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Duty waiver on essential items : No immediate price reduction

Oct 18 (CT) Despite the decision taken by the Govt to remove import duties on essential food commodities with immediate effect, there is unlikely to be a price reduction at least until November, according to essential food importers. Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders’ Association (EFCITA) President G. Rajendran noted that the items imported under last week’s duty exemption would arrive only in three to four weeks. more..

Tougher new measures at factories to curb COVID spread

Oct 18 (ST) Factories with more than 500 employees must conduct compulsory PCR tests for a selected group of its employees on a daily basis, according to a gazette notification to be issued soon. Health Ministry Secretary Dr Sanjeewa Munasinghe said the move was part of stringent measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to the manner in which it spread from the garment factory in Minuwangoda. He said that under the guidelines to be gazetted, more..

CID goes east to track down Bathiudeen

Oct 18 (ST) The CID yesterday extended the search for MP Rishad Bathiudeen to the Eastern Province, after they failed to arrest him for the fourth consecutive day. CID teams visited Mr. Bathiudeen’s close associates’ houses in the Pothuvil, Ampara, Sammanthurai, Ninthavur and Kalmunai areas in search of the the ACMC leader, after the failure of attempts to trace him in Colombo, Puttalam and Mannar. Teams also visited the Ampara residence of ACMC MP S.M.M. Musharaff. more..

Railways to punish squatting employees

Oct 18 (TM) Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) has identified that its own employees have been occupying SLR Reserve land illegally for a number of years, and therefore plans to charge lease payments from them, according to SLR General Manager M.J.D. Fernando. “Most of these lands are occupied by the employees of the SLR itself. We will have to charge them lease for the years they occupied the land and more..

'Budget 2021, a thrust for development'

Oct 18 (SO) The 2021 Budget will spell out the thrust for new development initiatives that will be unleashed over the next five years to achieve higher economic growth and prosperity for the country, Money, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms, Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. He said the focus areas of the next budget will be all mega development projects including highways, the 100,000-kilometre road stretch, ports and airports and water based projects. more..

Tourism hit hard, women hit harder

Oct 18 (TM) Sharmila Rajapaksha is a mother of three who spent the last eight years as the sole breadwinner for her family, providing for them through her job as a receptionist at a prominent hotel in Ella. However, with the arrival of Covid-19 and the initial lockdown in March, the hotel closed its doors and let go of over 20 staff members, including Rajapaksha, leaving her without a source of income for almost eight months now. As it turns out, Rajapaksha is just one among more..

Dimo Southern Warriors lift Army Commander’s T20 Cup

Oct 18 (ST) Dinesh Chandimal-led DIMO Southern Warriors clinched the inaugural Army Commander’s League Twenty20 tournament beating Super Fashion Northern Warriors led by Seekkuge Prasanna by nine runs in the final played at Army Cricket ground in Dombagoda yesterday. Defending a total of 159, Chandimal marshalled his resources in the death overs using the experienced Suranga Lakmal and Wanindu Hasaranga as more..

Hiruni fails to finish World Half Marathon in Poland

Oct 18 (ST) US-based woman marathoner Hiruni Wijayaratne made a disappointing appearance at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gydnia 2020 in Poland on Saturday as she pulled out after completing the 15km mark. The 29-year-old Sri Lankan born runner clocked 17.50 minutes at the end of the first 5km mark and 37.19 at the end of the 10km mark. She had finished the 15km mark with a time of 57.28 but did not survive to complete the 21.0975km race. more..

LAUGFS Gas initiating big plans for Indian Ocean Rim

Oct 18 (ST) LAUGFS Gas PLC is moving towards building an integrated regional LPG Terminal for LPG importing, re-exporting and supply to retailers in the Indian Ocean Rim. The company will also expand its solar power plants this year, W.H.K Wegapitiya, Chairman, LAUGFS Gas PLC said. “We have a big market in front of our doorstep. We intend to exploit it.” Company is exporting gas to B'desh, India & Maldives. “We have a big market in front of our doorstep. We intend to exploit it.” more..

Joint venture firms struggle without minor machinery components

Oct 18 (ST) Several joint venture manufacturers have been forced to shutdown their production plants and suspend expansion plans due to restrictions in the import of components and essential spares needed to run the machinery. The govt has indefinitely extended import restrictions introduced for three months from May 22 amidst the COVID-19 crisis and a foreign exchange shortage, according to a new set of guidelines more..

Sri Lanka and the return of geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific

Oct 18 (ORF) The term Indopazifischer Raum (Indo-Pacific Space) coined by German geopolitical thinker Karl Haushofer in 1920, is perhaps the first academic statement on the Indo-Pacific. Haushofer observed the marine space interlinking the two-great civilisations in Asia, India and China, although separated by land by the geography of Tibet. Japan in the Indo-Pacific was identified by Haushofer, who contrived the German-Japan axis during World War II, with their similar interest to defeat Britain more..

Free Trade Zone employees told to keep working as infections rise

Oct 18 (wsws) Sri Lankan authorities extended a police curfew in Gampaha district on Thursday as coronavirus infections climbed in the area, meaning that it now encompasses the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (KFTZ). Tens of thousands of workers are employed in the KFTZ. Last week, the govt imposed a curfew and lockdown in many parts of the same district, which is adjacent to Colombo district, after hundreds of workers at the Brandix Fashion Ware factory in Minuwangoda tested positive. more..

LPL logo launched, all set for player draft

Oct 18 (ST) With the players draft set to take place tomorrow, the Lanka Premier League (LPL) unveiled its official logo yesterday, as official rights holder IPG (Innovative Production Group) is confident of creating a global platform through TV and social media viewership. Anil Mohan, CEO of IPG, confirmed that all five franchises have been already sold and unlike SL Premier League (SLPL), which failed to sustain after a season in 2012, more..

Travel agencies face further shutdowns

Oct 18 (ST) At least half of Sri Lanka’s registered smaller travel agencies have shutdown operations in the aftermath of the outbreak of the coronavirus that has sent tourists packing and locked out visitors. In 2018 there were over 2000 smaller registered travel agencies operating in the country but this year this has reduced to less than 1000, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) President Tilak Weerasinghe told the Business Times. more..

Disproportionate impact of Covid on Sri Lanka’s women

Oct 18 (TM) For months, SL has been celebrated as a nation that succeeded in containing the spread of Covid-19, with authorities repeatedly assuring the public that there was no community spread in the country. However, in early October (4), this illusion was shattered, when a female employee of an apparel factory in Minuwangoda tested positive for Covid-19. Just over a week later, over 1,300 workers and their close contacts had tested positive, increasing the total number of cases in SL more..

India’s elite black cat commandos train PM’s security personnel

Oct 18 (TM) India’s elite federal counter-terrorist force, the National Security Guard (NSG) has trained a select group of personnel attached to the PM’s Security Division (PMSD), the Commando Force Chief S.S. Deswal said on Friday. He said the force has acquired the most modern weapons and equipment to distinguish itself as a world class zero-error force and trained 21 personnel of SL’s PMSD in close protection skills. more..

Kings who won their crowns

Oct 18 (SO) Over the past 42 years, all top Sri Lanka cricketers have commended the exemplary role played by the Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year. They lavishly praised the role played by Sri Lanka’s flagship English newspaper the Sunday Observer in rewarding tomorrow’s cricketing stars. Here are some of the instances they have commended the Mother of All Shows, sponsored by SLT Mobitel. ICC Chief Match Referee and former SL captain Ranjan Madugalle: more..

First things first

Oct 18 (Island) In the last paragraph of his usually trenchant and insightful presentation on this page today, our regular columnist Rajan Philips socks home a message about what the people of this country want from their leaders at this point in history. He forcefully makes the point that non-delivery of 20A, or even a new constitution, with which the govt is now overly obsessed, will not be held against either the president or his govt saying: “What the people will not forget, or more..

Manhunt on for Bathiudeen

Oct 18 (CT) 3 Venerable Theras - Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera and Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera who were in the forefront to bring back Rajapaksas to power, on Friday, submitted a strongly worded letter addressed to Prez Rajapaksa urging him to reconsider the decision to ratify the proposed 20th Amendment Bill, introducing necessary amendments before passing it. more..

Unfazed CR&FC willing to face reality

Oct 18 (ST) CR&FC unfazed by the player exodus during the coming season mostly to CH&FC, including last year’s captain Omalka Gunaratne, are confident of attracting a young group of players as they set their sights on marking their centenary in 2022. “It is no different to any other season where players move around. That’s not unusual. We don’t see it as anything exceptional. It is unfortunate that players jump from season to season. If that is the reality then we would have to respond and more..

Sustainability begins with conserving our ancient village water resources

Oct 18 (NIA) One of the problems of modernity could be that we have approached the concept of development totally forgetting or denouncing and being apathetic to our ancient wisdom, indigenous culture and traditional knowledge. We thereby have a kind of life that we have built for ourselves that gathers vast information separated from a holistic core as our ancestors had. We have discarded the salient truth that governed all pre-colonial philosophy and policy rooted in the awareness that more..


Bargaining votes

Oct 18 (ST) My dear Vasu, Wije and Vidura, I thought of writing to the three of you because I heard that the three of you, perhaps for different reasons, have opposed various aspects of the proposed 20th Amendment. Now, I don’t know whether you will really oppose it when it comes to voting time, but even your opposition now is encouraging. You may be wondering whether the 20th Amendment is the most important issue to discuss now when the country is being more..

Lanka placed on geopolitical air bubble

Oct 18 (ST) Even though it seems that the COVID-19 virus is no respecter of persons, trust the world’s VVIPs to devise a novel mechanism by creating an air bubble concept to permit the high and mighty to bypass the rigours of quarantine rules enforced for the hoi-polloi. The United Nations cancelled world leaders coming to New York last month, but last week, a high-level Chinese delegation whizzed through Colombo. Their embassy said the visitors wore masks, but photographs taken of them more..

When a President fiddled while country burnt

Oct 18 (CT) It will by no means be an exaggeration to state that the Sri Lanka Police is the foremost body for maintaining law and order in the country. It is, therefore, imperative that the IGP, who is the head of the Police Department, should be made a party responsible for safeguarding National Security. As we all know, the National Security Council (NSC) is the leading body in the country that takes decisions with regard to strengthening more..

Two-day debate on 20A

Oct 18 (SO) Party Leaders’ meeting on Friday has decided to debate the 20th Amendment in Parliament on Oct 21 and 22. Heated arguments had arisen between Govt and Opposition lawmakers regarding the 20A debate at the Party Leaders’ meeting chaired by the Speaker at his Parliament office on Friday. Finally, it had been decided to hold a two-day debate on 20A in Parliament on Oct 21 and 22 from 10.00am to 7.30pm. However, the Opposition’s request for a 3-day debate more..

20A troubles: New revolt in the temple & new catholic action

Oct 18 (CT) No one knows who the mice are and who the men are in the current govt. But everyone knows that the best laid plans of both – for the 20th Amendment, are going astray. The amendment may still get passed, but the process which began with a bang is teetering to a whimper. The passage may well be a pathetic and pyrrhic victory. The Administration will have to show how the restored presidential powers (not that they needed any restoration) are going to dramatically change more..

'Govt in all out battle to control spread of Covid-19'

Oct 18 (SO) State Minister Dilum Amunugama said Govt has taken all possible steps to control the Covid-19 situation and Health authorities are trying their utmost to trace the last contract of every patient. He said the Govt hopes it will be able to get the pandemic under control soon. Even if it is brought under control, perhaps there will be another cluster growing up in another place and it will be the same situation. more..

Finance capital after Covid-19

Oct 18 (CT) Hyman Minsky (1919-1996) is celebrated for his thesis that economic recessions seemed to be triggered by shocks to the financial system. Downturns in the last 70 years were prompted by stock-market crashes, financial defaults and in 2008–09 a shock in the banking system. Though the underlying cause may lie in declines in the rate of profit, disruptions in production, surplus value extraction bottlenecks or supply-demand dislocations, actual breakdown first manifests more..

Let’s defeat this contagion

Oct 18 (SO) The society and social media are abuzz with speculation that Sri Lanka is on the cusp of a so-called Second Wave of the Coronavirus as seen in many of our neighbouring countries. This was after the detection of a cluster at a Brandix garment factory in Minuwangoda. While the exact origin of this cluster is still unclear, the Police and intelligence agencies now have the unenviable task of contact tracing, which is not easy given the travel patterns of some of the infected persons. more..

Sri Lanka approves Rs178bn central bank re-financed bank credit, breaking limit

Oct 17 (EN) SL has approved 178 billion rupees of credit through commercial lenders mostly through re-financed by the central bank (newly created reserve money or excess liquidity), exceeding an original self-imposed limit of 150 billion rupees. The central bank said 177.54 billion rupees (about 960 million dollars at current spot exchange rates), had been approved and banks had already disbursed 133.19 bil rupees more..

Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 tally jumps to 5,475

Oct 17 (NR) The number of coronavirus cases detected in the country has increased to 5,475 following the detection of 121 cases today. 115 new cases are linked to the Minuwangoda cluster while six arrivals also tested positive for COVID-19. Accordingly, Minuwangoda COVID-19 cluster has surpassed 2,000 cases and now stands at 2,014. Ministry of Health said, 2,067 patients including 14 foreign nationals are currently receiving medical treatment for coronavirus at 17 hospitals more..

Tea prices supported by China buying, India production fall

Oct 17 (EN) Sri Lanka tea prices showed a marginal appreciation amid a dip in Indian production due to the Coronavirus pandemic, along with Chinese and some winter buying from Russia, brokers said. Indian tea production is expected to come down by 20 percent as the country may be in lockdown for a while, traders said, which is what gave way to the high prices we experience at the moment. Chinese buyers are fairly strong at the moment, which helps keeping the market buoyed, traders said. more..

Writer of Muralitharan biopic: There are shades of grey in 800

Oct 17 (Hindu) The writers of 800 wanted to tell the story of a cricketing legend, but were keen not to make it a one-dimensional tale of a flawless superhero. They sought to bring in nuance, the shades of grey in Mr. Muralitharan’s career and life, according to Shehan Karunatilaka, an acclaimed SL novelist who co-wrote the story with director M.S. Sripathy. Murali, SL commentators have often observed, has been more..

Dinesh calls for innovative thinking

Oct 17 (MFA) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena leading the SL delegation to the 20th Virtual Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) in the sidelines of the 75 UN General Assembly last evening (14), called for innovative thinking, collective and integrated strategies to address the multi-dimensional and cross cutting challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighting that e-commerce and e-governance would define the competitive edge of more..

Country returning to 2010-2015 era: SJB

Oct 17 (CT) Our country is being dragged back to the 2010-2015 era, under the then President and now incumbent PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, when we were isolated from the world, claimed SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna. “We were isolated from the world. European Union (EU) stopped providing the GSP+ reliefs. We now see the country is once again in the same situation,” alleged Rajakaruna. “Recently, a Chinese delegation visited our country without even following any quarantine rule. more..