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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..

'It’s China that happens to have the cash now'

Oct 20 (Hindu) While govt critics and the Opposition in Sri Lanka raise concern over the Rajapaksa administration’s growing reliance on China, in the wake of Colombo seeking a new $700 million loan from Beijing, a State Minister has said it is China that has the most amount of cash now. “In different times in world history, different countries have been the ones who have had the most amount of cash. And now it happens to be China, more..

SLPP and SLFP meet to patch up differences

Oct 20 (TM) District leaders of the SLPP and SLFP met today to iron out issues faced by the respective party representatives in the constituencies. The meeting was focused on discussing the grievances of members of both parties at district level and finding solutions. SLFP General Secretary, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that the two parties had discussed how the SLPP and SLFP could work together in local govt bodies. “We discussed how the two parties together could gain control of more..

Pompeo to visit Sri Lanka next week

Oct 20 (AD) In the final week before the US presidential elections on Nov 3, Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo plans to visit SL & Maldives, after attending the talks in Delhi, India. Pompeo will hold two-way talks in Colombo on Oct 28, a spokesman for SL’s foreign ministry said, but gave no details. Pompeo’s stop in Colombo comes amid US and Indian concerns at China’s stepped-up engagement with the govt of recently elected PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, more..

'No idea how the first Covid patient at the Minuwangoda factory became infected'

Oct 20 (EN) The country’s Health Services are yet to definitely find out how the Covid 19 virus entered the Minuwangoda-based Brandix textile plant Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament today. Replying to questions raised by the Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, she said that for a period of 3 months since Aug 2 there were no cases that emerged from the community. However, she alluded to the presence of more..

Govt seems to be questioning Tamil culture: Kalaiarasan

Oct 20 (CT) TNA Ampara District MP Thavarasa Kalaiarasan claimed, the activities of Presidential Task Force to Protect Archeological Sites seem to be creating ethnic contradictions. He made these observations after placing the foundation stone for the school for spiritual studies in Urani Pottuvil on 18 Oct. Kalaiarasan lamented, the ethnic ratio of Tamils has declined in the N&E Provinces. “Each and every step being taken by the current Govt seems to be questioning the culture of Tamil community” more..

Learning for empathy in Japan

Oct 20 (CT) If COVID-19 is brought under control, Japan hopes to invite teachers and students from Sri Lanka early next year for a study visit to Japan to ascertain how learning for empathy is being implemented and practised in Japan and also to exchange views, Japan’s Ambassador in Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama said on 25 Sept. The occasion was where with Japanese Govt contribution, SL National Commission related to the UNESCO in collaboration with the UNESCO New Delhi Cluster Office more..

Shootout that killed Makandure Madush

Oct 20 (AD) Infamous criminal and drug lord Makandure Madush was killed in a crossfire between the police and suspected underworld figures early this morning. The crossfire took place at the Maligawatte Housing Complex. Madush Lakshitha alias Makandure Madush who had been involved in a large number of murders and other criminal activities, was one of the most wanted outlaws in the country. more..

Over 3,000 women arrested for Excise offences completing 2020 third quarter

Oct 20 (DM) Over 3,000 women had been rounded up for various related offences by the Department of Excise during its countrywide detections completing the third quarter of this year, with a total seizure of illicit goods worth up to Rs.121 million, departmental sources said. There were 3,020 female suspects amongst the total of 30,354 suspects were taken into custody for various instances of violations of the Excise Ordinance, during the first nine months of 2020. more..

Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association stands with Brandix

Oct 20 (Island) Chairman and Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) stand by their member Brandix Lanka at this difficult time, SLAEA said in a press statement. Following is the statement Rehan Lakhani, Chairman- SLAEA shared with The Island. “The SLAEA is the oldest association in the industry, and Brandix Lanka is a pioneer member with an established track record in the areas of Health and Safety and Employee welfare”. more..

Video: Body of Makandure Madush to be handed over to family

Oct 20 (AD) Colombo Additional Magistrate has ordered the JMO to hand over the body if Makandure Madush to his legal wife after the post mortem. Magistrate’s inquest of the notorious underworld figure and drug kingpin Makandure Madush, who was shot dead in a crossfire between police and other suspected underworld figures in Maligawatte this morning (20), is currently underway. Magistrate of the No. 4 Magistrate’s Court more..

Delay in formulating new Constitution an injustice to majority: Weerasekara

Oct 20 (CT) The public should be vigilant about whom they choose to be in power, in order to get the benefits of it,” stated State Minister Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara. He expressed these views while addressing a Media briefing at the Viyathmaga headquarters, yesterday (19). He was fielding a question raised by a journalist on some parties, alleging the 20th Amendment centres all the power on one person, who may betray the public if the power is given to the wrong person. more..

Sri Lanka suspends 72-hour PCR test requirements for departures

Oct 20 (EN) SL has temporarily suspended the 72-hour PCR test prior to departures from the country due to laboratories being swamped with testing being conducted across the country to contain the new coronavirus wave in the country. According to top officials in the Health Ministry laboratories are unable to issue PCR test results within 72-hours prior to embarkation therefore the ministry has decided to halt the procedure. The 72-hour PCR report requirement was imposed on 18 Oct. more..