country who can partner international business, a former Member of the European Parliament and member of the Board of Directors of several leading listed companies in SL Niranjan Deva Aditya, said. He believes that, SL will only develop through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Therefore, in the past few years he brought George Soros, Richard Branson and many wealthy people here. more..

CBB sets sights on enhanced SL-UK trade with new British Chambers of Commerce...

Apr 7 (FT) ​ Council for Business with Britain (CBB) is now a member of the British Chambers of Commerce and marked this collaboration with an open networking event. The virtual gathering titled The Power of a Global Network gave CBB members and other businesses across Sri Lanka a platform to connect with over 50 Regional Chambers of Commerce in the UK -as well as 70 International British Chambers across the globe, and explore the many trade, investment, learning, and more..

Pyramid Wilmar sets the record straight on sugar saga

Apr 7 (FT) Linked to one of the world’s largest sugar traders, Pyramid Wilmar Sri Lanka set the record straight on recent allegations arising from the drastic reduction of the Special Commodity Levy (SCL) from Rs. 50 to 25 cents per kilo. Sugar is a political commodity given its popularity among masses. Sri Lanka’s per capita consumption of sugar is 32 kilos per year or 2.6 kilos per month. more..

Sanasa Development Bank goes for SPO

Apr 7 (Island) Sanasa Development Bank will go for a Secondary Public Offering (SPO) soon. This is the first offering in the recent past and the bank will issue 88 million new shares to the public through this secondary offering, stock market analysts said. Under this SPO the price of a share will be determined three days prior to the Extra General Meeting, based on the one month volume weighted average price, which would mostly be on par with current market prices, market analysts said. more..

Two COVID-19 deaths confirmed

Apr 7 (FT) Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena yesterday confirmed two COVID-19 deaths, which brought the country’s COVID-19 fatalities to 588. According to a statement issued by the Dept of Govt Information, a 47-year-old individual from Ampara tested positive for the virus while receiving treatment at the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital. He was then transferred to the Angoda Base Hospital where he died of COVID pneumonia and acute leukaemia on Monday. more..

Confectionery industry in crisis over sudden palm oil import ban

Apr 7 (FT) The confectionery manufacturing industry yesterday expressed concerns over its survival and security of jobs, following the sudden decision by the Govt to ban its key raw material – palm oil imports – with immediate effect. “The sudden decision by the Govt has caused significant stress and additional burden to all confectionary, bakery and food processors severely. It affects all food processing industries, more..

ComBank’s Leasing Vaaré returns to offer special rates on vehicle leases

Apr 7 (CB) The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has announced the much-awaited return of its Leasing Vaaré promotion during which buyers of vehicles can enjoy lower interest rates and affordable lease rentals on new automobiles as well as on trade-ins. Coupled with special offers of selected reputed vehicle dealers, Commercial Bank’s Leasing Vaaré will run until 30th June 2021. In addition to the reduced interest rates, customers can benefit from tailor-made leasing options to suit individual more..

Softlogic teams up with Huawei

Apr 7 (CT) ICT solutions provider Huawei and SL’s Softlogic Information Technologies, subsidiary of Softlogic Holdings, and one of the country’s leading software and hardware solutions providers, recently announced their partnership in Enterprise Solutions, Cloudand AI to bring innovative ICT solutions to the SL market. The digital economy is now firmly established as a core driver of growth to nations & its industries and importance of digital technologies to modern economy is undeniable. more..

National Trials Begins Today

Apr 7 (CT) The first National and Junior National Athletics trials will begin today and go on till the 9th at the Sugathadasa Stadium. The schedule features several finals, including both the 100m and 400m today. The trials will be an opportunity for athletes to be selected for the forthcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games by achieving direct qualification standards, or by increasing their present world ranking positions with a good performance. more..

Judge not marital status

Apr 7 (TM) A person’s dignity depends largely on the nature of his/her character, and the values we, as a society, assign are subjective. The process of assigning people various man-made values and gauging a person’s dignity based on such parametres has cost societies the opportunity of strengthening and promoting people’s self worth, thereby losing an essential part of a progressive society. The grand finale of Mrs. Sri Lanka for Mrs. Universe 2021 was held recently, more..

Where are the national cricket selectors?

Apr 7 (TM) Sri Lanka has now become probably the only country in the world which is involved in international cricket for almost two and half months without the national cricket selection committee. The previous selection panel was disbanded after Sri Lanka’s second and final Test against England in Galle on 25 January. Its Head Ashantha de Mel resigned following the 2-0 whitewash in that series which followed the 2-0 loss, another whitewash, in South Africa. “It’s a chaotic situation. more..

Suicide attacks expedited after NTJ’s cover blown

Apr 7 (CT) Several witnesses testified before the PCoI into the bombings on Easter Sunday, that the group led by National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) leader Mohamed Qasim Zaharan alias Zaharan Hashim, had initially planned to carry out suicide bombings targeting a large number of locations in 2020. However, Zaharan told his team members that they should carry out suicide attacks as soon as possible, more..

A chat with Rohan Jayasekera, Sri Lanka Test batsman during early 1980s

Apr 7 (TM) Rohan Jayasekera, that lanky Royalist who batted in the top order while keeping wickets in the late 1970s. He was an up-and-coming player in his early 20s then when Sri Lanka was starting her journey in the world of Test cricket. Jayasekera played for SL in three internationals and then left for Canada where he still lives. His memories can revive a fascinating era of cricket in SL when the island nation was striving to mark its footprints in the world game as a newborn Test nation. more..

Are we geared to handle aflatoxin problem meaningfully?

Apr 7 (Island) The media is full of information about the dangers of aflatoxins, increasing fear in the minds of public. Exposure to extremely small doses of aflatoxins of the order of micrograms per kilogram for long periods leads to liver cancer in humans and animals. Aflatoxins can also cause deaths within a few days if people are exposed to extremely high doses of it. In the world, there has been only one such recorded incident due to toxicity; 105 people died after consuming aflatoxin contaminated more..

Charitha Herath

Prez’s Office forces SLSI to release 12,000 MT fertilizer laced with unsafe levels of...

Apr 7 (CT) In Oct 2020 Prez Rajapaksa’s Office forced the SL Standards Institute (SLSI) to authorize the release of over 12,000 metric tonnes of agricultural fertilizer contaminated with toxic levels of heavy metals lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd). The imported consignments of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) used for the cultivation of paddy had not conformed to SLSI for safe levels of heavy metals found in fertilizer, based on a letter issued by SLSI Director General Dr. Siddika Senaratne more..

Explosive Politics of Religious and Nationalist Fusion

Apr 7 (DM) Great social crisis like the one we are in now, are often explained through narratives and discourses about the past. In other words, there are powerful stories about the past that claim to provide political solutions for current problems and future possibilities. Such stories often legitimised as history are always about something we have lost from the past; the great visionary kings, the idyllic sustaining villages and the values surrounding the temples. I explore here the historical relationship more..

Crowning Glories

Apr 7 (CT) I recently interviewed four public figures, familiar with receiving attention from the SL community, both local and international, for their beauty. I was interested to know - What it felt like to inhabit this publicly praised face and enviable body? Did they enjoy being lovely to look at, and did they succeed in achieving the happiness they wanted, as well as all the prizes and trophies and career opportunities that have accompanied their more..

From farce to the more farcical

Apr 7 (ST) If the pre-Geneva performance by some of our leading actors seemed like scenes out of a diplomatic Keystone Cops episode, the post-resolution drama was even more hilarious. For that was joined by other political and politically-committed actors crowding the stage not wanting to be left out of the modern nadagam. Those in power cannot claim that they were unaware SL would figure at the March 2021 sessions of the UNHRC. Anyone seriously concerned about what more..

Measuring Sri Lanka’s forest cover

Apr 7 (CT) Deforestation, ecocide, environmental degradation: these have become household words as the public takes keen interest in recent events concerning the environment. It’s clear that SL’s flora and fauna are in great danger; conservationist bodies have listed many to be on the endangered species list. Forests in SL are on the brink of extinction: Govt, Opposition, corporation & activist groups agree to the fact in unison; denial in contrary is seen as wilful or just plain ignorant. more..

The story behind Ceylon’s Arrack

Apr 7 (Roar) The etymology of the word arrack has always left room for some doubt ‒ partly because it has been around for a very long time. What’s more, the word is also used in different parts of South and Southeast Asia, to describe local beverages made from the fermented sap from various sources ‒ fruit, sugarcane, grain etc. ‒ depending on the country in question. In Sri Lanka, arrack is the much-loved local drink, more..

FDI dilemma for Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (ST) Recently the Japanese Ambassador to SL, raised concerns about the import ban by SL saying it would hamper trade relations. He was focusing in particular on vehicle imports from Japan. Other foreign envoys have also expressed similar concerns saying SL exports, particularly garments to the European Union, were not restricted, while imports were banned by SL affecting the usual two-way trade practice. It was unfair on SL’s part to restrict imports/expect markets to be open more..

Justice delayed is justice denied!

Apr 7 (DM) Two years after the Easter Sunday carnage people are left with false hopes and promises. Abrupt compensation schemes, commissions and reports have led to dead ends. Even after arresting 676 people in relation to the deadly series of attacks the govt is yet to trace the mastermind. The blame game has continued ever since the incident and what has been revealed is termed as a lapse in communication. Security has been beefed up ahead of April 21 and more..