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Sri Lanka trade deficit shrinks $ 1.8 b: CB

Jan 16 (FT) Hit by a downturn in economic activity due to the second COVID-19 wave Sri Lanka’s trade deficit in November shrank by $ 198 million while overall it recorded a reduction of $ 1.79 billion for the first 11 months of 2020, latest data from the Central Bank showed. The deficit in the trade account narrowed in Nov 2020 by $ 198 million to $ 565 million, from $ 762 million recorded in Nov 2019, due to a larger decline in imports, more..

Services PMI turns positive in Dec 2020 after 2 months

Jan 16 (FT) Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) returned to positive growth in December after two months as economic activity recovered somewhat from the second COVID-19 wave with Manufacturing also normalising, CB said yesterday. Benefitting from the gradual normalising of economic activities in the country, the Manufacturing PMI continued to increase in Dec 2020, on a month-on-month basis, recording an index value of 61.2. This was mainly attributable to the increases more..

Archaeological site bulldozed by unidentified persons

Jan 16 (ST) An archaeological site at Galkiriyagama in Anuradhapura district has been bulldozed by unidentified persons, according to a complaint lodged with the police. The site, known as Mahahurullewa is gazetted under the Department of Archaeology. Stone pillars, a moonstone, an ancient stupa and other buildings now lie scattered in pieces. Officers from the Galkiriyagama Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) were the first to be alerted about the destruction. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Australia’s MDF-Biomass Supplies promote sustainable agro-energy

Jan 16 (DM) The Australian govt-funded Market Development Facility (MDF) has partnered with bio-resources dev. company Biomass Supplies (subsidiary of Biomass Group) to promote a sustainable agro-energy model to protect SL’s forests, support clean energy generation and improve the livelihoods of rural women and farming communities. The partnership will support Biomass Supplies to expand its network of farmers by over 13,000, supported by 300 female village more..

Chandimal completes 4000 runs in Test cricket

Jan 16 (DN) Dinesh Chandimal registered 4000 runs in Test cricket in his 59th test match and in his 106th innings. Chandimal achieved the feat on day one of the first Test against England at Galle. With this feat, he has become the 12th SL batsman to register 4000 runs in Test cricket. Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Aravinda de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Marvan Atapattu, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Arjuna Ranatunga, Dimuth Karunaratne & Hashan more..

COVID hits referees, umpires and other sports officials hard

Jan 16 (ST) As the world battles to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic for the past 12 months, developing countries have been pushed to the corner with economies struggling to stay afloat. Sri Lanka is one of them, though all looked for a smooth sail about a year ago. With no positive breakthrough in sight, most Sri Lankans of all walks of lives, have been forced to survive on a meagre income. In general the whole network of trades more..

Yashita sets up final clash with Shamal

Jan 16 (CT) Yashita de Silva and defending champion Shamal Dissanayake overcame Chathurya Nilaweera (7/6(6), 6/3) and Sanka Athukorala (7/6 (3), 6/3), to book their slots in the final of the men’s open category at the ongoing Tennis Nationals 2020. It was a heated clash between Yasitha and Chathurya, where the experienced Yasitha dominated from the get go to complete victory in two straight sets to march into the finals. Earlier, in the first semi-final, more..

First the rich, then the poor

Jan 16 (ST) Once while teaching in a class, I posed a question to the students: “How many of you think that you are poor?” The students gave me a surprised look at this unexpected question. I made my question clear and asked again, convincing them that what they heard was what I asked: “My question is that how many of you think that you are poor as you are from a poor family? Let me see your hands, if you think so.” Surprisingly, this time I saw everyone raising their hand! more..

Joe Root casts off the shackles of captaincy to thrive in low-profile surroundings

Jan 16 (CI) English cricket occasionally seems so insular as to be self-defeating. From the outside, it seems its own self-contained weather system, sustained by internally-generated cold fronts, heat waves that never seem to last as long as they ought to, cyclonic events every few years, and although always moving from place to place across the cricketing map, rarely taking in the local air; frequently indifferent to the rest of more..

Kusal Mendis: First SL batsman to get four consecutive ducks

Jan 16 (DN) Top order batsman Kusal Mendis on Thursday became the first SL top order batsman and the third player to get out for four consecutive ducks in test cricket. He holds this dubious record when playing against England in the first test at Galle Int'l stadium. The test players who achieved this feat of four Consecutive ducks in test cricket for SL are wicket keeper Guy De Alwis in 1986-88, fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep in 2015 and 2017 and top order batsman Kusal Mendis in 2020-21. more..

If your PCR test taken at a private Lab is positive...

Jan 16 (DM) In the wake of more people testing positive for COVID-19, the govt has taken steps to provide the necessary facilities in the best interest of the public such as paid Intermediate Care Centre facilities for those who do not want to be quarantined at govt quarantine facilities. However, medical experts are of the view that self-quarantining at home should also be an option and that the private sector should also be involved to ease the burden on the public health system. more..

මේ වසරේ ආර්ථික සෞඛ්‍ය හා අධ්‍යාපන අභියෝග

Watching Funny Boy in Sri Lanka: A review

Jan 16 (GV) We watched the film, Funny Boy, directed by Deepa Mehta and adapted from Shyam Selvadurai’s 1994 novel, twice. We were surrounded by the numerous debates and controversies about the film. The first time we watched it was with my daughter, aged 14 and the second time on Jan 1 with a small group of friends in Batticaloa, all of whom had lived through the war and worked tirelessly as peace activists. Both times the film took us to our own memories of the late 1970s more..

Unseating Parliamentarians: Then and Now

Jan 16 (DN) SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who was sentenced to four-years Rigorous Imprisonment on Tuesday, will lose his Parliamentary seat, just four months after getting re-elected. Since the democratic system of electing people’s representatives through adult franchise was established in 1931, scores of members of State Council and Parliament were unseated due to reasons ranging from corruption, malpractices during elections, election expenses more..

Outlining COVID-19 vaccine plan

Jan 16 (CT) With the increasing number of COVID-19 infections and deaths worldwide, there has been an equivalent increase in the demand for the vaccines that are produced and tested in several countries. Sri Lanka, which is immensely impacted by the Pandemic, has been constantly looking into the possibilities of obtaining the vaccines and has decided to obtain the vaccines between mid and end Feb 2021. more..

Things falling apart in the US?

Jan 16 (CT) For the first time in the 232-year history of the US Presidency, the House of Representatives voted to impeach a President for the second time during a single term in office. With just a handful of days left until President-elect Joe Biden takes oaths as the 46th President of the United States, the incumbent, Donald Trump is charged with inciting an insurrection. The events of 6 January marked a black day in US history and shook the foundations of its democracy to the core, more..

Forcible cremation: A blatant case of racial discrimination

Jan 16 (GV) For nine months Muslims in SL have been begging the govt to allow them to bury relatives who have died of COVID-19. Their plea has been supported by some non-Muslim civil society and religious leaders and international organisations on the grounds that the govt’s policy violates human rights and causes tremendous suffering to the families whose relatives were cremated against their wishes. A majority within the govt, including the Health Minister, have held firmly to more..

Govt targets 3,300 tourists per day at BIA and MIA

Jan 16 (CT) COVID-19 is viewed as an existential crisis that will not end soon and neither does it have a defined ending, hence, BIA and MIA are gearing to open their gates for tourists, on 21 Jan 2021, following strict health guidelines, travelling in a bio bubble environment, having in mind the prevalence of the pandemic in the country. The preparation for this has been hectic for the tourist sector amidst the uncertainty, but more..

Getting back to pre-COVID-19 Chaos

Jan 16 (DM) Sri Lanka is often spoken of as one of the worst affected countries economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitch Ratings last November made it look worse. COVID-19 did affect the economy no doubt with lockdowns and isolations over almost nine months last year and still continuing. But we were no better even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-pandemic SL is one major fact that is not brought into discussion when getting back to normalcy is spoken about. more..

Education: A liberating & democratising force

Jan 16 (DM) In Sri Lanka and the world over the vital sector of education was one of the worst-affected by the ongoing second wave or new strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that when the pandemic is brought under control, children will have a new desire and attitude towards education. It will not only be a question of having tuition till late at night and passing examinations but the young people will have an inquiring mind to search for the truth to find out what happens and why. more..

Video: PCR tests on 15 MPs show negative Covid-19 results

Jan 15 (AD) All 15 MPs who were referred to PCR tests on Wednesday (13), have tested negative for COVID-19. A total of 463 individuals at the Parliament Complex, including Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and 15 lawmakers, were subject to PCR tests on Wednesday. Three MPs – Dayasiri Jayasekara, Rauff Hakeem and Vasudeva Nanayakkara – have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. more..

Situation in Sri Lanka is of great concern to many of the Tamils: UK Labour Party Leader

Jan 15 (TM) Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party of UK, said the current situation in SL is of great concern to many of the Tamils. In his Thai Pongal message yesterday, Starmer said, “This is also a time for us to reflect on the ongoing struggle for peace and justice in Sri Lanka. The current situation there is of great concern to many of you.” Extending wishes for the Thai Pongal, British MP said he also would like to express gratitude for the huge contribution the Tamil community more..

Record-breaking day for CSE

Jan 15 (AD) The All Share Price Index (ASPI) of the Colombo Stock Exchange gained 291.34 points today, marking the highest daily points gain in its history. The ASPI closed at 7,734.57 points - the highest since Feb 28, 2011 - gaining 3.91% from the previous day of trading. Previous highest daily points gain in the ASPI was recorded on Feb 15, 2011 when the index gained 255 points within a single day. S&P SL20 closed at 2,902.98 points today, with a gain of 120.81 (4.34%) more..

'Why weren’t they summoned before PCoI?'

Jan 15 (CT) SJB MP Dr. Kavinda Jayawardena asked why the PCoI, probing the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks, did not summon the suspects who were recently charged by the US for those attacks, before the PCoI to testify. “Not summoning them to testify before the PCoI is highly questionable,” he said. Suspects named Mohamed Naufar aka Naufer Moulavi who is believed to be the mastermind behind the bombings, more..

Contractors will be fired: Johnston

Jan 15 (CT) Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando said, steps would be taken to cancel the contract agreements of contractors who do not show the expected level of refinement in the coming week. He made this comment during a meeting with officials of local contractors and consulting firms on the progress of the construction on the second phase of the Central Expressway from Mirigama to Pothuhera. The Minister was informed by the contractors that due to the prevailing situation more..

President launches Park & Ride bus service

Jan 15 (DM) Prez Gotabhaya Rajapaksa today inaugurated the first phase of the Park & Ride bus service at the Makumbura Multimodal Transport Center in Kottawa. The aim of the project is to reduce the number of vehicles traveling to Colombo and suburbs by providing a comfortable, safe public transport bus service for motorists and motorcyclists. Only luxury buses are to be used to carry passengers according to the number of seats. The fare is double the normal bus fare. more..

UNP says Japan halted SL travelers due to England Cricket team’s tour

Jan 15 (TM) While questioning the Govt’s inconsistent policy towards allowing people to enter the country, UNP today said the England Cricket tour resulted in Japan banning SL Travelers. In a statement, the UNP said the lack of accountability and clear direction has resulted in the new strain of the COVID-19 virus entering SL. “Over 40 countries, including France and Germany, closed their borders to the UK on Dec 21 following the outbreak more..

SriLankan Airlines has been awarded Platinum Std status by APEX Health Safety

Jan 15 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has been awarded the Platinum Standard status by APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying following a full independent audit for our efforts in ensuring the highest standards for passenger safety and wellbeing during air travel, post-Covid. This status recognizes airlines that go above and beyond minimum standards required to rebuild traveller confidence and confirms our commitment to the safety of both our passengers and staff. more..

Scholarship exam: School cut-off marks released

Jan 15 (TM) The school cut-off marks of the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam 2020 have been released by the Ministry of Education. Exam was held on the 11th of October last year amidst the new wave of Covid-19 pandemic sweeping across the country. Ministry of Education had made necessary arrangements to conduct the examination under the health and safety protocols. In addition, special examination centres were set up in Gampaha district where the quarantine curfew was in place at the time. more..

Video: SC fixes dates to hear FR petitions on Easter Sunday attacks

Jan 15 (AD) Supreme Court has fixed dates for the arguments of 12 Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions, which were filed over the failure to act on the forewarnings to prevent the Easter Sunday terror attacks. The petitions were called before CJ Jayantha Jayasuriya and Supreme Court judges Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, L.T.B. Dehideniya, Murdu Fernando & Preethi Padman Surasena this morning. more..

23 million bricks needed to reconstruct Deegawapiya Stupa

Jan 15 (Island) The reconstruction of the Deegawapiya Stupa would require 23 million bricks, 3,977 cubes of river sand, 30,167 bags of cement besides other raw materials, Defence Secretary Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne told the media on Wednesday (13). He said so at an event to mark the launch of the Deegawapiya donation account. Gunaratne said Deegawapiya Stupa would be renovated in three years. “We have opened this account with parliamentary approval”. more..

Four years prison term for contempt of court violates ICCPR: AHRC

Jan 15 (TM) The Asian Human Rights Commission which is based in Hong Kong today said the four years prison sentence given to Ranjan Ramanayake for contempt of court violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). In a statement, it said a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court found Ranjan Ramanayake as guilty of having committed the offence of contempt of court and sentenced him to four years of rigorous imprisonment. more..

Explosive and Narcotic detecting air dogs pass out at Katunayake

Jan 15 (AF) Air Dog Unit at SLAF Base Katunayake held a Passing Out Parade today (13) for the newly inducted Air Dogs of the Unit. The event was held at Katunayake and the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana reviewed the parade as the Chief Guest. SLAF Air Dog Unit has a long history of service to the nation. Initially established on 23 Aug 1972 the Air Dog Unit was re-designated as No 48 Regiment Wing more..

Former Directors of ETI Finance released on bail

Jan 15 (AD) The four former Directors of Edirisinghe Trust Investments (ETI) Finance Limited have been released on bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. Former directors of ETI Finance – Nalaka Edirisinghe, Jeewaka Edirisinghe, Anjalee Edirisinghe and Asanka Edirisinghe were released on bail after being produced before the court today. They were each ordered released on a cash bail of Rs. 1 million and two personal bails of Rs. 5 million each. Imposing bail conditions, more..

Suspects operating illegal calcite deposit arrested: Ministry

Jan 15 (TM) A group of suspects who illegally maintained a calcite deposit at Pallebedda Koswetiya Kanda endangering the Samanala Wewa Reservoir had been arrested, the Ministry of Environment stated. It had been pointed out that some deep underground excavations in the Balangoda area and explosions using ammunition could cause tremors. Accordingly, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau took steps to conduct a special operation on such excavations. more..