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Prez Rajapaksa had no hand in revoking detention of Riyaj: Counsel

Oct 21 (Island) Sanjeewa Jayawardena, PC, told the Court of Appeal that the President had never had any hand in revoking any detention order issued against Riyaj Bathiudeen, the brother of Rishad Bathiudeen. At the outset Faiz Mustapha PC, who appeared for the petitioner Riyaj Bathiudeen told the Court of Appeal that the petitioner had not been involved in terrorist activity, according to investigation reports of recent times. more..

Actor Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter gets rape threat over Muttiah biopic row

Oct 21 (NDTV) Cyber Cell of Chennai Police has registered a case after a rape threat was made on Twitter against the daughter of actor Vijay Sethupathi, who yesterday exited from 800 - a biopic on SL cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan - following opposition to his involvement in the project. Without referring to Mr Sethupathi by name, or revealing details about the threat, Chennai Police Commissioner tweeted: "There has been a lot of concern on social media regarding comments more..

No one from curfew areas when top athletes flex their muscle

Oct 21 (Island) Middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi has spent nearly a year without competitions. A gold medal hopeful at the last South Asian Games, Nimali met with an accident on the eve of SL team’s departure for the Games last year. She is among dozens of top athletes preparing to assess their strengths after a long layoff at the time trial scheduled for the weekend as SL Athletics decided to go ahead with the low key affair to provide competition-starved track and field more..

Covid-19 and PCR testing: Govt urged to look at new testing methods

Oct 21 (TM) Concerns have been raised by Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) over the issues relating to PCR tests and the delay in introducing new testing mechanisms that suit bulk testing. They claimed the current PCR test was a traditional and time-consuming testing mechanism and therefore, urged the Health Ministry to introduce serum, antigen, and antibody tests to conduct bulk or random testing and to avoid the spread of more..

Over 90% constructions around Bolgoda lake illegal: CEA

Oct 21 (DN) Environment Ministry revealed that 90% of constructions around the Bolgoda Lake are illegal and have not obtained necessary authorisation from the Central Environment Authority. The Ministry further said that even constructions that have obtained authorisation have not met proper recommendations. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera recently paid a visit to inspect the illegal constructions around the Bolgoda Lake and to observe destructive methods of disposing more..

Hirdaramani says close contacts of COVID-19 patient test negative

Oct 21 (FT) Hirdaramani Industries in a statement said that the close contacts of the COVID-19 positive employee have tested negative. Following is the full statement of the Company: “Further to the statement released on 18 October, regarding the identification of a COVID-19 positive employee, the management of Hirdaramani Group confirms that the associate is currently being treated under the supervision of the health authorities and is in stable condition. more..

Pavithra, Sajith lock horns over Health Gazette

Oct 21 (CT) A spat occurred between Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in Parliament, over the Gazette Notification issued on COVID-19 prevention health regulations, especially in terms of its application in public places. This was mainly due to Premadasa insisting that health regulations are not adhered to in the Parliament Chamber and Wanniarachchi emphasising more..

Rotary targets 1,000 companies for SLSI COVID-19 cover

Oct 21 (FT) It is reported that SL has crossed 5,300 cases on COVID-19 with the Minuwangoda cluster crossing 2,000 patients. It is clear that SL is moving to a community level spread post the Brandix cluster issue, said Rotary Stop the Spread Project Director – SL and Maldives Dr. Rohantha Athukorala at the Rotaract Club Colombo East Installation. “We must target 1,000 companies to be certified with the SLSI Certification process and reach at least 40% of households with campaign by June 2021. more..

Sri Lanka urged to leverage $ 150 b worth of trade shifts over next 5 years

Oct 21 (FT) Over $ 150 billion worth of trade shifts will take place over the next four to five years, and if SL could attract just 1% of that investment it could have a generational impact, said AmCham President AmCham SL President Prasantha Jayamaha, at the launch of TRADESHIFTS 2020 in Colombo last week. TRADESHIFTS is a series of events, discussions, policy and advocacy engagements focused on providing SL businesses the opportunity to attract a portion of the shifting trade over more..

Ban on single use plastic, polythene from Jan1

Oct 21 (DN) Cabinet approved a proposal made by the Environment Minister to ban single use plastic and polythene from January 1 next year. The regulations such as a ban on the production of polythene of 20 microns or less, a ban on the manufacture of polythene food wrappers, and a ban on the burning of polythene in the open environment have been enacted with effect from Sept 1, 2017 in order to reduce more..

South Korean hospital presents generous gift to Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (Island) The embassy of SL in the Republic of Korea, in close coordination with the Sri Lankaramaya Temple in the City of Daegu, managed to convince the senior most officials and medical team of Gwanghye General Hospital in the City of Busan to gift over 100 medical beds, wheelchairs and other medically important material to the embassy of Sri Lanka to be shipped to select hospital in SL. In this regard, the Ambassador of SL, Dr. Saj U. Mendis, and Chief Incumbent of more..

'Lesser number of elderly contracted virus'

Oct 21 (DM) The number of elderly people in SL contracting COVID-19 is less, Health Ministry Spokesman Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara said. He said if this situation changes, the current COVID-19 death toll of 13 could rise. “Still, no vaccine had been developed against the virus. PCR testing is the only gold standard to identify COVID-19 positive cases. The sensitivity of the PCR test is 70%,” he said. Number of COVID-19 infected patients had reached 5,600 with the active cases standing at 2,200. more..

Catch-22 for 20A

Oct 21 (FT) The highly contentious 20th Amendment with changes approved by Cabinet on Monday comes up for a two-day debate from today onwards in Parliament amidst mounting criticism by the Opposition, certain sections of clergy, civil society and professionals. Ahead of the parliamentary debate, Cabinet approved three changes including maintaining the limits of Cabinet and Non-Cabinet Ministers as outlined more..

Flushed with liquidity, finance firms settle debt at record pace

Oct 21 (DM) Overabundance of liquidity caused by the lacklustre growth in loans in the sector, SL’s non-bank lenders are settling vast sums of their borrowings to banks, with larger players leading the pack, as they appear to reduce their leverage in the absence of meaningful growth in the sector. According to First Capital Research (FCR), the non-bank finance institutions (NBFIs) may not reap the full benefits of the current uptrend in the demand for loans, with banks infiltrating into more..

Constitutional amendments and management of public affairs in Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (Island) There are many factors that affect the way public affairs are managed in a country. The basic law of the country is perhaps the most important one. Hence the current debates about the proposed 20th amendment to the constitution. As the discussions and debates so far show, the proposed amendment has many ramifications and I do not intend to touch on all these in this short article. While acknowledging that all the diverse aspects discussed by various commentators more..

'Brandix did not manufacture COVID. Our girls are going through hell'

Oct 21 (DM) The latest COVID-19 cluster has taken SL by storm. While the cluster keeps growing at a rapid pace with questions being raised as to whether SL is now facing a community spread, another wave which is spreading across the country in parallel with the virus itself is the stigmatisation of the apparel industry employees. Since Oct 4, SL’s apparel industry which has, for years, been one of the top foreign exchange more..

Investor focus shifts to plantations as CSE manages to close positive

Oct 21 (FT) Investor focus for the first time in recent months shifted to the under-performing plantations stocks yesterday, as the Colombo Bourse began a fresh and important week positive though less convincing. The benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) ended the day almost flat, whilst the more active S&P SL20 index gained by 12 points. Turnover was lower by 29% (Rs. 2.5 billion) from Friday which capped a stellar week. The Food, Beverage and Tobacco sector was more..

CSE’s positive run loses steam but succeeds with Rs. 1 billion plus turnover for...

Oct 21 (FT) The sustained positive run at the Colombo Stock Market lost steam yesterday with the benchmark All Share Price Index turning negative, but overall resilience was manifested with turnover crossing Rs. 1 billion mark for 30th consecutive day. ASPI shed nearly 12 points or 0.2%, but the more active S&P SL20 Index managed to gain by nearly 5 points or 0.2%. Turnover was Rs. 2.25 billion, slightly lower than Rs. 2.5 billion on Monday. To give confidence, NDB Securities flagged off more..

’96 WC winning Coach Whatmore to guide Colombo Kings

Oct 21 (CT) ’96 World Cup winning coach Dav Whatmore, former Pakistani batsman Moin Khan, former SL ’96 World Cup winning cricketer Hashan Tillakaratne, former SL batsman Thilina Kandamby and former English cricketer Jon Lewis will be the head coaches of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) franchises. Whatmore has been appointed as Colombo Kings coach, while former skipper Angelo Mathews will lead the side, more..

Foreign Ministry conducts orientation programme

Oct 21 (MFA) Policy Planning, Research and Human Resources Development Division of the Foreign Ministry, under the guidance of the Foreign Secretary successfully conducted a two-week long Orientation Programme for the newly appointed Ambassadors/High Commissioners-designate. Programme was inaugurated on 5 Oct at the Foreign Ministry in the presence of State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya and Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage. more..

New wave adds to finance and leasing companies’ stress: Fitch

Oct 21 (TM) The risk of a second coronavirus wave, together with weak borrower sentiment in an already fragile operating environment, would put further stress on SL finance and leasing companies’ (FLCs) credit profiles, adding to existing pressures on asset quality and profitability, Fitch Ratings said yesterday (20). While these risks will test FLCs’ loss-absorbing capacity, Fitch Ratings said it believes the capital and profit buffers of most Fitch-rated standalone-driven FLCs (except for Bimputh Finance more..

'Most proactive strategies executed to fight pandemic'

Oct 21 (DM) The tri-forces have been continuously engaged in a mission to combat COVID-19. At the onset of the pandemic, a Presidential Task Force for Prevention of COVID-19 was established and it is co-headed by a diverse group of professionals and experienced decision-makers. However, concerns have also been raised with regard to the exposure of Army personnel with risk groups, the capacity of ICU beds more..

Editorial: A glimmer of hope?

Oct 21 (Island) Prez Rajapaksa has reportedly undertaken to effect three significant changes to the 20th Amendment (20A) besides those the govt is required to introduce in keeping with the Supreme Court determination on 20A to obviate the need for a referendum. They pertain to urgent bills, the size of the Cabinet and the constitutional safeguards introduced by the 19th Amendment anent the state auditing mechanism, we are told. Flexibility is a virtue in democratic politics, and more..

Moving towards a more sustainable foreign debt

Oct 21 (ST) Achieving a more sustainable foreign debt profile is a national priority and economic imperative. Borrowing at high interest rates to repay debt will only worsen the country’s external financial vulnerability. International financial assistance from multilateral financial institutions and friendly countries is vital to lessen the severity of the problem, boost international confidence and prevent the escalation of interest rates for borrowing. While such immediate measures are needed more..

Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya

Covid-19: Breaking the chain of transmission

Oct 21 (TM) Sri Lankans were returning to near-normal life during the last couple of months, until the detection of a Covid-19-infected patient at the Gampaha District General Hospital (DGH) on 3 Oct. It was an incidental finding through a screening process practiced over about the last three months for influenza-like infections. This incident is a positive indicator of the effectiveness of the Sri Lankan healthcare system. To discuss the strategies for breaking the chain of transmission, more..

Socio-Economic implications of 20th A

Oct 21 (DM) The draft 20th Amendment (20A) is being opposed by the main opposition parties and some segments of civil society and professional groups. The most politically significant opposition comes from some leaders of the Sangha who played a major role in the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Prez. They want a new constitution as the SLPP promised, but not the 20th Amendment. In general, the main criticism of 20A is that it would create an authoritarian Govt run by the Executive Prez more..

COVID-19 is no respecter of persons

Oct 21 (CT) Masks below chins, packed public spaces, conveniently forgotten health guidelines is evidently one main reason why containing the Corona virus in SL appears to get tougher by the day. For as much as we the public depend on the Govt and the health sectors to effectively control the spread of COVID-19, what we fail to understand is how we ourselves could be of help to both these parties and the country more..

Why this fascination with an US election?

Oct 21 (DM) On Tuesday 3 Nov 2020, Americans will vote for their next president, with a choice between Donald Trump, the Republican incumbent, and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. National polls show Biden the Democratic candidate is leading Trump the incumbent president at the moment. And the eyes of the world are riveted on the possible outcome of the US election. A glance through - a Russian-govt-backed website - shows the site is biased, backing one more..

Muralitharan misunderstood

Oct 21 (CT) World renowned SL cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan, well-known among Sri Lankans as Murali, in a statement issued recently emphasised that he has never supported killing of innocent people and will never do so in the future either. He issued this statement in response to objections expressed by certain groups based in TN, India, and members of Tamil Diaspora, against his upcoming biopic titled 800. These groups had alleged that Muralitharan was against the Tamil people, more..

The final hours of Madush

Oct 21 (CT) Another powerful underworld figure, involved in organised crimes, Makandure Madush was killed at dawn yesterday in an attack where he was targeted by an unidentified group. This was when he, accompanied by a posse of officers from the CCD, went to the Lakshitha housing complex at Maligawatte, based on information given by him, to take into custody a stock of heroin which was hidden there. more..

20A as instrument of modernising govt

Oct 21 (CT) The ongoing investigation into the Easter bombing in 2019 which created hundreds of victims and brought the country’s economy to its knees, reveals more and more the lack of responsibility and failure on the part of the govt authorities at that time. Everyone being questioned in regard to the security failure seems to be seeking to pass the responsibility onto someone else or to say that all are responsible and so no one is. 19th Amendment which reduced the powers of more..

Jana-Handa versus Gotata-Baya

Oct 21 (CT) Jacinda Arden’s star is rising, the sun is melancholy over Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dream of an empire where he and his military will be masters of all they survey. Both scored landslide victories – actually Gota’s in Nov 2019 and the SLPP alliance’ in Aug 2020 polled a larger share than Jacinda’s 49%. There is one more similarity but otherwise the contrast between what they stand for and where they intend to take their nations could not be more stark. That similarity is that Jacinda’s govt more..

Constitutional amendment needs referendum: SC

Oct 20 (AP) Supreme Court’s ruling, announced Tuesday by the parliamentary speaker, said that proposed sections that relieve the president from being responsible to Parliament and give him immunity from lawsuits and the power to dissolve Parliament a year after parliamentary elections are against public sovereignty. The court said that a referendum would be required if the sections are not appropriately changed. more..

Death of youth in custody: Pugoda OIC on the mat

Oct 20 (CT) Steps have been taken to interdict the Officer-in-Charge of the Pugoda Police Station, with immediate effect, in connection with the sudden death of a 21-year-old youth who had been taken into custody. A top Police official said that six individuals, including a Police Sergeant and a Constable, attached to that Police Station, have been taken into custody in connection with the incident. Villagers had caught the youth, assaulted him and handed him over to the Police. more..

Sri Lanka debates expanded powers for President Rajapaksa

Oct 20 (DW) SL Parliament is deciding whether to pass a constitutional amendment that reinstates presidential powers critics say will allow the executive to centralize control of govt. SL's Parliament is gearing up for two days of heated debate starting Wednesday on the proposed constitutional amendment, called 20A, which would restore many executive powers stripped away from the president during the last legislature. Critics say it's an attempt at centralizing power more..