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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..

JHU wants origin of current wave of COVID-19 revealed

Oct 19 (Island) JHU spokesperson Nishantha Warnasinghe said that both the govt and the Brandix apparel manufacturer owed an explanation to the public how the corona eruption took place in the Minuwangoda garment factory of the company. The former Western Province PC member said the Brandix eruption shouldn’t continue to be a mystery. Warnasinghe alleged that the govt seemed reluctant to go the whole hog though more..

Monetary policy review : Only 50% chance of rate cut: FC Research

Oct 19 (TM) First Capital (FC) Research says there is a 50% possibility of a rate cut when the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of SL (CBSL) meets for its scheduled monetary policy review later this week. “Our previous pre-policy report had assigned a 60% probability for a rate cut in 20 Oct and 75% probability on 20 November. However, considering the improved macroeconomic indicators, we have reduced the probability of a rate cut by 10% to 50% on 20 Oct and by 25% to 50% on 20 Nov,” more..

COPE and COPA meetings temporarily suspended

Oct 19 (AD) Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) have decided to temporarily suspend the committee meetings scheduled for this week. The decision has been taken by the COPE chairman Prof. Charitha Herath and COPA chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana, based on the health guidelines on preventing public gatherings and maintaining social distancing due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in the country. Accordingly the COPE and COPA meetings more..

Sri Lanka GDP growth to shrink 4.6% in 2020, Bangladesh among fastest to grow: IMF

Oct 19 (EN) SL’s GDP could shrink 4.6% in 2020, India would shrink 10.3%, Maldives 18.7%, while Bangladesh would grow one of the fastest rates in the world amid a Covid-19 crisis, the International Monetary Fund has said. Sri Lanka’s growth would recover to 5.3% in 2021, the IMF said. Bangladesh would grow 3.8%, the fastest in the world other than Guyana in South America, Myanmar 2%, faster than China at 1.9%, more..

Panchikawatte Neville arrested

Oct 19 (AD) Jeyaraj Neville Darshan alias Panchikawatte Neville has been arrested in Panchikawatte in a raid carried out by the CIU in Colombo Central Division. The suspect was arrested at an apartment complex in the Jampettah Street area at around 2 pm this afternoon, DIG Ajith Rohana said. The suspect has been found in possession of a Browning pistol, two magazines and 10 rounds of ammunition. The police has also seized 02 kg of cannabis found in his possession, more..

Order investigation on Gammanpila, Harin urges president

Oct 19 (EN) Action must be taken against Minister Udaya Gammanpila for his recent remarks about hiding fellow PHU member Madumadawa Aravinda, a wanted man, for 35 days, opposition MP Harin Fernando said. Citing the incumbent govt’s one law, one country mantra, Fernando told reporters today that Prez Rajapaksa ought to order an investigation into the minister’s claim. Last week, when asked about law enforcement’s purported inability to arrest MP Rishad Bathiudeen, more..

AG had asked CID to place Rishad under surveillance before arrest order

Oct 19 (AD) Attorney General Dappula De Livera had advised the CID on the prudence to place MP Rishad Bathiudeen under surveillance 24 hours before the issuing of the directive to arrest the former minister. AG’s coordinating office State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said that the arrest of MP Rishad Bathiudeen is not something that had happened suddenly. She stated that 24 hours before the AG’s advice more..

Video: Owner of house where Rishad was staying also arrested by CID

Oct 19 (AD) Police have also arrested the owner of the house where MP Rishad Bathiudeen had been staying when he was taken into custody. Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said that the owner of the house has been arrested by the CID. The former minister was arrested by CID officers at a housing complex located at Ebenezer Place in Dehiwala this morning (19). Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, the director of the project Mohamed Yaseen Samsudeen and project accountant more..

Video: Family members of Armour St. police sergeant test COVID-19 positive

Oct 19 (AD) Two family members of a sergeant at Armour Street Police Station have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, stated DIG Ajith Rohana. 16 officers attached to the police station including its OIC have been directed for the quarantine process. They are to be subjected to PCR tests, he added. He mentioned that, the Armour Street police checkpoint was cleared and disinfected immediately before recommencing operations with officers from other police stations. more..

Harry J decries step-motherly treatment to coconut arrack industry

Oct 19 (FT) Distilleries Company of SL (DCSL) Chairman and business leader Harry Jayawardena has decried what he called as step-motherly treatment to the coconut arrack industry and warned of serious health and tax revenue issues if the Govt fails to urgently address measures to nab the thriving illegal and illicit liquor industry. The plight of the legitimate industry players paying taxes and complying with other requirements more..

CEA warns polluters of 13 teams coming to inspect effluents released to Kelani River

Oct 19 (Island) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) would deploy 13 teams today to inspect industrial effluents released to the Kelani River in all areas in the Colombo and Gampaha Districts, said CEA Chairman S. Amarasinghe. Earlier Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told CEA officials that more than 4,000 factories, located between Kaduwela and Peliyagoda, functioned without adhering to environmental standards. Only some 3,000 factories operated with CEA approval. more..

Video: Seven suspects arrested for assisting Rishad evade arrest

Oct 19 (AD) Seven suspects have been arrested for aiding and abetting MP Rishad Bathiudeen to evade arrest, stated the Police Media Spokesman. The suspects arrested by the CID are to be produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court this evening (19), stated DIG Ajith Rohana speaking at a press conference held earlier today. He further said that during the arrest of Bathiudeen, it was revealed that there was a group of people who provide protection to persons wanted by the police. more..