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Boosting local industries: Govt walks the talk

Oct 15 (FT) Akin to walking the talk, Govt has announced specific preference and support measures to boost the local industries of IT software and hardware, construction and furniture and allied products in all procurements by State institutions. Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle last week issued a public finance circular to all secretaries to ministries, State ministries, chief secretaries of provincial councils, more..

Social media ruined us: Husband of Minuwangoda Brandix factory worker

Oct 15 (DM) The Minuwangoda Brandix factory worker who first tested positive for Covid-19 had to also endure a vicious mud-slinging campaign on social media. Her husband M.A.A. Amarasinghe spoke out in defence of her and described the harm done to them by social media. This is what he had to say: “We live in a rented house in Bomugammana in the Horagasmulla area in Divulapitiya where I was born. My wife worked in the Brandix company. Six days before she contracted the coronavirus, more..

Govt permits molasses imports to save state-owned sugar firms

Oct 15 (ST) Govt will soon be granting permission to state-owned Lanka Sugar Company to import molasses from India at a price of Rs.80 per kg to produce ethanol to meet the demand of local liquor manufacturers, informed industry sources said. This action has been taken despite the ethanol import ban to assist Pelwatte Sugar Distilleries (Pvt) Ltd and Sevanagala which come under the Lanka Sugar Company Ltd which have failed to produce a sufficient quantity of ethanol at present. more..

Apparel exports drop by 22% to $ 3.1 billion in 9 months

Oct 15 (FT) The apparel industry has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic with the total exports in the first nine months down by 21.97% to $ 3.1 billion compared to the same period last year. It is the lowest cumulative apparel and textile export recorded during the nine months period from Jan to Sept in the past 5 years, as highest recorded was $ 3.9 billion in 2019. Overall exports to the US fell by 22.15% to $ 1.4 billion and more..

Thirty years on: Pain of the northern Muslims is forgotten

Oct 15 (GV) Every story of ethnic cleansing is heart breaking. Some of them have been almost forgotten, overlooked in favour of others that were on a larger scale but they were just as driven by hatred and unsettling prejudices as any. In the larger context of the many humanitarian crises that beset SL during and after the long, bloody ethnic conflict, it is unfortunate that the well-orchestrated ethnic cleansing achieved through the forcible expulsion of the Northern Muslims from their traditional more..

Nobel Peace Prize boosts WFP’s role in Feeding the Hungry

Oct 15 (DM) Most topics discussed these days are done in the context or against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is playing a dominant role when it comes to the environment, procurement of essential food items, the economy, politics and of course the health of the people. But amid the health authorities struggling to get a handle on the latest outbreak of the COVID-19 cluster originating at the Minuwangoda Brandix Factory in Gampaha District and reports of infected patients more..

Pavithra Wanniarachchi & Samitha Ginige

19th, 20th & sanctimonious humbuggery

Oct 15 (DM) There were voices. Loud voices. The end of democracy is at hand, we heard them say. Sovereignty is at stake, they said. All about the 20th Amendment. So they petitioned the Supreme Court in their hordes. And the Supreme Court heard what they had to say, listened to the observations of the intervening petitioners as well as the Attorney-General, including amendments to the Bill that are expected to be made at the Committee Stage. The Supreme Court determined. more..

Brandix Probe

Oct 15 (CT) Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has appointed a two-member committee comprising Labour Department Legal Officer K.B.G. Premadasa and Deputy Labour Commissioner Poshitha Dabare to inquire into the Brandix Minuwangoda COVID-19 Cluster. Premadasa told this newspaper yesterday that their mandate includes the possibility of inquiring into as to whether any labour laws were breached by the Company (Brandix) that caused the Brandix Minuwangoda COVID-19 Cluster. more..

Holding exams amidst a pandemic

Oct 15 (CT) The spate of fresh COVID-19 cases reported last week reignited fears among Sri Lankans that the pandemic may be entering a community transmission level or a new wave. The new COVID-19 cluster, dubbed by many as the Brandix cluster, emerged at an apparel factory located in the Minuwangoda area, and within a few days authorities confirmed over 1,000 COVID-19 cases from this cluster alone. more..

Second wave matrimony

Oct 15 (TM) Marriage and Covid-19 have had an awkward relationship. Covid-19’s first appearance on the scene wrecked the wedding dreams of many couples looking to tie the knot in 2020. Sri Lanka’s three-month lockdown meant the postponement or cancellation of the countless weddings that would have taken place during that period. The uncertainty and fear of mingling that Covid-19 brought with it meant that weddings taking place after the lockdown had to be scaled down more..

Understanding pandemic fatigue

Oct 15 (GV) Sri Lanka is seeing an uptick in infections with 1,307 total infections with 1,180 new infections confirmed within seven days, as of October 10. Amidst this increase an unhealthy narrative is starting to take hold. This is a narrative centered on blaming others, imposing fear and frustration. The common refrain that goes why could not they have been careful enough? is harmful and often leads to stigmatizing vulnerable communities that are affected by the virus. more..

We have failed our children

Oct 15 (CT) In a shocking exposure in Parliament last week Minister Prof. G.L Peiris said, prosecutions have been initiated in only 303 child abuse cases out of 3,900 which were fully investigated from 1 January 2020 to 23 Sept 2020. Responding to an Oral Question, raised by NPP MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya, Prof. Peiris said, NCPA has received 6,063 child abuse related complaints in the first 9 months of 2020. more..

Situation of garment factory workers in Katunayake – Covid-19

Oct 15 (CT) “The biggest mistake done by this Govt and the Health Ministry was to claim that we had conquered Corona. Then everyone became complaisant. Most people stopped wearing masks also. There’s no point trying to make world records (coming 2nd in the world) for having managed Corona, we should have focused on creating a SL record by, making sure we properly managed things here. Then automatically we would have got int'l recognition,” said a worker now in quarantine more..

Migrant workers can be repatriated, govt has abandoned them at their hour of greatest...

Oct 15 (CT) To the migrant worker stuck abroad sleeping in parks, eating one meal a day and having just lost a job, the resurgence of COVID-19 in Minuwangoda sparks fear. For them, the new cases signal even further delays in returning home. We worry about being locked-down at home. For migrant workers, that is a luxury. Of the 1.7 million Sri Lankans abroad, 50, 000 migrant workers stuck primarily in the Middle East are trying to come home. Despite the arduous process and more..

No proper analysis conducted on National Security prior to attacks: Ranil

Oct 14 (DM) No appropriate analysis was conducted over the threats related to National Security at the time of Easter Sunday coordinated terror attacks, former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told PCoI. He admitted that the security situation in the country was deteriorating at the time of the Easter Sunday terror attacks on April 21, 2019. Responding to a question raised by the representative from Attorney General's (AG) Department, more..

More than 65 mn litres of burnt oil have contaminated SL soil

Oct 14 (Island) More than 65 million litres of burnt oil had been dumped into the soil in SL in recent years, said Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. Minister speaking with a team of experts requested a report on the negative impact on the soil. “Minister asked for the report within a week considering the urgency,” an official said. Minister also said that there was no awareness among public of the burnt oil use. He pointed out the need of experts to create a public awareness in that regard. more..

Prioritise curbing COVID-19 over debating 20A: UNP

Oct 14 (DM) UNP urged the govt not to take up the debate on the proposed 20th Amendment in Parliament till the COVID-19 pandemic situation is controlled UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that priority should be given to the controlling of the pandemic which seemed to spreading to many parts of the country. “Govt seemed to be hell-bent on getting the 20th Amendment approved in Parliament despite the dangerous situation that had been brought more..

Lots of suspects but few leads in mystery sea turtle deaths in Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (MB) Conservation experts in Sri Lanka have been left puzzled by a recent spate of marine turtle fatalities, where the animals’ bodies have washed ashore without any indications of the typical causes of death. Three carcasses were found Oct 3 on Mount Lavinia Beach in the commercial capital, Colombo; the next day, two dead turtles were found in the Wellawatte of Colombo, and five more at Galle Face in the heart of the city. more..

Army-produced rice stocks for Army troops

Oct 14 (DN) Army efforts, launched in order to promote self-sufficiency in rice across the country and food security among troops to be in line with the multifaceted Thuru Mithuru-Nawa Ratak crop-cultivation and afforestation project of the Commander of the Army resulted in the production of ample paddy stocks through Army farms of the Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock and the distribution of rice among Army troops at subsidized rates. Paddy harvests of the Maha-2019 and more..

Another 113 COVID-19 cases identified

Oct 14 (NR) Another 113 COVID-19 cases, all linked to the Minuwangoda COVID-19 cluster have been identified. Minuwangoda COVID-19 cluster, has increased to 1,721. Five cases were detected from quarantine centres while the remaining 108 patients were identified as close contacts of cases linked to the Minuwangoda cluster. 130 cases in total were confirmed today. Ministry of Health said following the detection of new infections, SL has now confirmed 5,168 cases of coronavirus since January. more..

SL Navy decommissions Weeraya & Jagatha

Oct 14 (SLN) Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne on 12th October 2020 presided over the ceremonial decommissioning that had been organized with great pomp and circumstance to bid adieu to SL Navy Ship (SLNS) Weeraya and Jagatha at the Naval Dockyard Trincomalee. The duo of ships of the 3rd Fast Gun Boat Squadron has rendered a priceless service to the SL Navy for more..

Two tea pluckers killed in Balangoda

Oct 14 (DN) Two women were killed and another seriously injured when a tree fell on them at the Walawawatta Estate in Pinnawala, Balangoda this morning. Another woman was admitted to the Balangoda Base Hospital with serious injuries police said. The deceased have been identified as Sellaiah Parameswari and Sandanami Rosemiri, both residents of Walawawatta Estate. A large tree had fallen due to strong winds and rains in the area. The condition of the woman who was admitted more..

Covid second wave must be blamed on govt not Apparel-Maker: Opposition MP

Oct 14 (EN) Opposition is saying the govt is trying to blame Brandix for the second wave of Covid 19 infections while the fault lies with the state as it failed to carry out enough random testing to confirm that the virus was not spread in the community. Opposition SJB MP S M Marikkar said that the if the apparel maker had not taken proper precautions and is responsible for creating the new cluster they should be punished, but based on the statements given by Brandix and the army commander more..

'I didn’t want to alienate Muslims by banning Niqab'

Oct 14 (CT) Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted that he was reluctant to ban Muslim women from wearing clothing that covers their faces, because he felt that doing so would deprive the Muslim community from providing information about Islamist extremism. Adding that the communal riots of 1983 caused the Tamil people to not provide information on the LTTE organisation, he said it took more than two years more..

Rs 500K compensation for 14 Lankans

Oct 14 (CT) SL Bureau of Foreign Employment said that relevant files have been sent to the SL Insurance Corporation for payment of compensation, on behalf of 14 Sri Lankans, who died abroad after contracting the Covid-19 virus. A sum of Rs 500,000 each will be paid for those who had registered themselves at the Bureau, from among those who went abroad to work and died thus. Among the 14 persons who died as a result of contracting the Covid-19 virus, it is reported that there more..

Promoting Ceylon Tea mid-pandemic

Oct 14 (TM) While necessity breeds invention, or so the old adage goes, disruption breeds innovation. In the midst of the pandemic, Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) has launched an innovative initiative to market the Ceylon Tea brand with a range of Ceylon Tea-dyed face masks. These face masks are being distributed to the diplomatic and international business community to promote the Ceylon Tea brand overseas in a memorable way in keeping with restrictions brought about by Covid-19. more..

Curfew in Katunayake police division tomorrow following COVID detection

Oct 14 (EN) Sri Lanka will imposing quarantine curfew in the Katunayake police division from 0500hrs Thursday (15) after COVID-19 infected patients were found in the Katunayake free trade zone (FTZ), Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said. PCR tests were conducted on several government factory employees in the FTZ today after over 50 workers tested positive for COVID-19, more..

Minuwangoda COVID-19 cluster expands by 113 cases

Oct 14 (AD) More individuals have tested positive for the novel coronavirus expanding the Minuwangoda COVID-19 cluster by another 113 cases. According to Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva, 05 of them have been detected among the persons undergoing quarantine at quarantine centers. The remaining 108 cases are identified as close contacts of the Minuwangoda apparel factory employees. Meanwhile, the number of cases detected from the Katunayake FTZ has gone up by 72 cases. more..

6 teams to control COVID-19 virus in Colombo

Oct 14 (AD) Six teams have been deployed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the city of Colombo, said Chief Medical Officer of CMC, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni. Their main function is to locate COVID-19 infected persons who have entered the city of Colombo and to restrict their movement to that specific area. These teams work on the basics of locating virus-infected people, preventing it from spreading, controlling the spread within Colombo, and preventing it from flowing outside the city more..

Journalists exposing timber smuggling attacked

Oct 14 (IFJ) Journalists Shanmugam Thavaseelan and Kanapathipillai Kumanan, correspondents for the Tamil Guardian, were attacked by timber smugglers on Oct 12 when the journalists duo were working on a story on illegal deforestation and timber smuggling in the Murippu forest area in the Mullaitivu district. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its SL affiliates Free Media Movement (FMM) more..

'Sirisena never ordered arrest of Zaharan'

Oct 14 (CT) Although former Prez Maithripala Sirisena said he had given instructions at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting in Jan 2019 to arrest National Thowheed Jama’ath Leader Zaharan Hashim, he had never given such an instruction, said former Defence Secretary, Hemasiri Fernando. Meanwhile, Shamil Perera PC, appearing for the Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, questioned the witness as to why the NSC did not convene until 22 April, more..

Sajith and ACCS members summoned

Oct 14 (CT) Leader of the Opposition, Sajith Premadasa and several others, including Members of the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS), were noticed to appear before the PCoI, probing political victimisation of public officials during the tenure of the UNF-led Govt. The Members of the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat, to whom notice was issued, are Mangala Samaraweera, Champika Ranawaka, Rauff Hakeem, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, R. Sampanthan, more..

Video: Rishad’s security guard and an accountant arrested

Oct 14 (AD) The accountant arrested in connection with the case against former minister Rishad Bathiudeen, over transporting IDP voters in state-owned buses, has been remanded until October 26 after being produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court. Alagarathnam Manoranjan, the accountant of the IDP Resettling project implemented under former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, has been placed under arrest. The arrest was made by the CID more..

Video: 11 arrested for violating curfew in last 24 hours

Oct 14 (AD) Eleven individuals have been arrested for violating quarantine curfew regulations within the past 24 hours. Police Media Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana stated that 135 persons have been arrested for violating the curfew since last Sunday (11). Meanwhile, operation of any shops including pharmacies in the curfew active areas is strictly prohibited, Police Media Spokesman added. He said that a decision will be taken tomorrow regarding the opening of shops in the relevant areas. more..

What does Sri Lanka moving closer to China mean for India?

Oct 14 (ORF) The short-notice Colombo visit of a high-level Chinese delegation, to be followed now by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s this month-end should be of interest as much to the Indian strategic community as to their counterparts in SL. The question is that if the Chinese visit was a reaction to the recent Quad Ministerial at Tokyo, and the delayed one by Secretary Pompeo, likewise, has been influenced by the latter. “Negotiations are underway for a ¥10 billion (Renminbi) more..