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Sri Lanka suspends coconut auctions, amid rising retail prices

Oct 15 (EN) Sri Lanka has suspended weekly auctions conducted by the state Coconut Development Authority amid rising domestic retail prices. So far no decision had been made on re-starting the auction. Average auction prices hit 56,494 at the last auction with the top price hitting 61 rupees. Sri Lanka’s price control agency the Consumer Affairs Authority slapped price controls creating shortages in the market. more..

Drug dealer Chooti Nangi and buyer arrested in Mahiyanganaya

Oct 15 (AD) Mahiyanganaya Police has arrested a 24-year-old woman under the alias Chooti Nangi with heroin last evening (14). She had been arrested while selling heroin near her residence at the Gewal 20 area in Dodamwatta, Mahiyangana Puja Nagaraya. A sum of Rs. 208,000, suspected to be money earned from the sale of heroin, has also been recovered from her house. Police has also arrested another suspect who was transporting 3 grams of heroin, bought from Chooti Nangi, more..

Video: Govt to buy big onions from local farmers

Oct 15 (AD) The govt has decided to purchase big onions from local farmers at Rs. 100 per kilogram. State Minister of Development of Samurdhi Home Economy, Microfinance Shehan Semasinghe said the purchases will be made through the District Secretaries. Meanwhile, the import taxes imposed on several essential items including big onions were waived by the govt Tuesday (13), taking into account the cost of living and difficulties associated with COVID-19 pandemic. more..

GMOA calls on branch unions to streamline COVID-19 steering committees

Oct 15 (FT) The GMOA called on all branch union presidents and members to reconvene and streamline branch-level COVID-19 steering committees in order to take institutional-level decisions. The internal memo, signed by GMOA Secretary Dr. Senal Fernando, stated that the organisation had requested a meeting with Prez Rajapaksa to directly communicate to him the current situation regarding COVID-19 in SL. more..

Foreign Ministry staff officers participate in outbound training in Dambulla

Oct 15 (MFA) The staff officers of the Foreign Ministry successfully completed an Outbound Training programme at Rangiri Aqua, an Outbound Training Centre for Social Ideology Development, in Dambulla from 2-4 Oct. The training programme was organised by the Policy Planning and Human Resource Development Division of the Foreign Ministry under the guidance of Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage. This is the first outbound training workshop specifically more..

Sri Lanka walks diplomatic tight rope between China and US

Oct 15 (NIA) Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retd.) Prof. Jayanath Kolombage, in his recent interview with Daily Mirror, emphasized that Sri Lanka would not depend on one country for economic development. But he added China was one country willing to invest, and Sri Lanka should benefit from it. The recent visit of a high-powered Chinese delegation to SL and agreements reached during meetings with SL leaders – Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa – proved what the Foreign Secretary intended more..

From today you can be jailed or fined for breaking Covid prevention guidelines

Oct 15 (EN) Health Department’s guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid 19 has become law through regulations Gazetted by Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, her ministry announced today. From now on all the guidelines are enforceable by law, and violators can be fined or imprisoned, Wanniarachchi said in a statement issued to media a short while ago. She said that under the new gazette wearing a face mask more..

Pakistan HC assures strong support to Sri Lanka in all sectors

Oct 15 (PHC) Major General (Retd) Muhammad Saad Khattak, High Commissioner of Pakistan met with Honourable Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at his office, today (14). A detailed discussion took place on range of affairs including exploring trade and investment opportunities, tourism, culture and education affairs etc. HC Khattak ensured a strong support to SL in all developmental, trade, education, training and tourism sectors. more..

KVPL and TTEL bring honour to Sri Lanka at Hallbars Awards 2020

Oct 15 (FT) Hayleys Plantations subsidiaries Kelani Valley Plantations (KVPL) and Talawakelle Tea Estates (TTEL) of Sri Lanka’s leading plantations business sector were recognised as country winners at the prestigious Hallbars Sustainability Report Awards 2020. KVPL’s Annual Report for 2017/2018, Growth Beyond Measure, was recognised as the country winner in the Business Sector by Products – Tea category, while TTEL’s Integrated Annual Report for 2018/ 2019 Cultured was recognised more..

Video: Rishad files writ seeking prevention of arrest

Oct 15 (AD) MP Rishad Bathiudeen has filed a writ application seeking a court order to prevent his arrest. The writ application has been filed at the Court of Appeal by his lawyers today. Then-Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, the director of the project Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and the project accountant A. Manoranjan are accused of violating Article 82(1) of Prez Elections Act, more..

Ten thousand Mullaitivu, Weli Oya families to receive proper drinking water

Oct 15 (DN) Steps will be taken to provide drinking water to 10,000 families in Mullaitivu and Weli Oya under the Mullaitivu Kivul Oya Mahaweli Joint Development Project in the Mahaweli L Zone, State Minister Siripala Gamalath said. He was speaking during an inspection tour in the area with regard to the future irrigation planning in Mullaitivu and Weli Oya, recently. Gamalath added that plans are also afoot to irrigate the lands of the farmers in Mullaitivu & Weli Oya by Kivul Oya Reservoir Project. more..

Virus spreads mostly through hostels

Oct 15 (DM) Coronavirus spread from one factory to another in Gampaha, mostly through Brandix employees who were sharing rooms in hostels with employees from other companies. DIG Ajith Rohana said that it was advisable for factory workers staying in hostels to consider different options if they were staying with workers from another factory. In an audio statement, last night (Wednesday) DIG Ajith Rohana said that there are several factories operating in Gampaha District. more..

ජයරුවන් බණ්ඩාරට තනතුර නැති උනේ කොහොමද?

Emerging autocracy in a debt-trapped economy

Oct 15 (FT) Nothing can be kept a secret in Sri Lanka, and so is the supposed to be confidential document handed over to the Speaker of Parliament from the Supreme Court. Even before the Speaker could place that document before the House, on 20 Oct, it was already there on the internet, and lawyers, who appeared on behalf of the appellants, were fuming at their disappointment. It appears from what has been reported, that with few amendments at the committee stage, more..

Avoidable crashes: Economics and external affairs

Oct 15 (FT) Remember A Country Free from Corona? The crucial tourist sector must be hard hit by the second wave, as also the factories and supply chains. We are in a vortex of geographically spattered, seemingly randomised corona-proliferation. The virus is a faster-spreading, more virulent variety, observed Dr. Sudath Samaraweera and Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara. (A veritable Viyathvirus?) Instead of local authorities as the frontline for COVID-19 2nd wave prevention, more..

Curfew imposed in Katunayake

Oct 15 (CT) Police curfew will be imposed in the Katunayake Police Division from 5 a.m. today, Army Commander, Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said. He said the employees of the BOI companies in Katunayake can use their company identity cards as curfew passes. A total of 72 employees serving in the Katunayake BOI were diagnosed with COVID-19, BOI Chairman, Sanjaya Mohottala, said. more..

Cabinet Okays Ali Sabry’s paper

Oct 15 (CT) The Cabinet granted approval to a Paper submitted by Minister of Justice, President’s Consul Ali Sabry for solutions on issues faced by the Judiciary and to implement a swift three-year programme to further improve the judicial system. The Ministry of Justice, issuing a press release in this connection, said the Cabinet had granted its approval to launch the three-year programme proposed by him after he had delved deeply into the issues faced by the legal sector. more..

Conde Nast Traveller: Sri Lanka ranked as 2nd Best Country to Visit

Oct 15 (CT) Sri Lanka has managed to retain its position among the top five Best Countries to Visit for the second consecutive year. Conde Nast Traveller has named Sri Lanka as the second best country to visit this year. The ranking comes at a time of turbulence, as international travel has been restricted to a major extent following the COVID-19 pandemic. SL closed its doors for tourists since end of March and is yet to announce when the Govt was to open the country for travel. more..

Covid-19 crisis: Factories directed to private labs as workload piles up

Oct 15 (Island) For want of sufficient facilities at the state sector laboratories, govt has requested private sector factories, coming under the purview of the BOI to subject workers to PCR testing at private labs. Dr. S. Sridharan, who is acting for Director General of Health Services (DGHS), in a letter dated Oct 10, has informed BoI Chairman Susantha Ratnayake of policy decision taken by Health Ministry to those working at more..

Video: Colombo National Hospital limits clinic patient visits

Oct 15 (AD) The National Hospital of SL (NHSL) in Colombo has decided to restrict the number of patients attending its clinics, taking into account the current Covid-19 situation in the country. Accordingly, the clinic patients of the NHSL have been requested to contact the relevant clinics through the following telephone numbers to obtain services: Cardiology Clinic: 011 3618727 / 011 3618728 / 011 3618736 / 011 3618730 / 011 3618735; Neuro Surgical Clinic: 011 3618754 more..

Karuna Amman appointed district coordinator of PM

Oct 15 (Island) Karuna Amman alias V. Muralitharan, former Eastern Province LTTE commander, has been appointed the District Coordinator of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa for Ampara and Batticaloa. Karuna received his appointment yesterday from the PM at Temple Trees. Muralitharan contested the last parliamentary election from Ampara District as a coalition party of SLPP, but was unsuccessful. Having mustered around 30,000 votes, he had asked PM for a position to serve the people more..

Cancelled Colombo Light Railway Transport project had its merits

Oct 15 (NIA) Senior Lecturer of Moratuwa University says that the Japanese-funded Light Railway Transport (LRT) project in metropolitan Colombo, which was abruptly and unilaterally cancelled by the SL govt in Sept, should have been persisted with because it would have assured over 20% economic internal rate of return on investment and given a sustainable solution to traffic congestion to a corridor more..

COVID-19: It’s a prolonged first wave; not second as feared: Rajitha

Oct 15 (DM) SL is only facing a prolonged first wave of COVID-19 and not the second wave, former Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that SL is currently facing a prolonged first wave which has been resulted in negligence. “The disease has been neglected as a result of the general election which was held in August this year. We called for the postponement of general elections while highlighting the fact that health precautions which were taken initially to control the disease more..

Attempts to arrest Rishad Bathiudeen politically motivated: Rajitha

Oct 15 (FT) SJB MP Rajitha Senaratne charged that the attempts to arrest Rishad Bathiudeen and his bother are politically motivated. “We can clearly see what’s going on here. Riyaj Bathiudeen was released, and the 100 Govt MPs filed a petition about it. He was released after an investigation. Has even one of those MPs read the investigation reports?” he questioned. “Govt is using this situation for their political gain. Some religious leaders made some remarks about suspect being released, more..

‘Indian agencies alerted Sri Lanka three or four times about attack’

Oct 15 (DN) Local intelligence agencies had no reason to doubt the intelligence information received in advance from an Indian source about a possible terror attack, former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the PCoI on Tuesday (13). He said a responsible Govt like India would not issue such critical alerts in vain, as it is possible to have bad consequences for the bilateral relations if such an incident did not take place. more..

China vows friendship, cooperation with Sri Lanka, UAE, Algeria, Serbia

Oct 15 (Xinhua) China has vowed to strengthen cooperation and deepen traditional friendship with Sri Lanka, UAE, Algeria and Serbia, said a senior Chinese diplomat Monday. Wrapping up his visits to the four countries, Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said that it is a journey of friendship, trust, synergy and cooperation. more..

South Indian fishermen engage in IUU fishing in SL waters undeterred

Oct 15 (DM) South Indian fishermen indulge in IUU fishing (Illegal, Unreported & Unregulated Fishing) in the SL waters undeterred since arrests are not being made as part of restrictions imposed in view of the pandemic, Minister Douglas Devananda said. He said that hundreds, if not thousands of such fishermen from TN, cross the maritime boundary and carry out IUU fishing in SL waters off the northern province of the country damaging marine resources & fishing gear of local fishermen. more..

SL, China sign supplementary agreement on water supply, technology cooperation

Oct 15 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and China on Wednesday signed a supplementary agreement on a MoU on water research and technology cooperation, aimed at providing clean drinking water to several areas of the island country, a statement from the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said. The signing of the supplementary agreement was a follow-up of the important consensus reached recently by the two countries. more..

Cabinet nod to amend Intellectual Properties Act

Oct 15 (FT) Cabinet approval has been given to amend the Intellectual Properties Act to protect Sri Lankan exports and their points of origin. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters at the weekly Cabinet meeting that updating SL’s intellectual property legislation, which was introduced in 2003, was essential to promoting local exports and ensuring they are not duplicated elsewhere. “There are a number of local products that can be promoted as geographically unique. more..

Supreme Court extends stay order on re-imposition of death penalty

Oct 15 (Island) SC extended till Oct 28, 2020, the stay order issued earlier, on the re-imposition of death penalty on murder convicts. A group of petitioners has complained that the re-imposition of the death penalty by the retired Prez Sirisena, was inhuman and the violation of the right to life, enshrined in the constitution. A person is convicted of murder on the evidence available at the trial Court. There can be even a trivial chance that the convict was not the person directly involved more..

Govt to table two Appropriation Bills in Parliament next week

Oct 15 (FT) Along with the Appropriation Bill for 2021, govt will present a separate Bill to cover the expenses for 2020 including the funds withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund under the authorisation of the Prez between March and August this year. Prez Rajapaksa authorised the withdrawal of funds from the consolidated fund using powers vested in him under Article 150 of the Constitution, once in March & again in June more..

COVID positive A/L student faces exam at Iranawila Hospital exam centre

Oct 15 (DM) GCE A/L student who tested positive for COVID-19 and admitted to the Iranawila Hospital has been given the opportunity to sit for the examination at the for COVID-19 infected participants' examination centre at the hospital. The student was found positive with coronavirus on Monday (12) following PCR tests carried out in a school in Divulapitiya. Due to this situation, he along with 20 other students have been divided into two groups and allowed to sit for the examination. more..

TRI-ZEN smart homes to be powered by SLT and JKIT

Oct 15 (Island) Through a milestone collaboration, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) introduced to the country its first ever turnkey smart home consumer solution offered exclusively for residents of John Keells Properties’ (JKP) upcoming TRI-ZEN development. The pioneering smart-living package will feature a one-of-a-kind smart home experience, providing a single, integrated portal for homeowners to communicate with their apartment both remotely and from within the home. more..

'Workers who fainted had water sprinkled on their faces and had to work again'

Oct 15 (DM) Health authorities believe the first reported Covid-19 infected worker from the Brandix factory in Minuwangoda may have contracted the virus from another source. It is believed there may have been infected persons in the factory before she tested positive. Here is what R.M.P.H. Rathnayaka, an employee from Minuwangoda Brandix facility who was detected Covid-19 positive had to say: more..

NOCSL launches Harassment is No Game campaign

Oct 15 (CT) In a proactive bid to eradicate harassment at all levels of the sports arena in the country, the Women’s Committee of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC Sri Lanka) officially launched its Harassment is No Game campaign on 13 Oct, via a Facebook Live Event on its official Facebook page. The Committee announced its comprehensive campaign to prevent harassment, at the launch event. The campaign organizers are looking to address all forms more..

Editorial: Herd immunity and lockdown

Oct 15 (Island) It looks as if the world had been left with no alternative but to learn to live with coronavirus, which shows no signs of going away anytime soon, until a vaccine is found. The task of producing a vaccine is likely to take longer than expected. The WHO has warned against pursuing herd immunity, which is said to come about when a pandemic is allowed to spread freely until everyone is infected. The proponents of this controversial approach are some western nations more..