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Sri Lanka has to be vigilant about inflation, asset bubbles as credit picks up: IPS

Oct 14 (IPS) While money has been printed as an emergency measures amid a Coronavirus crisis, Sri Lanka has to be careful about inflation as credit picks up, but has an opportunity for economic recovery with Coronavirus control, a think tank has said. “If persisted with for any length of time, the monetary financed stimulus can push up inflation,” Institute of Policy Studies said ahead of the release of its State of Economy report. more..

Aussie startup moves into SL seafood market

Oct 14 (DN) GoMicro has landed funding and a major partner to test its AI assessment app on tuna for a major SL supermarket chain. Created in Adelaide, the GoMicro AI microscope has previously been used in a kit to diagnose leishmaniasis in war-torn nations, in schools as a teaching tool and on farms to identify pests. It is now being tested to grade tuna for consumption in SL. The GoMicro technology combines a mobile phone microscope attachment with an artificial intelligence suite more..

Travel ban issued on Rishad

Oct 14 (AD) The Fort Magistrate has imposed a travel ban on MP Rishad Bathiudeen on the request of the CID. Then-Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, director of the project Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and the project accountant Alagarathnam Manoranjan are accused of violating Article 82(1) of Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 by misappropriating public funds to the tune of Rs. 9.5 million. They have allegedly misused 222 buses belonging to SLTB for transporting IDPs more..

60 CID officers to probe allegations against Riyaj Bathiudeen

Oct 14 (AD) Attorney General Dappula de Livera has directed the Police to conduct investigations into MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother, Riyaj Bathiudeen under 07 counts, says the Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana. Riyaj Bathiudeen was arrested by the CID in April this year for allegedly having direct links to the terrorists involved in the Easter Sunday attacks. However, CID released him in Sept, citing lack of evidence. more..

Rs 12 million fine imposed on MT New Diamond Captain

Oct 14 (AD) Colombo High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 12 million on the Captain of the crude oil tanker MT New Diamond which caught on fire while on SL waters. When the case was taken up today (14), the Greek Captain Stereo Sterio Ilias plead guilty for the charges filed against him in relation to the fire. Subsequently, AG sought a court order for compensation in a sum of Rs 200 million. However, the court has ruled for the accused to be released after the settlement of a fine of Rs 12 million. more..

About 33 patients had Covid-19 symptoms before woman worker was detected

Oct 14 (DM) Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), Commander of the Army Lt General Shavendra Silva stated that information had been received to the effect that there had been 33 employees at the Brandix Apparel factory suffering from cough and cold before the woman worker with symptoms of Covid-19 was found at the company. "It is suspected that these employees would have contracted the disease around the period Sept 10 - 20," more..

Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secy, Min. of Environment

Sri Lanka’s economic dependency deepens after Moody’s rate cut

Oct 14 (FT) A rating cut of two notches followed by the Govt’s denial… Sri Lanka has yet to come out of this vicious cycle in managing the economy. Moody’s Investors Service last week downgraded the island nation’s sovereign rating to Caa1, which is poor quality and very high credit risk, equal to the rating of Iraq, Mali, Angola, and Congo, from B2 or speculative and a high credit risk, the ratings enjoyed by countries like Turkey, Kenya, Nigeria, and Jamaica. more..

Will the govt allow import of cow-skins to tanneries?

Oct 14 (FT) PM at a meeting of party MPs proposed to impose a ban on slaughter of cattle, supposed to eliminate shortage of cattle for farming. But according to the PM, beef requirement of consumers would be imported. Local media in reporting the proposal were brief and stopped short of details. The proposal was brought in suddenly without any public discussion, prior requests from public, or even a demand from the Buddhist clergy. The proposal was accepted by the Cabinet on 29 September more..

Health Ministry expresses confidence

Oct 14 (CT) Ministry of Health, yesterday, expressed confidence that it would be able to control, what seemed to be the fast-increasing COVID-19 cluster at the Brandix Minuwangoda facility. Ministry Spokesman, Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara, speaking to the Media at the Health Promotion Bureau, said this was the 33rd COVID-19 cluster. “All the cases that were being identified within the Gampaha District and other parts more..

Apparel waste dumped in Elephant Corridor

Oct 14 (DM) Volunteers who were cleaning up the Wetahirakanda Nature Reserve, Uva-Kuda Oya, Thanamalwila have stumbled upon a patch of buried fabric labels bearing the name of leading global apparel brand, H&M. Volunteers of the Climate Action Now SL, a group which organizes regular cleaning-up activities across the country, organized a project to clean Tier IV of the Wetahirakanda Nature Reserve (WNR), on Oct 3. The particular stretch was chosen for the project as more..

Automatic signal light to be used in some junctions

Oct 14 (NR) Police say automatic operation of signal lights will be enforced at selected junctions and along roads in Colombo from 6am today. The pilot project is being enforced in order to reduce traffic congestion further. Traffic along these roads were managed by Police officers before. With the automatic operation of signal lights Police officers will not be directing traffic in the relevant areas. He noted the automatic operation of signal lights will be enforced at Panadura, Moratuwa, Katubedda, more..

Total COVID-19 count crosses 5,000 mark with 194 new cases

Oct 14 (FT) The total number of confirmed cases identified in the island surpassed 5,000 yesterday, with the identification of 194 new cases. Yesterday’s cases include 80 employees of the Minuwangoda garment manufacturing facility and contacts at quarantine centres and 114 other contacts. This brings the Divulapitiya cluster to 1,591 cases and the total number of confirmed cases in the island to 5,038. more..

ITUKAMA COVID-19 Fund balance surpasses Rs. 1659 million

Oct 14 (PMD) Following corporate, individual donations and direct deposits, ITUKAMA COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund balance has now surpassed Rs. 1659 million. PM’s Office Rs. 82,906.97, girl child R.G.I. Sithumini Bandara Rs.6,000, Gampaha District Samurdhi Officers’ Welfare Association Rs. 100,000 and Bank of Ceylon Pensioners’ Association Rs. 2,500,000 donated to the Fund. These donations were handed over to Prez Rajapaksa by PM Rajapaksa. more..

Only 251 beds available for any new COVID-19 patients

Oct 14 (DM) With the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in Minuwangoda, the number of beds available to treat new COVID-19 patients stood at 251, as of yesterday. At present, hospital occupancy stands at 1,440 while the total capacity is 1,691 which means there only 251 more beds available for any new COVID-19 patients. The IDH, Welikanda Base Hospital, Kamburugamuwa Hospital, Teldeniya hospital and Kathankudy hospital had exceeded the bed capacity with the IDH accommodating more..

Govt prioritising 20A when it should be focusing on combating COVID-19: SJB

Oct 14 (FT) The SJB accused the Govt of prioritising the 20th Amendment at a time when it should instead be focusing on combating COVID-19, which is deeply affecting all Sri Lankans. SJB General Secretary Madduma Bandara criticised the Govt for making the passage of the 20th Amendment its priority when the spread of COVID-19 has become a far more important issue for the public & not using its parliamentary majority more..

Committee presents report on 20 unstable buildings in Kandy to CP Governor

Oct 14 (Island) An expert committee appointed by the Central Province Governor Lalith Gamage to study the conditions of large buildings in Kandy submitted its report on Monday. The committee consists of engineers and architects. The team was headed by Engineer W.M.A. Wickremasinghe of the Central Province Engineering Services Department. Among others in the 25 member team was Professor S.B.S. Abeykoon. The committee was appointed by Governor Gamage following more..

30,000 PCR test kits expired due to non-use

Oct 14 (TM) National Trade Union Front (NTUF) has called on the Govt to look into the 30,000 expired PCR antibody kits purchased for the Mulleriyawa Molecular Biology Laboratory, which was built by a Chinese company at a cost of over Rs. 250 million this year, due to non-use. “We urge Ministry of Health & Prez to launch an immediate investigation to ensure that the Mulleriyawa Laboratory, which was built at great expense, was not yet another waste of foreign-funded projects more..

'LTTEr’s family member appointed to HRCSL'

Oct 14 (CT) Several issues arose due to the appointment of a family member of a person who had joined the LTTE and died, to a high position of the Human Rights Commission of SL (HRCSL) during the tenure of the previous UNF Govt, said former President Maithripala Sirisena. Sirisena also said that due to such issues, he summoned the then Chairperson of the HRCSL and questioned her regarding its conduct. more..

Defence Counsel says Gammanpila framed

Oct 14 (CT) Shavendra Fernando, PC, while cross-examining a witness, before Colombo High Court Judge R. Gurusinghe yesterday, claimed that former Minister Champika Ranawaka had filed charges against Minister Udaya Gammanpila, with the aim of politically victimising him. He was cross-examining a witness in the case against Gammanpila, who had been charged with misappropriating a sum of Rs 20 million through the sale of shares, from a firm owned by Australian national Bryan Shaddick. more..

ETI probe report will be sent to AG

Oct 14 (CT) Cabinet has decided to forward the report of the Commission, appointed to probe alleged irregularities and malpractices at Edirisinghe Trust Investments (ETI), to the Attorney General, to take immediate legal action. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on 9 January, appointed a Presidential Commission, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice K.T. Chandrasiri, to investigate, inspect and report on the alleged wrongdoings, irregularities and malpractices of ETI. more..

Drafting New Constitution: Wijeyadasa wants PSC to handle the process

Oct 14 (Island) SLPP lawmaker, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, has questioned the appointment of an expert committee to formulate a new Constitution. The former Justice Minister has, in a letter dated Oct 12 to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, alleged that the nine-member committee couldn’t fulfil the aspirations of the President and the country’s population. Romesh de Silva, PC, heads the committee appointed by more..

SriLankan Cargo clears high-quality RNA extraction kits

Oct 14 (TM) SriLankan Cargo last evening cleared 15,000 magnetic bead RNA extraction kits that were held at BIA after receiving the letter of authorisation by Ministry of Health. Morning contacted SriLankan Cargo Department Duty Manager to check on the magnetic bead RNA extraction kits that could not be released without the necessary authorisation. “Mere moments ago, we released the consignment to Ministry of Health officials after Ministry submitted the necessary clearance forms to our Dept” more..

SL would be among first destinations for Chinese tourists after COVID-19: China

Oct 14 (FT) During the recent high-level visit, Communist Party of China Politburo member Yang Jiechi discussed with Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa on tourism cooperation between China and SL. Upon the request from Sri Lankan side to encourage more Chinese tourists to come after COVID-19, the Chinese senior official assured both Prez and PM of the island nation that Chinese leaders and Govt attach high importance to the tourism cooperation between the 2 countries. more..

Stock market sets new highs of turnover, trades

Oct 14 (FT) Turnover and trades at Colombo Stock Market soared to new highs as investors, especially retailers and high net-worth individuals remained upbeat on listed equities, despite a fresh COVID-19 scare in the country. Turnover rose to Rs. 5 billion, highest since 9 Jan this year and 33% above Monday whilst the number of trades was 41,686, the highest since 5 Sept 2011. An elated Ajith Nivard Cabraal tweeted saying more..

NOC steps up with HPU, but where is MOS?

Oct 14 (ST) Next Champ was unveiled by the NOC (National Olympic Committee of SL) recently in partnership with Crysbro, the poultry company who has brought about a visionary zeal to the sports firmament in the country. Backing the thrust that the youthful Minister has brought to Sports overall, NOC has stepped up a long term vision so critically necessary for sports to thrive in our land! No quick fixes anymore seems to be the refrain and the stalwarts at the top, NOC President Suresh more..

Editorial: AG, Cops, MPs & Pickpockets

Oct 14 (Island) Attorney General Dappula de Livera has got tough with the police. He summoned the CID Director and DIG in charge of the CID and censured them, on Monday. His consternation is understandable. CID released former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother, Riyaj, arrested and detained for his alleged links to the Easter Sunday bombers. It has to consult the AG before releasing terror suspects, but it did not care to do so in this instance. more..

Prez appoints Task Force to study exploitation of geological resources

Oct 14 (FT) Prez Rajapaksa has appointed a Task Force to study the exploitation of geological resources for prioritised development activities and to meet needs of those who depend on such resources for small scale livelihood activities and traditional vocations. Public Services, Provincial Councils & Local Govt Ministry Secretary J.J. Rathnasiri will chair the 18-member Task Force. Task force will separately identify more..

CSE retail turnover hits remarkable high of Rs. 5.04 billion

Oct 14 (Island) The CSE enjoyed its highest ever retail turnover and the highest ever number of transactions despite both indices indicating a downward trend yesterday. The reason for the market decline was selling pressure in banking and large cap counters. However, demand for low valued stocks remained bullish. Turnover stood at Rs. 5. 04 billion with two crossings. Those crossings were reported from Pan Asia Power, which crossed 40 million shares to the tune of Rs. 180 million; more..

Sri Lanka Chamber of Garment Exporters stands by Brandix

Oct 14 (FT) Executive Committee together with members of the SL Chamber of Garment Exporters which represents the SMEs in the apparel industry in a statement extended their solidarity toward the Brandix Group and the total employment specially those who worked at their plant in Yakahatuwa, Minuwangoda. Following is the statement issued by Chamber’s President Bandula Fernando and General Secretary Hemantha Perera: “Apparel is one of the major industries which generate more..

Expressway projects: Shifting lanes takes time

Oct 14 (TM) The long awaited expressway projects, the Central Expressway Project (CEP) and the Ruwanpura Expressway Project (REP), are to see further delays due to the Govt’s decision to utilise Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) models for expressway constructions. It is learnt that this decision has been taken by the Govt considering the economic downturn caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. more..

Chess: Harshana Thilakaratne awarded International Master Title

Oct 14 (CT) Harshana Thilakarathne was awarded the International Master Title by the World Chess Federation at their Council Meeting held in early Oct 2020. Harshana is SL’s second International Master. The first was Romesh Weerawardena, who won the IM title in 2013 at the Asian Zonal Chess Championship held in SL. Harshana is the first to be awarded the IM title after winning three norms with the required rating of 2400. He has won many titles, including Commonwealth Under-16 C'ship, more..

Former national discus champion and top sports administrator Weerasena passes away

Oct 14 (Island) Former national discus throw champion and top sports administrator Ranjit Weerasena (79) passed away after a long illness on Tuesday. Weerasena reigned the throwing arena for more than a decade from late 60s after emerging as a formidable Public Schools athlete from St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya. He was the Public Schools Champion in 1959. He took under his belt the national discus throw record (39.94 metres) in 1963 and it remained unbroken until more..

Exports remain resilient; top $ 1 b in Sept

Oct 14 (FT) Despite global and local challenges, Sri Lanka’s merchandised exports saw a continuous rise for the last four months and Sept has surpassed $ 1 billion mark once again, proving its resilience and rebound. “I am extremely pleased to see $ 1 billion of exports in Sept. I salute the entire export community, our resilient businesses and all employees in the export sector for this remarkable performance. more..

Brandix Outbreak: Lessons to be learned

Oct 14 (Island) Recently, a few days before the present outbreak, some officials appeared on TV to warn the public not to ignore the need to practice Covid-19 safety measures, such as wearing masks and, washing hands. These are good measures to avoid respiratory disease, and most important when there is Covid spreading in the country, but the public cannot be blamed for the new wave of Covid-19 in the country following a lapse of about two months. more..

Now, the Maha Sangha stands up against the 20th Amendment

Oct 14 (DM) Just as the print and the electronic media were abuzz with the rumoured contents of the Supreme Court determination on the constitutionality of the 20th Amendment bill and it seemed that once the 04 Articles which reportedly the Supreme Court had determined to be in need of the approval by the people at a referendum, were either further amended or scrapped, 20th amendment will become part of Supreme Law of the country, Maha Sangha has dropped a bombshell on Monday. more..