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රතු ඉර - කාලීන දේශපාලන සංවාදය

20A: D-day Thursday

Oct 19 (TM) Amidst the unfolding drama over the 20th Amendment Bill, Sri Lanka has managed to capture the attention of three foreign countries – China, India, and the US. Following a virtual bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few weeks back, where discussions focused on bilateral relations and the Indian-funded projects in SL, the attention of the Chinese also focused on the island nation. It is as a result of this attention more..

The long wait for justice

Oct 19 (TM) After sputtering away for many months now, serious headway seems to have been made by the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks, going by what transpired before the commission last week. As expected, former Prez Sirisena was the cynosure of all eyes and the man of many surprises did not disappoint. In the process, the former President, who is well known to be a serial betrayer, added one more to the infamous list when he had no hesitation in pushing his former confidant and Head of more..

COVID-19 prevention measures strengthened

Oct 19 (CT) In order to prevent Coronavirus pandemic the Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi has announced a series of regulations under sections 2 and 3 of the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (QPDO). Regulations relating to Storage of Grain and relating to Anchylostomiasis, published in Gazette No. 7481 of 28 August 1925, are further amended and new definitions to Public Place and Partique - expressions which more..

Speak out ACJU!

Oct 19 (CT) The battle over 20th Amendment appears to be heading for a victory to one person, and that person is neither Gotabaya nor Mahinda but their brother Basil Rajapaksa who, with one leg in Sri Lanka and the other in US, is set to enter the parliament. Even though the Supreme Court has virtually given the green light for 20A, with minor changes at the committee stage, trouble is brewing both from inside and outside the Rajapaksa camp. The apparent split in Sanga demonstrated more..

Shattering Sri Lanka’s myth of the great race in the Covid mirror

Oct 19 (ST) Even as frightened and hapless garment workers slaving in the multitude of factories in the Gampaha District, epicentre of SL’s calamitous covid-19 spread, were herded into trucks and taken like cattle to ill equipped and unsanitary quarantine camps under the impatient watch of the military this week, deeply fundamental ironies are at play. Did those unhappy citizens asked themselves as to why this is happening in quite this way to themselves, as members of SL’s master race more..

'Live wires of Sri Lanka’s economy are now treated like criminals'

Oct 19 (DM) Although the apparel sector is said to be SL’s largest export industry, its live wires – the garment factory workers are seldom recognized. Today, they are being further discriminated with the recent COVID cluster that emerged from a garment factory in Minuwangoda. According to Chamila Thushari, Programme Coordinator at Dabindu Collective – an organization established in 1984 advocating to promote and protect more..

20A: Has the govt bitten off more than it can chew?

Oct 19 (ST) The 20th Amendment maybe the newest kid in town but apart from its fond parents and closest kith and kin raving nuts over the cherubic cheeks and rosy glow of the bonny offspring destined to dawn a prosperous era on the ruling house of Lanka, no one else seems to be over the moon quite as much at what the September stork brought unbidden to the nation’s doorstep. In fact, the growing tide of mass opinion seems to suggest the people would rather the little monster more..

National Security

Oct 19 (CT) Bloody Easter Sunday that took place on 21 April 2019, killing 269 civilians and wounding and maiming several others may have been avoided if the country had a leadership sensitive to security matters. This was pronounced by the evidence given by at least two persons before the PCoI recently. They were former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and former Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake. Both of these individuals were appointed to these high offices when more..

SLPP to hold crucial meeting today, as opposition grows against 20A

Oct 18 (ST) With pressure growing on the Govt to make major changes to the 20th Amendment, a party leaders’ meeting of constituent parties representing the SLPP has been summoned this evening to further discuss the issue. This is ahead of tomorrow’s separate meeting of the SLPP’s parliamentary group. SLPP party leaders’ meeting is to take place at the Prez Secretariat. Both Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa would attend more..

Granting franchise rights to Lankans overseas mulled

Oct 18 (SO) A Parliament Select Committee (PSC) will be appointed shortly to revise outdated election laws and explore the possibility of granting franchise rights to Sri Lankans overseas. Election Commission spokesperson and Director Channa de Silva said the PM endorsed the idea of a Select Committee to look into issues and needs in the sector when Election Commission representatives met him at Temple Trees on Friday. Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that the revision of the electoral law is a must more..

20A Bill debate: Three days reduced to two

Oct 18 (TM) The 20th Amendment Bill is to be debated for two days next week on Wednesday (21) and Thursday (22). Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that a two-day debate was agreed upon during the parliamentary party leaders’ meeting on Friday (16). He said the Opposition requested a three-day debate, but the Govt had declined. “We said we would keep it to two days, but we have extended the parliamentary sessions for a longer period than the norm,” he said. more..

Ex-IGP and Hemasiri are lying: Former Prez

Oct 18 (AD) Former Prez Maithripala Sirisena yet again before the PCoI today (17) and rejected the allegation that he attempted to make the former IGP the scapegoat following the massacre. He also rejected the testimony of the former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando where he said he was asked by the Head of State not attend the meeting chaired by then-PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. more..

Eight finance companies face added liquidity pressure

Oct 18 (ST) Eight out of 39 Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs) have been found non-compliant with the minimum capital adequacy requirement and have been given a time extension to rectify the non-compliance, the Central Bank (CB) disclosed in a public notice. These companies are Arpico Finance Co. PLC, Associated Motor Finance Co., Bimputh Finance, Kanrich Finance, Merchant Bank of SL and Finance, Richard Pieris Finance, Softlogic Finance and UB Finance Co. more..

Covid-19 cases from Minuwangoda cluster surpass 2,000

Oct 18 (AD) Total positive cases of Covid-19 reported from the Minuwangoda cluster topped the grim milestone of 2,000 this evening (17). The new development came after 42 more persons linked to the cluster were tested positive for the virus. Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said 22 of the fresh cases are employees Brandix apparel factory and their contacts who are currently at quarantine centres. The remaining 20 have been identified as close contacts of the apparel factory staffers. more..

Duty waiver on essential items : No immediate price reduction

Oct 18 (CT) Despite the decision taken by the Govt to remove import duties on essential food commodities with immediate effect, there is unlikely to be a price reduction at least until November, according to essential food importers. Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders’ Association (EFCITA) President G. Rajendran noted that the items imported under last week’s duty exemption would arrive only in three to four weeks. more..

Tougher new measures at factories to curb COVID spread

Oct 18 (ST) Factories with more than 500 employees must conduct compulsory PCR tests for a selected group of its employees on a daily basis, according to a gazette notification to be issued soon. Health Ministry Secretary Dr Sanjeewa Munasinghe said the move was part of stringent measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to the manner in which it spread from the garment factory in Minuwangoda. He said that under the guidelines to be gazetted, more..

CID goes east to track down Bathiudeen

Oct 18 (ST) The CID yesterday extended the search for MP Rishad Bathiudeen to the Eastern Province, after they failed to arrest him for the fourth consecutive day. CID teams visited Mr. Bathiudeen’s close associates’ houses in the Pothuvil, Ampara, Sammanthurai, Ninthavur and Kalmunai areas in search of the the ACMC leader, after the failure of attempts to trace him in Colombo, Puttalam and Mannar. Teams also visited the Ampara residence of ACMC MP S.M.M. Musharaff. more..

Railways to punish squatting employees

Oct 18 (TM) Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) has identified that its own employees have been occupying SLR Reserve land illegally for a number of years, and therefore plans to charge lease payments from them, according to SLR General Manager M.J.D. Fernando. “Most of these lands are occupied by the employees of the SLR itself. We will have to charge them lease for the years they occupied the land and more..

'Budget 2021, a thrust for development'

Oct 18 (SO) The 2021 Budget will spell out the thrust for new development initiatives that will be unleashed over the next five years to achieve higher economic growth and prosperity for the country, Money, Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reforms, Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. He said the focus areas of the next budget will be all mega development projects including highways, the 100,000-kilometre road stretch, ports and airports and water based projects. more..

Tourism hit hard, women hit harder

Oct 18 (TM) Sharmila Rajapaksha is a mother of three who spent the last eight years as the sole breadwinner for her family, providing for them through her job as a receptionist at a prominent hotel in Ella. However, with the arrival of Covid-19 and the initial lockdown in March, the hotel closed its doors and let go of over 20 staff members, including Rajapaksha, leaving her without a source of income for almost eight months now. As it turns out, Rajapaksha is just one among more..

Dimo Southern Warriors lift Army Commander’s T20 Cup

Oct 18 (ST) Dinesh Chandimal-led DIMO Southern Warriors clinched the inaugural Army Commander’s League Twenty20 tournament beating Super Fashion Northern Warriors led by Seekkuge Prasanna by nine runs in the final played at Army Cricket ground in Dombagoda yesterday. Defending a total of 159, Chandimal marshalled his resources in the death overs using the experienced Suranga Lakmal and Wanindu Hasaranga as more..

Hiruni fails to finish World Half Marathon in Poland

Oct 18 (ST) US-based woman marathoner Hiruni Wijayaratne made a disappointing appearance at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gydnia 2020 in Poland on Saturday as she pulled out after completing the 15km mark. The 29-year-old Sri Lankan born runner clocked 17.50 minutes at the end of the first 5km mark and 37.19 at the end of the 10km mark. She had finished the 15km mark with a time of 57.28 but did not survive to complete the 21.0975km race. more..

LAUGFS Gas initiating big plans for Indian Ocean Rim

Oct 18 (ST) LAUGFS Gas PLC is moving towards building an integrated regional LPG Terminal for LPG importing, re-exporting and supply to retailers in the Indian Ocean Rim. The company will also expand its solar power plants this year, W.H.K Wegapitiya, Chairman, LAUGFS Gas PLC said. “We have a big market in front of our doorstep. We intend to exploit it.” Company is exporting gas to B'desh, India & Maldives. “We have a big market in front of our doorstep. We intend to exploit it.” more..

Joint venture firms struggle without minor machinery components

Oct 18 (ST) Several joint venture manufacturers have been forced to shutdown their production plants and suspend expansion plans due to restrictions in the import of components and essential spares needed to run the machinery. The govt has indefinitely extended import restrictions introduced for three months from May 22 amidst the COVID-19 crisis and a foreign exchange shortage, according to a new set of guidelines more..

Sri Lanka and the return of geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific

Oct 18 (ORF) The term Indopazifischer Raum (Indo-Pacific Space) coined by German geopolitical thinker Karl Haushofer in 1920, is perhaps the first academic statement on the Indo-Pacific. Haushofer observed the marine space interlinking the two-great civilisations in Asia, India and China, although separated by land by the geography of Tibet. Japan in the Indo-Pacific was identified by Haushofer, who contrived the German-Japan axis during World War II, with their similar interest to defeat Britain more..

Free Trade Zone employees told to keep working as infections rise

Oct 18 (wsws) Sri Lankan authorities extended a police curfew in Gampaha district on Thursday as coronavirus infections climbed in the area, meaning that it now encompasses the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (KFTZ). Tens of thousands of workers are employed in the KFTZ. Last week, the govt imposed a curfew and lockdown in many parts of the same district, which is adjacent to Colombo district, after hundreds of workers at the Brandix Fashion Ware factory in Minuwangoda tested positive. more..

LPL logo launched, all set for player draft

Oct 18 (ST) With the players draft set to take place tomorrow, the Lanka Premier League (LPL) unveiled its official logo yesterday, as official rights holder IPG (Innovative Production Group) is confident of creating a global platform through TV and social media viewership. Anil Mohan, CEO of IPG, confirmed that all five franchises have been already sold and unlike SL Premier League (SLPL), which failed to sustain after a season in 2012, more..

Travel agencies face further shutdowns

Oct 18 (ST) At least half of Sri Lanka’s registered smaller travel agencies have shutdown operations in the aftermath of the outbreak of the coronavirus that has sent tourists packing and locked out visitors. In 2018 there were over 2000 smaller registered travel agencies operating in the country but this year this has reduced to less than 1000, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) President Tilak Weerasinghe told the Business Times. more..

Disproportionate impact of Covid on Sri Lanka’s women

Oct 18 (TM) For months, SL has been celebrated as a nation that succeeded in containing the spread of Covid-19, with authorities repeatedly assuring the public that there was no community spread in the country. However, in early October (4), this illusion was shattered, when a female employee of an apparel factory in Minuwangoda tested positive for Covid-19. Just over a week later, over 1,300 workers and their close contacts had tested positive, increasing the total number of cases in SL more..

India’s elite black cat commandos train PM’s security personnel

Oct 18 (TM) India’s elite federal counter-terrorist force, the National Security Guard (NSG) has trained a select group of personnel attached to the PM’s Security Division (PMSD), the Commando Force Chief S.S. Deswal said on Friday. He said the force has acquired the most modern weapons and equipment to distinguish itself as a world class zero-error force and trained 21 personnel of SL’s PMSD in close protection skills. more..

Kings who won their crowns

Oct 18 (SO) Over the past 42 years, all top Sri Lanka cricketers have commended the exemplary role played by the Observer-Mobitel School Cricketer of the Year. They lavishly praised the role played by Sri Lanka’s flagship English newspaper the Sunday Observer in rewarding tomorrow’s cricketing stars. Here are some of the instances they have commended the Mother of All Shows, sponsored by SLT Mobitel. ICC Chief Match Referee and former SL captain Ranjan Madugalle: more..

First things first

Oct 18 (Island) In the last paragraph of his usually trenchant and insightful presentation on this page today, our regular columnist Rajan Philips socks home a message about what the people of this country want from their leaders at this point in history. He forcefully makes the point that non-delivery of 20A, or even a new constitution, with which the govt is now overly obsessed, will not be held against either the president or his govt saying: “What the people will not forget, or more..

Manhunt on for Bathiudeen

Oct 18 (CT) 3 Venerable Theras - Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera and Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thera who were in the forefront to bring back Rajapaksas to power, on Friday, submitted a strongly worded letter addressed to Prez Rajapaksa urging him to reconsider the decision to ratify the proposed 20th Amendment Bill, introducing necessary amendments before passing it. more..

Unfazed CR&FC willing to face reality

Oct 18 (ST) CR&FC unfazed by the player exodus during the coming season mostly to CH&FC, including last year’s captain Omalka Gunaratne, are confident of attracting a young group of players as they set their sights on marking their centenary in 2022. “It is no different to any other season where players move around. That’s not unusual. We don’t see it as anything exceptional. It is unfortunate that players jump from season to season. If that is the reality then we would have to respond and more..

Sustainability begins with conserving our ancient village water resources

Oct 18 (NIA) One of the problems of modernity could be that we have approached the concept of development totally forgetting or denouncing and being apathetic to our ancient wisdom, indigenous culture and traditional knowledge. We thereby have a kind of life that we have built for ourselves that gathers vast information separated from a holistic core as our ancestors had. We have discarded the salient truth that governed all pre-colonial philosophy and policy rooted in the awareness that more..