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Udaya Gammanpila

More corona and more confusion

Oct 28 (ST) If we return to the subject of the coronavirus in SL and some other parts of the world, it is because we are very much back in the news and there is a faint glimmer of hope from elsewhere. If people hang to any hopeful sign as a silver lining emerging from behind a darkened sky, it is like distraught mankind clinging on to a last straw. Add to nature’s assault on man the havoc caused to this planet by politicians and their kith, kin and acolytes who have scorched this earth from Sinharaja more..

Wanton land grabbing in Nilgala Forest

Oct 28 (DM) This destruction mainly takes place in Kotabova, Kalugahawadiya and Bendiyawa Grama Niladhari divisions belonging to Medagama Divisional Secretariat. As per our observations and based on information received from villagers, Grama Niladhari Officers and other sources, so far more than 2000 acres of forest land has been destroyed for the cultivation of sorghum. Bibila Nilgala, Rathugala, Bulupitiya, Pitakumbura, Karadugala, Galgamuwa, Nelliyadda, Hadagala, more..

Black October – 30th Anniversary: Horrendous LTTE Northern Muslim eviction

Oct 28 (CT) In Oct 1990, some 75,000 Muslims in the Northern Province, about five per cent of the province’s population, were forcibly expelled from their homeland by the LTTE. In some places the Terrorists gave only about a 48-hour for Muslims to leave the province. Beginning in Chavakachcheri on 15 Oct until 30 Oct, all Muslims were evicted from Mannar, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Jaffna, and certain parts of Vavuniya. more..

Passage of 20A: Auspicious prelude to creation of a New Constitution

Oct 28 (Island) The Sinhalese in independent SL have been nationalistic, but never narrowly communalistic; they have never illtreated non-Sinhala minorities on the basis of race or religion. Those who are wallowing in a sea of misinformation having been swept there by tides of hostile propaganda over the decades, may bristle at this, but the truth must be stated. The nationalism of the Sinhalese is not a construct of the last colonial era. Contrary to what Eurocentric theorists, more..

Opposition to 20A calls for powers to be used with care

Oct 28 (CT) The passage of the 20th Amendment has taken place at a time of unprecedented crisis in the country. For the past months since it surfaced as a draft, the govt leadership had been giving it priority attention to garnering support for the legislation in the face of mounting challenges. Despite securing an enormous majority of seats in parliament, and only 5 short of an outright 2/3 majority required for constitutional change there were times when the challenge seemed too big to accomplish. more..

'Taliban-produced drugs entering Sri Lanka through Pakistan'

Oct 28 (DM) Afghanistan has been a victim of years of terrorism which continues to destabilize an otherwise peaceful country with a youthful, resilient and enterprising population. In an interview with Afghanistan’s Ambassador to SL, Ashraf Haidari spoke on the impact terrorism is having in his country, lessons Afghanistan seeks to learn from SL’s war on terror and future collaboration to curb drug trafficking. more..

The shape of The constitution to come

Oct 28 (CT) The drafting committee of the new Constitution consists largely of very able lawyers. However, Dr. Colvin R de Silva and JR Jayewardene were not simply lawyers; they were outstanding, world-class intellects, with encyclopedic political learning and rich, protracted experience. Replacing a Colvin Constitution with a JR Constitution was no travesty of standards, but demolishing the Jayewardene Constitution because it requires rectification is akin to hiring an ad-hoc group more..

Makandure Madush: End of a drug kingpin

Oct 28 (SO) Underworld figure and alleged drug kingpin Samarasinghe Arachchilage Madush Lakshitha alias Makandure Madush met a bloody endin the wee hours of October 20. Shot and killed at the Lakshitha Sevana apartment complex at Applewatta in Maligawatta 20 months after being repatriated from Dubai, the incident and the narrative of events that led to the underworld figure’s death has now left the public divided. In a Facebook post, Policeman responsible for arresting more..

Video: U.S. State Secretary arrives in SL

Oct 27 (AD) Secretary of State of US, Michael R. Pompeo has arrived in Sri Lanka a short while ago (27) for two-day bilateral discussions. In the days leading up to the U.S. presidential vote, Pompeo is travelling to New Delhi, India; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Malé, Maldives; and Jakarta, Indonesia between the 25th and 30th of October. The U.S. delegation led by the State Secretary landed in India on Monday (26). more..

New PCR machines at BIA lie idle

Oct 27 (CT) Although brand new PCR machines had been set up at the laboratory at the BIA, the equipment has not been utilised for over one and a half months, Medicinal and Health Services Management Adviser, Dr. Sanjay Perera, alleged. He also charged the three PCR machines located at the BIA lab, have to date not been utilised to conduct the necessary tests to detect COVID-19 patients after the discovery of infected people from areas such as Minuwangoda, Peliyagoda and more..

Days assigned for operation of pharmacies, essential item outlets in curfew areas

Oct 27 (AD) The got has assigned specific days of the week for the operation of essential item outlets and pharmacies in curfew imposed areas, stated Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva. Accordingly, the aforementioned outlets in the curfew areas of the Gampaha and Kalutara Districts are allowed operation every Monday and Thursday. Tuesdays and Fridays have been assigned for the outlets in Colombo and Kurunegala districts. Essential item outlets and pharmacies more..

China tells U.S. not to bully Sri Lanka ahead of Pompeo's visit

Oct 27 (Reuters) China has raised objections to what it called U.S. bullying of SL after Washington said the Indian Ocean island must make difficult but necessary choices regarding its ties with China. The comments by the Chinese embassy in Colombo came shortly before the arrival on Tuesday of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a an Asian tour aimed at pushing back against China’s growing influence in the region. more..

Sri Lanka reports 293 new Coronavirus cases, first sudden deaths

Oct 27 (EN) Sri Lanka has confirmed 293 Coronavirus cases on October 27, taking the total of the new wave over 5,000 with 03 deaths including a 19-year old whose has suffered a sudden death, authorities said. The 19-year old special needs teenager and the other 87 year old were dead on admission, reports said. “Both these were reported as sudden deaths,” Health Ministry spokesman Jayaruwan Bandara said. “They were confirmed with Covid-19 after testing samples. more..

Pastor in Sri Lanka forced to close ministry following threats and intimidation

Oct 27 (ICC) According to Barnabas Fund, a pastor in Sri Lanka has been forced to close his ministry after being detained by police and threatened by Buddhist monks. On Sunday (18), police arrived at the pastor’s house in Bakamuna, located in the Polonnaruwa district of SL. Police ordered the pastor, whose identity Barnabas Fund has kept secret for security reasons, to immediately report to the local police station. Following the police’s instructions, pastor went to the police station. more..

The rising need for data privacy

Oct 27 (DM) Since the discovery of several employees infected with the coronavirus at Brandix Apparel Ltd, a list of personal data circulated through social media sites which can trace patients by their names, national identity card numbers, telephone numbers, and addresses. Although many questioned as to how and why these private details of patients were shared across numerous online platforms, it soon became evident that more..

Visas of foreigners in Sri Lanka extended

Oct 27 (AD) Department of Immigration and Emigration says that due to the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country, it has been decided to extend the validity period of all types of Visas issued to all foreigners who are currently residing in Sri Lanka for a period of 60 days. Accordingly, the validity period of all types of Visas will be extended from 7th Oct 2020 to 5th Dec 2020. The procedure to pay the relevant visa fee and to get the visa endorsed in the Passport will be informed later, it said. more..

Seven infants, three mothers test positive for coronavirus at LRH

Oct 27 (Island) Seven infants receiving treatment at the Lady Ridegeway Hospital (LRH) for Children, Colombo, and three mothers staying with them, had tested positive for COVID-19, Hospital Director Dr. G. Wijesuriya said yesterday. All those were from the Peliyagoda Fish Market cluster. Earlier, on Oct 20, a two-year-old girl and her mother who had come for treatment at LRH were found COVID-19 positive. They were residents of Wellampitiya and the father of the child too had contracted COVID-19. more..

AG orders police to probe spread of Covid-19 from Brandix factory

Oct 27 (AD) Attorney General has directed the Acting IGP to investigate the spread of COVID-19 from the Brandix apparel factory in Minuwangoda. He has also instructed the police to submit a progress report on the investigations within two weeks. Coordinating Officer to the AG, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne stated that the AG’s attention was drawn towards the dangerous condition facing human lives due to more..

Minister Amaraweera urges people to work through pandemic to minimise impact...

Oct 27 (Island) Sri Lankans should come forward to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday speaking at the launch of the Thousand Herbal Forest programme at the Bodhimalu Temple, Medamulana. Amaraweera also said that COVID-19 clusters would grow further if people did not follow the health guidelines. “My fear is COVID-19 clusters will form around some liquor bars.” The world economy was in deep crisis due to COVID-19 more..

Covid-related relief for Private Sector employees extended until December

Oct 27 (EN) Sri Lanka has decided to extend the agreed grace period for the payment of salaries of private-sector employees until December due to the crisis caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. A Task Force representing Employers, Trade Unions, the National Labour Advisory Council, the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Labour was appointed by Cabinet several months ago to look into the payment of salaries to these employees. The Cabinet took into consideration more..

Video: Ajith Rohana reveals why IDH staff haven’t contracted COVID-19

Oct 27 (AD) Over 35,000 people, who are not first-contacts, are currently undergoing the self-quarantine process, stated the Police Media Spokesman, DIG Ajith Rohana. He stated that nearly 185,000 persons have been directed for self-quarantine. Once health authorities post a notice that residents of a particular house are under self-quarantine, they are monitored by community police officers in charge of the area, he said. more..

Proposal to bring small tour groups still under discussion: Tourism Minister

Oct 27 (FT) Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the proposal to bring small tour groups from select countries to Sri Lanka was still under discussion and would be pursued once health authorities provided clearance. “We have discussed this opportunity of bringing down group travellers from Europe, Far East Asia and Russia at the COVID-19 National Task Force meetings as well, but approval was not granted by them to allow any foreigners in the country due to COVID-19 more..

Kosgoda Police staff swapped with new set of officers

Oct 27 (DN) Forty-nine officials including the Officer in Charge of the Kosgoda Police who are currently under quarantine for suspected for COVID-19 were replaced by another set of officers including an Acting OIC selected from nearby Police stations in the area, Galle Division DIG Nuwan Wedasinghe said. Following the new measure by the DIG, the Kosgoda Police Station continued its functions as usual without interruption. “The Kosgoda Police OIC and his staff had to undergo quarantine as more..

Video: Rishad re-remanded; court rejects bail application

Oct 27 (AD) Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today (27) rejected the bail application submitted by MP Rishad Bathiudeen. Accordingly, the MP was re-remanded until the 10th of Nov. Former Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, the director of the project Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and the project accountant Alagarathnam Manoranjan are accused of violating Article 82(1) of Prez Elections Act, more..

CSE and intermediaries successfully operate stock market remotely

Oct 27 (FT) Colombo Stock Exchange and market intermediaries yesterday operated normally but completely based on remote functionality, in the backdrop of its offices and those of several market intermediary firms being located in areas subject to quarantine curfew. CSE said following the digitalisation of the CSE, preparatory exercises were carried out as a part of regular Business Continuity Processes (BCP) along with stockbroker firms to ensure ability to conduct market operations more..

Dr. Asela Gunawardena appointed new Health Services DG

Oct 27 (CG) Dr. Asela Gunawardena has been appointed as the new Director General of Health Services. Prior to the appointment he was serving as the Director of the Kalubowila Colombo South Teaching Hospital. Dr. Asela Gunawardena replaces Dr. Anil Jasinghe who was made Environment Secretary several weeks back. The opposition and the general public kept questioning the Govt’s delay to appoint a new Director General of Health Services. more..

Video: SL’s Covid-19 death toll climbs to 19

Oct 27 (AD) The Ministry of Health confirms that two more Covid-19 related deaths have been reported in the country today, bringing the death toll from the virus in Sri Lanka to 19. It said that a 19-year-old youth from Keselwatte and an 87-year-old woman from Slave Island, who were both admitted to the Colombo National Hospital, have passed away. They had both tested positive for Covid-19 following PCR tests carried out on more..

Mangala, Champika et al avoiding PCoI

Oct 27 (CT) Former MPs Mangala Samaraweera and Champika Ranawaka, and several others were named as persons evading the PCoI appointed to probe political victimisation of public officials during the tenure of the UNF-led Govt. Chairman of the PCoI, retired SC Judge, Justice Upali Abeyratne instructed to name those individuals, together with MPs Rauff Hakeem, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, M.A. Sumanthiran, R. Sampanthan and Anura Kumara Dissanayake, & former MP Malik more..

Will SL become a political colony of China?

Oct 27 (FT) SL has yet again resorted to seeking the help of China to avert a possible default on her debt obligations. Populist policies, lack of a long-term plan and unpatriotic motives, led by decades of impoverished political leadership, has placed SL as one of the most financially vulnerable countries in the world. Recent events with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has also meant that the country has now been stranded in a mountain of debt with no short-term remedy on offer more..

Prof. Ajith de Alwis, UoM

GMOA hands over COVID-19 exit strategy plan to President

Oct 27 (DM) The GMOA yesterday handed over a comprehensive COVID-19 exit strategy plan to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to control the current pandemic situation in the country. The exit strategy plan has highlighted the political leadership, health capacity and public compliance as the three main elements in managing public health emergencies, especially the COVID-19 pandemic. The GMOA has also recommended The Hammer and Dance mechanism as the best method more..

COVID, 20A, Pompeo’s threat, resurgent MCC and SOFA

Oct 27 (FT) With positive cases exceeding 7,000, and a national daily high of 865 and cases being reported in many parts of the country, what is striking is the sound of silence from health officials. While it is understandable to have one spokesperson, many other countries have generally had a non-health person as the chief spokesperson, at times a president or a prime minister, but in equal standing with the most senior health official of the country. The logic is simple. This is a health matter. more..

GMOA renews warning as COVID-19 cases spike

Oct 27 (FT) The GMOA yesterday renewed its warning on the spike of COVID-19, cautioning that the country was at the edge of community transmission with 541 more patients reported, bringing the cumulative total to over 8,000. “We can clearly state that a complex situation has risen and a serious risk is being created in the country. In other words, considering the factors of community spread, we can clearly see that more..

Govt issues new guidelines on closure of public premises

Oct 27 (FT) Health Ministry yesterday issued special guidelines when closing down certain public premises as part of COVID-19 control measures. In a memo to all provincial and regional directors of the health services, Health Services Acting Director General Dr. S. Sridharan said that although closing down of certain premises such as market places, factories and offices were important for effective control of the spread of COVID-19 cases under the present circumstances, more..

Sri Lanka confirms 541 Covid-19 cases, 499 from community as cases surge

Oct 27 (EN) Sri Lanka has confirmed 541 cases on Oct 26, taking the total to 8,412 with most of them coming from the community and the country abandoned institutionalized quarantine. Of the days total 499 came from the community and 42 came from quarantine centres, data showed. Army chief Shavendra Silva said first contacts of confirmed patients would no longer be quarantined in centres. “Until today all first contacts of a confirmed patient was taken to a quarantine centre,” he said. more..