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ICE worth over Rs 1B seized

Apr 13 (CT) The Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) seized 113 kilograms of a synthetic drug called Crystal Methamphetamine, aka ICE, while conducting two special anti-narcotic operations. As a result of investigations conducted on a stock of ICE seized in Ja-Ela a few days ago, the PNB officials were able to seize another stock of 100kg of ICE in Sapugaskanda. The Police seized 13 kilograms of ICE on 11 April and arrested six suspects more..

India and SL to increase security cooperation

Apr 13 (CT) Despite political hiccups, professionals in charge of security in India and SL have underlined the imperative need for close cooperation and sharing of intelligence information to curb common threats of terrorism, religious fundamentalism, and drug and human smuggling. It is a fact that intelligence agents of powerful countries often infiltrate underground movements to keep a close tab on their operations and strategies. However, they always share intelligence information more..

Bakers, confectioners request palm oil import license

Apr 13 (TM) Following the ban imposed on the importation of palm oil, bakery owners and confectionery manufacturers jointly submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance yesterday to provide the industries with a license to import the necessary stocks of palm oil for production. Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association (LCMA) Chairman S.M.D. Suriyakumara said that a joint proposal was submitted along with the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) and more..

Sri Lanka to import dehydrated coconut chips to manufacture coconut oil

Apr 13 (DM) Sri Lanka will import 39,000 tonnes of dehydrated coconut chips to manufacture coconut oil to meet the local demand for edible oil without any shortage to be triggered otherwise by the ban imposed on palm oil, an official said. The Trade Ministry will sign a forward sales agreement with the All Ceylon Traditional Coconut Oil Producers' Association to obtain coconut oil at Rs. 450 a bottle. more..

China’s Defense Minister to arrive in Sri Lanka after New Year

Apr 13 (DM) China's Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe will arrive in Sri Lanka later this month to hold bilateral discussions with Govt leaders and officials, making it one of the highest level visits undertaken by a Chinese govt official since the Rajapaksa govt was sworn into power. According to sources at the Foreign Ministry, the final dates of General Wei's arrival are yet to be received but the visit is confirmed to take place after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. more..

Finance Ministry to report on microfinance reforms in month

Apr 13 (TM) Ministry of Finance is to report to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Gender Equality in a month regarding reforms that are to be introduced by the Ministry as solutions to the microfinance issue faced by women. Committee Member and NPP MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said that when the Committee had their first meeting last week, Finance Ministry officials had informed that they are currently in the process of bringing about certain reforms in response to microfinance more..

Proposed law will turn Port City into a province of China: JVP

Apr 13 (Island) JVP warned that Colombo Port City area was going to be another province of China if Parliament passed the proposed legislation for a Colombo Port City Commission, providing for sweeping tax breaks, tax-free salaries and to be an offshore financial centre. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the draft bill, titled Colombo Port City Commission Bill, presented to Parliament by the govt sought to exempt more..

GL lauds Bangladesh decision to stand by Lanka in Geneva

Apr 13 (Island) Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris last week thanked Bangladesh for having stood by Sri Lanka at the 46th sessions of UNHRC, Geneva. Prof. Peiris, who is also the Chairman of the ruling SLPP, said that Bangladesh’s stand at the UNHRC underscored excellent bilateral relations between the countries. The one-time External Affairs Minister said so at an event jointly organized by the Education Ministry and the Bangladesh High Commission to commemorate int'l Mother Language Day more..

Bangladesh team arrives in Sri Lanka for two-match Test series

Apr 13 (ANI) The Bangladesh cricket team arrived here on Monday for the two-match Test series against Sri Lanka scheduled to begin next week. Bangladesh is slated to play two Tests against Sri Lanka starting from April 21 and ahead of the first game, the two teams will lock horns in a two-day practice match later this week. "Bangladesh team arrives in Sri Lanka for two-match Test series," Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) tweeted while sharing the pictures from arrival. more..

Govt tours Middle East to remedy debt distress

Apr 13 (TM) As a part of its measures to find multiple sources of funding to strengthen the country’s foreign reserves in the face of the upcoming external debt payments that need to be made, SL’s high-level officials including State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal had late last week engaged in a discussion with Oman’s top officials. Sultanate of Oman Deputy Prime Minister for Int'l Relations and Co-operation Affairs more..

Regulation to stipulate permissible level to 10 micrograms per kilo

Apr 13 (DM) Govt is working on issuing fresh regulations to stipulating the permissible level of Aflatoxin as ten micrograms for one kilo of food item, a Minister said. There is controversy over the permissible limit of Aflatoxin in food items. According to European standards, it is ten micrograms whereas it is as high as 30 in SL. State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said that fresh regulations would be issued by the Health Ministry to bring it down to ten micrograms per kilo in SL. more..

Purchasing goods online: Police urges people to be vigilant

Apr 13 (DM) SL Police urged the public to be cautious when purchasing goods online from individuals, especially through advertisements placed on the Internet. Police said it had been found that some individuals were selling stolen valuable goods such as mobile phones, jewellery, perfumes, appliances & computers by placing advertisements on Facebook and on the Internet at very low prices. After purchasing online, the goods are delivered in public places such as the highway. more..

Port City economic commission bill: Precautions needed to avoid unintended...

Apr 13 (TM) SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva stated that certain precautions have to be taken in order to prevent certain unintended consequences of the Port City Economic Commission Bill that was presented to Parliament last Thursday. He said: “We have to take precautions to ensure that we will provide the right type of environment, particularly with the regulatory framework in order to attract good, credible investors.” more..

Sri Lanka seeks to extend payment terms for oil imports

Apr 13 (EN) Sri Lanka is in talks with oil supplying countries to extend payments terms for up to one year, Treasury Secretary S R Attygalle said. “This is nothing new,” he said. “Already the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has credit from suppliers for 180-days and 270-days. “Now we want to extend them for up to one year.” A delegation made up of Treasury and CB officials are now in the Middle East. State Minister Nivard Cabraal met senior govt officials at Oman over the weekend. more..

Chess: Dahamdi, Esha win round robin stage

Apr 13 (Island) Sanudula Dahamdi of Musaeus College and Esha Pallie of Visakha Vidyalaya were the winners of Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ respectively at the end of the Round Robin stage of the Sri Lanka Youth Girls’ (U-14) Chess Grand Prix 2021. Dahamdi was outstanding right throughout as she remained unbeaten to score nine points in nine games. Pallie won Group ‘Y’ with a score of 7 ½ points. Dahamdi beat L.H.M.G.S. Somarathne, Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake and Sasmi Sithumsa more..

Grim new year for debt-trapped rural women

Apr 13 (Hindu) Champa Irangani is in no mood to celebrate Avurudu, or New Year, the biggest annual festival that SL’s majority Sinhalese community observes mid-April, while Tamils celebrate the Tamil New Year around the same time. “The New Year will dawn only the day our debts are cancelled. Until then we cannot celebrate. Surely not, when so many women have died by suicide under the pressure of microfinance loans,” more..

Horse racing returns

Apr 13 (CI) Creating history in SL horse racing, EFL, a leading conglomerate with interests in Logistics, Leisure and Investments and a member of Expolanka Holdings PLC, will partner with Royal Turf Club (RTC) to hold the prestigious Governor’s Cup, the country’s oldest horse racing event. Synonymous with speed, precision and exclusivity, the partnership made by EFL with RTC will promise a grand race day on April 15 as many entertainment events have been lined up in addition to more..

'We haven't been batting up to expectations'

Apr 13 (CI) Bangladesh are expecting a competitive series when they travel to SL for a two-match Test series, and the captain Mominul Haque is hoping the team rises up to the challenge to get out of their current rut. Bangladesh will be off to Colombo on Monday to play their last matches in the World Test Championship, where they find themselves in the bottom of the points table. They will play both Tests in Pallekele, before which they have a 2-day practice match in Katunayake from Apr 16. more..

Player Manager influence continues to jeopardise SL cricket?

Apr 13 (TM) There is a latest unhealthy trend that is taking place in Sri Lanka’s cricket at the moment, we learnt. Some high positions of the special administrative committee that is currently looking into country’s cricket are understood to be socialising closely with some former senior players. And those former players are using such associations to get THEIR work done, it is learnt. more..

Was bail granted to Jaffna Mayor by the govt or by courts?

Apr 13 (CT) Before Jaffna Mayor Viswalingam Manivannan was granted bail on Friday night by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court, Hon’ Minister Douglas Devananda had issued a statement to the media that the Prez was going to pardon Manivannan. The Hon’ Minister had stated (i) that Manivannan would be released on bail (ii) that he would not be charged under the PTA (iii) that he would be charged under the normal law. This statement of the Hon’ Minister raises the question whether Courts and more..

Deradicalization: Gotabaya’s solution to Muslim problem?

Apr 13 (CT) The Fuhrer of Nazi Germany found the Jews a problem, and he provided a final solution through Gas Chambers, which produced the historic Holocaust and the state of Israel. Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa (NGR) is not a Fuhrer and Sri Lanka is not Nazi Germany, but in 2018, even before NGR became President, one of his top priestly acolytes was prepared to ennoble him as a local Hitler, and in that sense, the 20th Amendment cleared the way for NGR ’s elevation. more..

Royal ceylon ගුවන් හමුදාවේ 5 වැනි සාමාජිකයා

In defence of Bathiudeen

Apr 13 (TM) Living in turbulent times, the position and calibre of a politician such as MP Rishad Bathiudeen has been called into question. His high stature and popularity among the Muslim population has had him branded as a communal politician. However, his speech in Parliament on 7 April 2021 during the debate on the Easter Sunday terror attacks portrayed him in a different light. His speech had a single theme throughout. It is that the Muslims were on the side of the nation, and that more..

Avurudu, COVID, Economy

Apr 13 (CT) Tomorrow SL celebrates another Avurudu (Sinhala and Tamil News Year), this time, however, bereft of lockdowns, shutdowns, curfews and restricted movements which were a feature in the last. Those precautionary measures were taken last year to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but at a tremendous cost to the economy. The economy, due to border controls, curfews and lockdowns contracted by 1.6% in the first quarter (1Q) 2020, its first contraction since 4Q 2001, more..

Is Sri Lanka ready for the new age of global supply chains?

Apr 13 (Roar) A year on since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our world, there are signs that the change in the way we think about global supply chains is going to be permanent. Take for instance air conditioning giant Daikin Industries’ decision to more aggressively operate on the principle of local production for local consumption. Since air conditioners are seasonal products that need swift delivery to markets, more..

Growth and decline of Muslims in maritime trade

Apr 13 (DM) Muslims of Ceylon and peninsular India, who are ethnologically similar, were in the vanguard of maritime trade in South and South East Asia from the 3rd century BC till the emergence of the Portuguese and other European powers in the 16th Century. These Tamil-speaking Muslims of part Arab ancestry were trading peacefully in the region for centuries. But they were eventually outmaneuvered by European traders who were ruthless, armed, and technologically better more..

Strong domestic agricultural policy needed to eliminate waste

Apr 13 (DM) Based on an audit conducted by the National Audit Office in 2015, the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has pointed out last week that about 270,000 metric tons of vegetables and fruits are being wasted annually, according to the news item published by the Parliament’s media division. The COPA also states that the Sri Lankan economy incurred a loss of around Rs.20 billion annually due to this wastage. These details had been brought to light during a discussion on more..

Sri Lanka’s debt sustainability: Steering the economy through choppy waters

Apr 13 (TM) The World Bank recently released a report based on the economic rebound in South Asia, following the historic negative low the region faced in 2020, after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report, which was titled South Asia Economic Focus: South Asia Vaccinates, released on 31 March, deemed SL’s debt sustainability at risk due to the country’s depleted fiscal buffers, high indebtedness & constricted market access. more..

Picking and choosing

Apr 13 (TM) What would you make of a person or an entity that refuses to learn from the past to safeguard the future? Are they foolish or are they careless? Or could they be a combination of both? Easter Sunday was a bitter result of a spate of well-orchestrated actions, and there is more to it than the two well-known aspects, i.e. lethargy of authorities and rulers, and religious extremism that had gone unnoticed despite many signs. However, unfortunately, the authorities and rulers more..

How confidence has been eroded

Apr 13 (Island) On the threshold of the vote in Geneva, with disaster looming, I began to wonder at how Gotabaya Rajapaksa managed so soon to lose the confidence of the country when there was so much hope when he was elected. The Sugar Fiasco, if not quite in the league of the Bond Scam, suggests that corruption is beyond control. After the satisfactory control, initially, of the coronavirus danger, it burst forth through what seems confused reactions, including preposterous flood of more..

Toxic coconut oil scare trigger public wave of fear over aflatoxins in foodstuffs

Apr 12 (Island) In the backdrop of a top official of Sri Lanka’s key standards body coming under heavy flak over her controversial claim that several other consumer commodities also contain toxic substances, public apprehension has shifted to many other products in the market following a wave of fear triggered over cancer-causing free radicals in foodstuffs, industry players said. Trade Ministry has already initiated a disciplinary inquiry into more..

Gazette issued establishing Hambantota Managed Elephant Reserve

Apr 12 (AD) A Gazette Extraordinary has been issued establishing a Hambantota Managed Elephant Reserve under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. The gazette has been issued under Subsection (2) of Section 2 of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (Chapter 469). State Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake has signed the relevant gazette. The gazette declares the area of land – excluding the area of land comprising 866 Hectares of the MRIA in Mattala more..

Easter Sunday Attacks probe: PCoI Cost Taxpayers Rs 650M

Apr 12 (CT) Approximately Rs 650 million has been spent on the PCoI into the 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday bombings. However, sources said the total cost could be even higher as expenditures of the final phase of the PCoI have not been calculated yet. The final report of the PCoI, which runs into approximately 100,000 pages, cost around Rs 10 million to print and the report was handed over to Prez on 1 Feb. Report contained nearly 40,000 pages of statements made by witnesses. more..

WB urges SL to focus on competitiveness, debt sustainability for resilient rebound

Apr 12 (FT) Despite the heavy toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on SL’s economy and the lives of its people, the economy will recover in 2021, though challenges remain, says the latest World Bank SL Development Update: Economic and Poverty Impact of COVID-19 released on Saturday. SL Development Update (SLDU) notes that the country, hit with an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic, is now on the road to recovery. more..

What is behind anti-Muslim measures in SL?

Apr 12 (AJ) On March 13, Sarath Weerasekara, SL’s minister of public security, announced that the government will ban wearing of the burqa and close more than 1,000 Islamic schools in the country. The minister was quoted as saying that the burqa was a sign of religious extremism and has a direct impact on national security. The news was picked up internationally and resulted in several statements by human rights organisations and the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, more..

Ramadan fasting to commence on April 14

Apr 12 (AD) The first crescent of the new moon that will herald the start of Ramadan was not sighted today (12), stated Colombo Grand Mosque. Accordingly, Muslims in SL are scheduled to commence fasting for Ramadan on April 14, the Colombo Grand Mosque declared. Muslims all over the world will observe a month of fasting and prayers during Ramadan to commemorate the time when the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed on the night of Laylat Al Qadr. more..