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Handing over appointment letters under 100,000 jobs programme begins

Oct 20 (PMD) Handing over letters of appointment to the trainees selected from families of the lowest income category in the society under the programme to recruit 100,000 individuals for employment commenced today (19). 34,818 have been selected under the first phase. Appointees will receive a 06-moth formal training in 25 identified areas according to their skills and preferences. more..

Sprinting with giants yet feeling dwarfish

Oct 20 (Island) Sprinter Shehan Ambepitiya had the privilege of being trained by probably the best sprint coach in Sri Lanka. He had bagged several coveted international medals by the time he turned 20. By 2010 he was just three milliseconds behind the Olympic qualifying mark for 100 metres (judging by the 2008 qualifying standards) when the highly excited National Olympic Committee provided him with an IOC scholarship to be trained by Glean Mills alongside world record holder Usain Bolt. more..

Unemployment down to 5.4% in Q2

Oct 20 (CT) SL’s unemployment rated contracted to 5.4% during the second quarter (Q2) of this year from 5.7% recorded during the first quarter of this year, though the rate was higher than 4.9% recorded during the same period of last year. During the second quarter of this year the total numbers of unemployed individuals were 458,359. The total number of economically active population during the quarter under review stood at 8.43 million, of which 4.62 million were working as employees, more..

National Movement for Social Justice urges Prez, PM to put 20A on hold

Oct 20 (FT) National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) and Joint Opposition leaders signed an electronic petition addressed to Prez, PM, party leaders and MPs, urging them not to proceed with the proposed 20th Amendment. The petition also called on them to adopt a new Constitution that reflects the aspirations of all Sri Lankans, after broad public consultations, as outlined in the prez election manifesto. more..

Govt agreeable to allow FR cases against the Prez: Prof Peiris

Oct 20 (EN) Minister Prof G.L. Peiris says that the govt is ready to bring in a clause to the 20th amendment at the committee stage permitting citizens to go to courts against the President for fundamental rights violations, retaining what was already in 19th amendment. Peiris, who is the chair of the ruling SLPP, said even though they will bring this change to the 20th amendment at the committee stage they are confident that Prez Rajapaksa will not do anything illegal during his term. more..

LOLC expands international footprint with entry into Zambia

Oct 20 (FT) The LOLC Group has commenced its operations in Zambia recently with the official launch of its inaugural branch located in Lusaka. The company, which will operate as LOLC Finance Zambia Ltd., is a deposit-taking non-banking financial institution and will provide finance products such as home loans, motor vehicle finance, business loans, and consumer loans, among other products, thus helping to narrow the access to financial services gap in Zambia. more..

Divulapitiya cluster grows with 127 new COVID cases

Oct 20 (FT) The Divulapitiya COVID-19 cluster expanded to 2,183, with the identification of 127 persons who tested positive for the virus yesterday. 42 of yesterday’s cases were employees of the garment manufacturing facility in Minuwangoda who were at quarantine centres at the time of testing positive. The remaining 85 cases are other contacts. This brings the total number of confirmed cases identified in SL to 5,665, more..

To lock down or not?

Oct 20 (TM) With the new cluster of Covid-19 patients coming to light and positive cases being identified all over the island, everyone is living with fear and uncertainty. In this new normal, Sunday Morning spoke to a cross-section of the general public to inquire if they think whether a lockdown should be imposed and how a lockdown would in turn affect our economy. M.F.M Fiham – undergrad at Uni of Peradeniya: The only way to contain the virus is with a lockdown, more..

Chess: SL men’s team off to flying start

Oct 20 (ST) The opening weekend of the Asians Nations Online Cup 2020, organised by the Asian Chess Federation, concluded on Oct 10 (men’s) and 11 (women’s) via the online platform. The preliminary stage of the tournament was held in a 9-round Swiss system with a 15min+5sec time control from which eight teams from each section will qualify to the quarter-final. The men’s team got off to a flying start at the event from 26th position out of a total of 38 teams, but more..

Unsung World Cup hero Upul Chandana lays emphasis on fielding

Oct 20 (ST) World Cup winning all-rounder Upul Chandana, one of the finest fielders Sri Lanka ever produced, underscored the importance of sharpening the skills of national cricketers on the field to lift the fortunes of the team at international level firmly believing in the adage catches win matches. “I believe fielding is the most important aspect in cricket,” said Chandana who was appointed as the fielding coach of more..

Women-led SMEs more likely to borrow informally than from banks

Oct 20 (TM) Women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in SL were least likely to have taken a loan from a financial institution and are far more likely to have borrowed from family and friends to meet financial obligations during Covid-19, according to a new report. The report, titled Gendered Impacts of Covid-19 on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, was compiled by Women in Work, a partnership between IFC and the Australian Govt. more..

Investor focus shifts to plantations as CSE manages to close positive

Oct 20 (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 the most more..

Road map needed for targeted COVID-19 recovery: IPS

Oct 20 (IPS) The SL economy is likely to face a contraction in 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic but there is potential for this to be followed by a sharp V-shaped economic recovery. The means of navigating such a recovery path were discussed at a webinar panel discussion held last Thursday (15) to mark the release of the Institute of Policy Studies of SL’s (IPS) flagship report Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2020. more..

Dadella Stadium to be elevated as a top sports venue: Sports Minister

Oct 20 (DN) The Dadella Sports Complex in Galle, would be soon upgraded to an international beach volleyball and beach football centre, under the directions of Minister Namal Rajapaksa. In fact, the Minister has already decided to hand over the Dadella Sports Complex to the Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation (SLVF). The Minister also headed a strong delegation to inspect the refurbishment work being carried out at the Dadella Sports Complex in Galle on Saturday (17). more..

A review: Arumuga Navalar and heritage history deconstructed

Oct 20 (GV) Professor Ratnajeevan H. Hoole’s book on Jaffna Heritage Histories is a fascinating critique of several strands of invented recent histories of Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Tamil society. The central narrative of invented history which he subjects to extensive critical scrutiny is the claim that Arumuga Navalar translated the Bible into Tamil. Arumuga Navalar is to Sri Lanka’s Tamil Hindus what Anagararika Dharmapala is to SL’s Buddhists. Both were pioneers in the cultural nationalist resurgence more..

Inside story of how Rishad was arrested

Oct 20 (CT) It was early yesterday morning that MP Rishad Bathiudeen, who had been in hiding for six days, throwing sand in the eyes of the Police, was taken into custody by the CID at Dehiwala. Until then no one knew where he had been during those six days and whom he had associated with and where he was hiding. The reason for this Cops and Robbers game, by Rishad, was his misusing State funds, spending Rs 9.5 mil more..

The continuing October Revolutions in SL

Oct 20 (GV) October Revolution is a term that used to gladden the hearts of Communist stalwarts the world over, our own left parties included. It was the occasion, more than a century ago, when of the Russian monarchy and the Romanov dynasty that had ruled Russia for over three hundred years was violently overthrown and succeeded by the Communist Soviet Union, which itself came to an end in more recent times with the finish of the Cold War. However, Sri Lanka has also, more..

20A amidst COVID-19 What a set of (mis) priorities?

Oct 20 (DM) It takes an extra dose of cavalierness to bulldoze through Parliament a Constitutional Amd intended for personal aggrandizement while the rest of the country is perilously close to a second wave of the novel coronavirus, better known as COVID-19. More so, when earlier assessments of the reach of the virus appear to be questionable and political rooting of success seem to be premature. Doctors warn of running out of hospital beds, even before any potential mass spread make its dent. more..

Face the Nation

Editorial: What an arrest!

Oct 20 (Island) The police finally arrested SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen, wanted for allegedly misusing public funds. He was remanded. Having incurred much public opprobrium owing to the release of his young brother, Riyaj, who had been arrested, detained and interrogated on his alleged links to the Easter Sunday bombers, govt by allowing Bathiudeen to be arrested only made a virtue of necessity. It had police refrain from making several arrests previously in defiance of AG’s orders. more..

Leave petty party politics, vote sensibly

Oct 20 (DM) The highly controversial 20th Amendment Bill is to be presented to Parliament tomorrow for the second reading and be debated tomorrow and the day after. The main purpose of the Amendment is to confer the President with the powers to control the entire State machinery unhindered. He would be the sole authority, if the Amendment is passed by two thirds majority to appoint persons to all important posts in the public service including the members of more..

Spotlight on the Bathiudeen brothers

Oct 20 (TM) The hunt for MP Rishad Bathiudeen was on last week with authorities combing the city to carry out his arrest in accordance with the Attorney General’s (AG) instructions, while investigations into his brother Riyaj Bathiudeen were still underway from various quarters. On 29 Sept, Riyaj Bathiudeen was released from police custody after being arrested six months prior for his alleged involvement in 2019 Easter Sunday attacks. more..

Some thoughts on Covid-19

Oct 20 (CT) So much has been written on this subject that it is near impossible to add anything that has not already been said. But just to relieve boredom of compulsory confinement by curfew, face masks and guys looking like visitors from other planets, the severity of the prospects are no joke and genuinely forbidding. The health, economic chaos and suspension of freedoms are inconvenient. The new Norm? A little introspection is permissible. more..

Health of the Economy

Oct 20 (CT) COVID-19, like all other infectious diseases, fatal or otherwise, has come to stay. This is the reality. Until a vaccine is found, life has to go on. If COVID-19 can be likened to a terrorist, then the closest parallel is SL’s 26- year terrorist war which began on the night of 23 July 1983 when the LTTE’s successfully ambushed and killed 13 soldiers in Jaffna and which war finally ended only after troops killed LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran at Mullaitivu 26 years later on 18 May 2009. more..

‘There’re 4 key accountability gaps in 20A’

Oct 20 (DM) Asoka Obeyesekere, Executive Director at Transparency International SL, airs out his views on the 20th Amendment. Q: What is your general view on the draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution? A: Whilst there are many observations that can be made on the 20th Amendment, there are four key accountability gaps. These relate to: 1) Right to Information (RTI), 2) Investigations into corruption, 3) Oversight of public finance and more..

Will 20A even with the AG’s amendments, affect a referendum for a new constitution?

Oct 20 (CT) Even with Covid-19 spreading in unexpected ways and in too many places, it wasn’t enough to overwhelm the curiosity, anxiety and interest in the Prez’s draft of the 20th amendment, as the country awaits with interest a new Constitution which a Minister promised will be presented in six months. With numerous petitions, discussions, webinars, and the SC determination, the curiosity of an ordinary citizen has turned into confusion. But these are matters for lawyers more..

Recent events demonstrate need to build on 19A to protect public servants

Oct 20 (ST) One of the most conspicuous features of the deterioration of the political culture in the country is the increasing lack of trust in the institutions of governance. The entry of the word deal into the political vocabulary reflects in more ways than one the cynicism with which the public views the actions of politicians, public officials and the police. The events of the past two weeks highlight the manner in which the ordinary public as well as more discerning observers perceive more..

Indian star pulls out of Sri Lanka cricket legend biopic after outcry

Oct 19 (AFP) A popular actor who was set to star as SL's legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in a biopic withdrew from the project on Monday after the cricketer warned he could face a backlash from India's Tamil minority. Tamil politicians in India accuse Muralitharan, who retired from Test cricket in 2010, of betraying fellow Tamils in his country during a civil war that ended in 2009. Vijay Sethupathi, 42, had been under pressure more..

Minuwangoda COVID-19 cluster expands by 40 more cases

Oct 19 (AD) Forty more cases of COVID-19 infections have been reported from the Minuwangoda cluster. Nineteen among the new cases have been detected from the quarantine centers operated by the SL Army. The remaining 21 patients are identified as close contacts of the Minuwangoda cluster cases, according to the Army Chief. A total of 87 new coronavirus cases have been reported from the Minuwangoda COVID-19 within the day so far. more..

Unspecified number of MAS employees test positive for COVID-19

Oct 19 (EN) An unspecified number of employees of MAS Holdings, SL’s largest apparel manufacturer, have tested positive for COVID-19, the company said in an official statement today. Despite safety measures taken to contain COVID-19 infections, the company said, a few of its employees who live in highly contagious areas have tested positive for the virus. Stringent measures have been put in place to prevent further spread, it added. MAS Holdings had closed its facilities in the police curfew areas more..

Hospital categories should be identified: GMOA

Oct 19 (CT) Hospital categories should be identified to cater to the expanding Brandix COVID-19 Cluster, Secretary of GMOA, Dr. Senal Fernando said. The situation has affected several hospital staff and units, with hospital staff also being jeopardised by the spread of the virus. He said patients who are still asymptomatic and show mild symptoms of COVID-19 should be treated at Divisional Hospitals, while more..

TNA’s Sumanthiran campaigning to oppose 20th Amendment

Oct 19 (CT) TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran stated they have taken steps to mobilise support of the public to oppose the 20th Amendment. Sumanthiran said they are campaigning against the new Constitution and were conducting workshops in the Batticaloa district to make the general public aware. "We have held discussions with the people's representatives in the Ampara District in connection with the new amendment to the Constitution and the necessity of invalidating it," Sumanthiran said. more..

Rs 400M allocated to provide Rs 5,000 to the affected

Oct 19 (CT) The Govt has allocated Rs 400 million to provide an allowance of Rs 5,000 to the people in the Gampaha District, who have lost their livelihood due to the imposition of curfew following the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said, the allocation was made by the Ministry of Finance with the special intervention of Prez Rajapaksa, PM Rajapaksa and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Basil Rajapaksa. more..

Ranil admits FCID not legal

Oct 19 (CT) Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, giving evidence before the PCoI into Political Victimisation, said he accepts that according to the Police Ordinance, the gazette notification establishing the Police FCID was not legal. He mentioned this in response to a question raised on 16 Friday, by the Counsel for the plaintiff, the former Additional Director General of the Divineguma Department as well as more..

COVID-19 recoveries rise to 3,440

Oct 19 (NR) 37 coronavirus infected persons in the country have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals. The number of recoveries in SL has risen to 3,440. Ministry of Health said 17 COVID-19 patients were released from the Welikanda Base Hospital while 14 persons were discharged from the IDH during the past 24-hours. Accordingly, 2,132 persons including 16 foreign nationals are currently receiving medical treatment for the coronavirus at 20 hospitals across the country. more..

Filing a case against me was an act of revenge: Gammanpila

Oct 19 (CT) Former Minister Champika Ranawaka, former IGPs N.K. Illangakoon and Pujith Jayasundara and several others were noticed to appear before the PCoI appointed to probe political victimisation of public officials during the tenure of the Yahapalana Govt. They are to appear before the PCoI on 20 Oct based on a complaint lodged by Minister Udaya Gammanpila, that his arrest during the Yahapalana Govt, over the alleged use of a false Power of Attorney for the sale of shares more..