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Cardinal queries Minister over the release of 10 copper factory workers

Jan 22 (DM) Archbishop of Colombo, His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith raised concerns at Minister Sarath Weerasekara on the release of 10 workers of the copper factory, owned by Cinnamon Grand Hotel suicide bomber Inshaf Ahamed. Cardinal Ranjith expressed this when he summoned Minister Sarath Weerasekara to the Archbishop’s House on Wednesday. Cardinal Ranjith had raised questions about more..

John Batta raided; 20 high rollers and owner arrested

Jan 22 (CT) Following a raid on a gambling den operating out of a luxury house 500m away from the Kandana Police Station known as John Batta, Officers of the Kelaniya Crimes Division arrested 20 wealthy businessmen from various parts of the country along with the den’s owner John Batta and seized cash amounting to Rs 700,000 and a Prado jeep on 20 January. After residents had lodged complaints with Senior Police Inspector of the Kelaniya Division, Roshan Dias raiding more..

Two fasting farmers in Hambantota hospitalised; protest campaign continues

Jan 22 (EN) Two out of three farmers engaged in a fast-unto-death in Hambantota were admitted to hospital today due to low blood sugar levels, Surakimu SL Secretary Palitha Wickremaratne said. The fast is taking place for the third consecutive day as part of a protest campaign that began on Monday demanding a solution to the human-elephant conflict in the area. Protestors are specifically demanding that the govt issue a gazette notification regarding a proposed wild elephant reserve in H'tota. more..

Ten copper factory workers released for lack of evidence

Jan 22 (CT) The release of 10 suspects, who worked in the Wellampitiya copper factory owned by Mohamed Ibrahim Inshaf Ahmed, one of the Easter Sunday suicide bombers, was based on lack of evidence linked to the 2019 terror attacks, DIG Ajith Rohana claimed. He said, that Law enforcement agencies arrested a total of 268 people connected to the terror attacks and 195 suspects were remanded on Court Orders. more..

Sri Lanka may be on the brink of community transmission: PHI Union

Jan 22 (EN) Though it’s difficult to say conclusively at present, Sri Lanka may be on the brink of community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Public Health Inspectors Union (PHI). PHI Union President Upul Rohana said that this is possible looking at the number of people in various parts of the island that are testing positive for the virus. “We cannot come to a conclusion yet about whether we’re at community transmission level without technical analysis, but we are finding more..

India arrests two Sri Lankans involved in international drug trafficking syndicate

Jan 22 (Hindu) Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has conducted a major operation culminating in the arrest of two SL nationals who were allegedly key players of an international drug trafficking syndicate having links in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, SL, Maldives and Australia. The accused, identified as M.M.M. Nawas and Mohamed Afnas, had been operating from Chennai under assumed identities. “They were controlling mid-sea pick-up and delivery of narcotic drugs from Pakistani and more..

Mystery surrounds dropping of two vital hydro power projects by CEB during...

Jan 22 (Island) Power Ministry will go all out to complete the 35MW Broadlands Hydro power plant next month especially to cut down expensive oil fired power generation and avoid emergency power purchases. Plant was scheduled to be completed last December but it got delayed due to the non- availability of top Chinese experts owing to the pandemic, but, with their return, the Ministry is confident of getting it completed more..

Sri Lanka has failed to contain COVID-19 within Western Province: GMOA

Jan 22 (EN) SL has failed to contain COVID-19 within the Western Province and the virus has now spread to the rest of the country, the GMOA said. “If we plot the statistics for total and active cases on a graph, we see a rapid increase after October. The numbers don’t seem to be going down anytime soon,” GMOA Editor Dr Haritha Aluthge said. “This is why we say as a country we have failed. We failed to manage the virus and keep it inside the Western Province and now it has spread all over SL,” more..

I didn’t entertain requests to give ECT: MS

Jan 22 (DM) Former Prez Sirisena stated that despite requests of control over the Colombo Port's East Terminal by foreign corporations, he did not entertain such requests during his tenure as President. He made these remarks following an event held in Kalutara. "The Easter Container Terminal (ECT) was requested even while I was President. I stated clearly that that it is not possible. During my tenure as President, I made a vow at the Colombo Port to not let any foreign entity more..

2020 a successful year for SL exports: EDB

Jan 22 (FT) The EDB said this week that 2020 marked a successful year for SL’s exports, netting $ 9.9 billion, which was a 104% achievement from the revised forecast of $ 9.5 billion from the original target of $ 13.5 billion. EDB said that the forecast of $ 13.5 billion in early 2020 was challenging, requiring not only strong efforts from local enterprises, but also the recovery of global demand amid complicated COVID-19 situation. more..

Sarath pooh-poohs Sarath’s plans

Jan 22 (Island) SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka on Wednesday questioned the feasibility of Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera’s plan to deploy the Civil Defence Force personnel to protect VIPs and to give compulsory military training to all above the age of 18 years. Fonseka, participating in the adjournment debate in Parliament said: “We hear the Public Security Minister uttering various things these days. These are nothing but fairy tales. more..

Edwin Ariyadasa passes away at 98

Jan 22 (AD) Veteran journalist and media personality Kala Keerthi Dr. Edwin Ariyadasa has passed away at the age of 98. He was also a prominent film critic, environmentalist, teacher and erudite while he had been bestowed with over 300 awards during his lifetime. He had also held top positions in various state institutions. Born on Dec 3, 1922, in Unawatuna, Galle, Ariyadasa was an alumnus of Mahinda College and the Uni of Ceylon where he obtained a degree in Sinhala and more..

Video: Sri Lanka approves emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Jan 22 (AD) National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has granted the approval for emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 infection in Sri Lanka. State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana said the decision was taken during a recent meeting held with the NMRA. Accordingly, the authorities hope to roll out Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines in Sri Lanka soon, the state minister said further. more..

Chandana de Silva appointed Chairman of Janashakthi Group

Jan 22 (FT) Janashakthi Ltd. announced the appointment of Chandana de Silva as the Group’s Chairman with effect from 1 January 2021. Prakash Schaffter will continue to focus on its Group companies in his executive role as Deputy Chairman/ CEO. Chandana de Silva holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Management from the University of London, UK and is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and in SL. more..

One young girl who united all Sri Lankans… and she wears a head scarf

Jan 22 (FT) When Shukra Munawwar excelled in the SL version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire on a local TV channel, the 17-year-old schoolgirl from the south of SL brought all Sri Lankans together in one joyous celebration. It was not just her sincerity, her candid and cheerful demeanour that captured the hearts across religious and ethnic divides. It was her story, her talent, her skill and her determination. Shukra, beautifully clad in a head scarf and exceptionally knowledgeable in her answers, more..

ධම්මික බණ්ඩාර දත් දොස්තර ගුටි කෙලිය

SL, Vietnam ICT sectors explore co-operation

Jan 22 (EN) Information and communications industries of SL and Vietnam had a virtual meeting to discuss future co-operation, Colombo’s embassy in Hanoi said. “The two sides also agreed to together explore business ventures in software development, outsourcing, BPO and other sectors,” the embassy said. “Vietnamese organizations will be inviting their SL counterparts to participate at major IT events they hold in Viet Nam in the future. “The potential of Viet Nam’s initiatives in their more..

What is wrong with the Judiciary?

Jan 22 (FT) It is clear that the sentence imposed on MP Ranjan Ramanayake by SC and its magnitude has generated great public sympathy for Ranjan and protest against the Judiciary. The apparent absurd nature of certain proceedings of the Judiciary over a long period also seems to have become another important factor influencing the public protest. State of SL, which was in a condition of degeneration caused by the persistent neglect of essential reforms, is collapsing before our eyes. more..

Karu says alleged sugar tax fraud could sour President’s reputation

Jan 22 (FT) NMSJ Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said that the failure on the part of the Govt to explain the massive fraud of Rs. 10 billion that had allegedly taken place due to the cut in the sugar tax was a serious blow to the confidence that the people of this country had in the Prez. He said the Chairman of a Govt institution who resigned recently was suspected of being either involved in or aiding such a massive fraud but he still continued to more..

Bodies of four fishermen from Tamil Nadu found in Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (TOI) The bodies of four TN fishermen reported missing since they went out to sea from the Kottaipatinam jetty in Pudukottai district last Monday washed ashore on a SL beach on Thursday, Indian high commission in Colombo was informed. Another group of fishermen who had set sail alongside the boat carrying the victims alleged that the quartet was attacked by the SL Navy while fishing mid-sea. Navy officials on Thursday ay contacted Indian mission to say that the bodies had been found. more..

COVID-19 death toll rises to 276

Jan 22 (FT) Health authorities confirmed two Covid-19 deaths, bringing SL’s total Covid-19 death toll to 276. The death that occurred on 20 Jan was that of a 71-year-old individual from Peliyagoda. She tested positive for the virus while receiving treatment at the National Hospital of SL and was transferred to the Colombo East Base Hospital. However, she died of acute pneumonia. Authorities also confirmed that the death of a 46-year-old individual from Athurugiriya on 19 Jan was Covid-19-related. more..

Ayubowan again to the world

Jan 22 (FT) Fifteen leisure visitors arrived yesterday as Sri Lanka reopened borders after 10 months of closure, giving a lifeline to the tourism industry – the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Five of the 15 tourists who arrived in Oman Air, the first commercial flight to land, were from Germany and Turkey, while last night 10 British and Dutch business executives based in Dubai arrived via Emirates. more..

Govt approves two new airlines to operate to Sri Lanka; 4 more queued up

Jan 22 (FT) Govt has approved two new airlines to operate into SL, increasing the number of registered carriers to nearly 40. Ethiopian Airlines and Maldivian Airlines are the two approved so far among six new applications received by the Civil Aviation Authority of SL (CAASL). The approval of GoAir – an Indian low-cost airline; Sky Capital Airlines – a Bangladesh cargo airline; Jetsar – an Australian low-cost airline; Air Falcon – a cargo carrier from Pakistan; and Jazeera Airways more..

Decision on release of Rajiv Gandhi killers in a month, Supreme Court told

Jan 22 (HT) TN governor Banwarilal Purohit would take a decision in a four weeks on the state govt’s recommendation to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the centre on Thursday informed the Supreme Court. This comes as a significant development just months ahead of TN’s assembly elections slated for April-May. The Raj Bhavan in Chennai said that an official communication would follow after receiving information from solicitor general Mehta. more..

Highest daily COVID-19 cases recorded with 887 testing positive

Jan 22 (FT) Over 800 persons tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the country’s total COVID-19 patient count to 56,076. According to Dept of Govt Information, 887 COVID-19 patients were detected in the island yesterday and this is the highest number of patients detected in a day. On 2 Dec 2020, 878 persons tested positive for the virus and 866 persons tested positive for COVID-19 on 23 Oct 2020. more..

Reliability of Sri Lanka's batting under scrutiny as England target 2-0 sweep

Jan 22 (CI) What can we make of cricket played in such abnormal conditions? England's victory in Galle was substantial, and yet it was the kind of Test that didn't reveal a lot about either team. This is largely down to Sri Lanka's 135 in the first innings - their monument to incompetence, under the shadow of which the remainder of the Test was played. They batted more normally in the second dig, which perhaps provided a more accurate account of their batting ability. more..

UL steps up tourism push; will fly to Moscow twice a week from Feb.

Jan 22 (FT) SriLankan Airlines said yesterday it will step up the country’s fresh push to woo tourists by starting twice weekly flights to Russian capital Moscow from February. “As the national carrier we are ready to attract tourists now that the country has reopened the borders, which we actively campaigned for,” SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage said. He said plans are underway to look at new destinations and SriLankan Airlines hopes to start flights to Moscow by mid-February. more..

Call to adopt strict, authorised regulatory mechanism at private hospitals

Jan 22 (DN) General Shavendra Silva and Director General of Health Services, Dr. Asela Gunawardena on Wednesday jointly met a representative gathering of private sector laboratory technicians and discussed the possibilities of implementing a common regulatory mechanism for conduct of antigen and PCR tests giving priority to BOI approved garment industry employees, those proceeding overseas, more..

Dhammika drives stock market to dizzy heights with mega share sub-division move

Jan 22 (FT) Business leader Dhammika Perera picked perhaps an auspicious 21.1.21 to unleash a sensational move of share splits of his flagship export-rich diversified blue-chip Hayleys PLC and several subsidiaries sending the stock market to dizzy heights with investors scrambling to grab stocks. Hayleys announced a share split of one share into 10 and 13 other companies in which Hayleys and Dhammika has control announced straight forward sub-division. more..

Hotels Chief welcomes airport opening but urges stakeholders to be cautious

Jan 22 (FT) Hotels Association of SL (THASL) welcomed the reopening of the borders for foreign visitors, saying it would greatly benefit millions of livelihoods which were dependent on the tourism industry. However, THASL appealed to all stakeholders to maintain extreme caution and adherence to health and safety guidelines, paramount to resume sustainable growth in the months ahead. “We appeal to the general public to cooperate and support us in this journey to more..

GL sounds far-reaching educational reforms

Jan 22 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris acknowledged that for want of tangible measures on the part of successive govts, there was a critical mismatch between the education provided and the availability of job opportunities. The academic, in quarantine as a result being identified as potential Covid-19 contact, emphasised the need for far reaching changes to address the issue as part of their efforts to restructure the entire system. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism goes digital

Jan 22 (CT) As experts say the global COVID-19 pandemic provided all industries some space to capitalise on available opportunities. Thus, the tourism industry being the worst affected has no doubt also received some space to plan for the future; focus on least attentive areas such as human capital development, tourism promotion and strategic plans to revive in the new normal with changed requirements of travellers. Besides, this is the time that the importance of technology more..

Gammanpila corrects and challenges Harsha

Jan 22 (FT) Minister Udaya Gammanpila has sent the following clarification with regard to the Daily FT article titled Govt. two-faced on debt: Harsha, published on 14 Jan: Kindly be noted that the article has mentioned a different opinion to what was expressed by me and therefore it gives an incorrect message to the general public. The fourth paragraph of the article quotes my fellow MP Dr. Harsha de Silva mentioning I had appealed the creditors to rollover part of $ 6.86 billion of debt in 2021. more..

SLC to inquire into alleged misbehavior

Jan 22 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has requested Team Manager Asantha de Mel to submit a report into alleged misbehaviour involving a female doctor and a young SL cricketer within the National team’s bio bubble during the first Test. The alleged incident was reported widely on social media on Wednesday, tarnishing the image of the National team. Regarding the incident SLC said in a media statement yesterday: more..

Turkey, SL have completely friendly relations

Jan 22 (AA) Turkey politically has no problems with Sri Lanka and the two countries have completely friendly relations, according to a Turkish official. The two countries are fighting against separatist terrorism and have similar problems, Turkey’s former ambassador to SL Tunca Ozcuhadar said in a video conference with Cemal Demir, head of the Istanbul-based South Asia Strategic Research Center (GASAM). Also, especially in the int'l area, both countries support all their draft resolutions more..

Eight Sri Lanka cricketers fail fitness tests

Jan 22 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket has issued an ultimatum to its contracted players after eight of them failed a fitness test in Colombo. A pool of 20 shortlisted players for the upcoming tour of West Indies underwent fitness tests in Colombo and eight of them did poorly failing the tests. The list includes several permanent members in the side and some senior players. The players have now been given an ultimatum to get their act together before another fitness test on February 3rd. more..