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Sri Lanka at risk of losing Japanese tea market over controversial weedicide use

Nov 28 (Island) Sri Lanka is risking losing tea exports to Japan due to the use of alternative weedicides to glyphosate. This had led to us possibly losing the Japanese market, which is considered one of the top ten export destinations for Sri Lanka, industry sources said. "Japan being a critical buyer has already threatened total suspension of Ceylon Tea on account of these alternatives, CEO Asia Siyake Anil Cook said. more..

IGP will provide statement on media outlet raid: Bandula

Nov 28 (TM) Acting IGP will provide a statement on the raid which took place at a media outlet, Cabinet Spokesperson Bandula Gunerawarndana said. He was responding to a question posed by the Media on a police raid that took place at the premises of News Hub, a web news agency. The media agency was raided by the police using a search warrant which was reportedly outdated. The media also inquired about News Reader Sanjaya Danushka of being questioned by the CID. more..

Can Modi & Gotabaya build bridges of trust?

Nov 28 (AA) Within days of his election SL Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa will visit New Delhi on Friday (29), his first trip abroad. SL leaders in the past have often done so to convey the importance they attach to their country’s ties with India. External affairs minister S. Jaishankar also underscored this by making an unscripted visit to Colombo on Nov 19, the day after the new Prez was sworn in. Besides his extensive experience in dealing with Sri Lanka as foreign secretary, more..

What’s it like to be SL’s first whale biologist?

Nov 28 (Forbes) SL is an island nation with more than 8000 square miles of territorial waters, home to 29 documented species of marine mammals, including five large whale species – but until Asha de Vos came along, very little was known about these creatures. Not only is De Vos the first Sri Lankan to achieve a Phd in marine mammal research and the founder and director of Oceanswell, SL's first marine conservation more..

Professionals called on to head Govt. agencies and SOEs

Nov 28 (FT) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s new administration invited proposals from experienced professionals, both in SL and elsewhere, to be considered as chairpersons and board members of regulatory and State agencies. According to a public newspaper notice published by Secretary to the Prez Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, the Prez Secretariat has called for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from experienced professionals to be considered for appointment to regulatory & promotional more..

Two fmr Ministers behind incarceration of Intel Officers: Maj Prasanna

Nov 28 (CT) Convener of Mawbima Wenuwen Ranawiruwo, Major Ajith Prasanna said certain Parliamentarians, Judges, officials of the Attorney General's (AG) Department, the CID and the Tamil Diaspora were linked to the imprisonment of Intelligence Officers during the previous regime. He claimed that he was prepared to reveal the names of such persons while giving evidence before a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, if one is set up by the Govt to get to the bottom of the issue. more..

Murali denies Governor offer

Nov 28 (Island) Cricket legend Muttiah Muralitharan denied reports that he had been offered the post of Governor of the Northern Province. There were reports that Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa had offered Muralitharan the Governor’s post. "These are rumours and there has been no discussion whatsoever on the matter. It is a responsible position and it has to be someone with political acumen and experience," he said. more..

Ericsson to power Sri Lanka’s 5G experience

Nov 28 (ST) The changing power of connectivity is empowering people, fashioning an environment that fosters innovation, and is prompting real change in business processes and in the global economy. Into the future, few things in life are certain, but one of them seems to be connectivity through 5G being the platform to build and accelerate SL’s digitalisation which is regarded as the key to its economic growth. The fifth generation of cellular network technology (5G) will transform the world and more..

Prez likely to prorogue parliament

Nov 28 (DM) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is likely to prorogue parliament soon to begin a new session along with his maiden speech to the House, Daily Mirror learns. Otherwise, parliament is supposed to have its session scheduled for Dec 3, 2019. The govt leaders who met at the residence of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday and discussed the need to prorogue parliament. The Prez can prorogue parliament through a proclamation in terms of Article 70 of the Constitution. more..

Tax bonanza

Nov 28 (FT) The first Cabinet meeting presided over by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa approved an extensive stimulus package mostly centred on slashing VAT to 8% from 15%, to give relief to major sectors and boost much-needed economic growth. Newly-appointed Cabinet spokesmen Ministers Bandula Gunawardena and Ramesh Pathirana told reporters that the tax reduction package would come into effect from 1 Dec, more..

Jaywalkers beware

Nov 28 (DN) The Police Department will fine pedestrians who do not use the pedestrian crossings and instead cross roads arbitrarily. Therefore, the police will nab such offenders and produce them before a court of law. Traffic DIG Lalith Pathinayake said people will be made aware that crossing the road other than at specified pedestrian crossings is a punishable offence.These awareness programmes would be held until Dec 31 and the law prohibiting pedestrians from crossing roads at more..

President to leave for India today

Nov 28 (AD) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to set off on his first overseas visit today (28) after taking office as the Head of the State. He will be leaving for India for a two-day visit in keeping with the invitation extended by Indian PM Narendra Modi. President Rajapaksa is set to meet Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and PM Modi for bilateral discussions. Prez Secretary P.B. Jayasundara Secretary to Foreign Ministry Ravinatha Aryasinha, Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle more..

Video: Will enact Bill to protect public officers performing duties: PM

Nov 28 (AD) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged to enact a Bill to protect public servants who perform their duties. The Premier made these remarks as he assumed duties as the Minister of Water Supply Housing Facilities today (27). He also stated that the existing procedure that brings such public officers before the judiciary or the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) when they perform their duties. more..

Pavithra keeps watchful eye on ex-SPC head under a cloud

Nov 28 (Island) Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi stated that she was keeping a close eye on former Chairman of State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) Rumi Mohammed and that he wouldn't be allowed to leave the country until the investigations on his alleged irregularities were complete. She said that Mohammed faced many allegations of irregularities about the import and distribution of medicines and it had been brought to her attention that he might try to leave SL. more..

Swiss condemn attack on Sri Lankan embassy worker

Nov 28 (BBC) Switzerland has summoned the Sri Lankan ambassador and demanded an inquiry after a local embassy employee was detained and threatened in Colombo. Swiss officials said unidentified men tried to force the woman to disclose embassy-related information. The incident came after a top Sri Lankan police officer left, reportedly to seek asylum in Switzerland. It is thought he feared for his safety after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected president earlier this month. more..

Revamping mission; Ranil to meet UNP groups: Akila

Nov 28 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is to meet the party MPs in small groups to review the presidential election results and to decide on revamping the party, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. He told the media that Party Leader Wickremesinghe will have a series of discussions with groups of UNP MPs to review the results of the recent elections and on how to revamp the party. more..

‘For every child, every right’

Nov 28 (DM) Last week on Wednesday (20), the UN marked Universal Children’s Day. Earlier known as World Children’s Day, it was renamed in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day with the intention of promoting “international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide and improving children’s welfare”. It was on Nov 20, 1959 that the UNGA adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and on Nov 20, 1989 the UNGA adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. more..

Education System: is it future-ready?

Nov 28 (DM) All prez candidates came up with plans for the country. Rosy pictures were painted. Promises galore there were. Some of the plans were pragmatic, some idealistic and some downright silly. In all, without exception, there was talk of the future. Futures are envisioned and policies are designed to turn vision into reality. That’s the overall picture. Identifying flaws and suggesting ways and means of fixing this or that is part of the story, but without an overall frame that could more..

Will India bail out Sri Lanka in Geneva?

Nov 28 (DM) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa does not wear traditional Kurahan satakaya (red coloured shawl) which is part of the family’s traditional attire. All the other members of the Rajapaksa family in politics stick to this dress code, but Prez Rajapaksa is an exception. President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa looks different to other Rajapaksas not only in terms of his dress code, but also his policies and approach. more..

‘We’re like the emperor without clothes, blind to our nudity’

Nov 28 (DM) Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, one of the three members of the Election Commission of SL, which played a vital role in the recently concluded elections, agreed to discuss some of the questionable areas relating to the commission’s role. An engineer and academic by profession, Hoole serves as a professor of electrical engineering at Michigan State Uni. A brave fighter for truth and justice and social activist more..

Lakvijaya: Poor coal quality a major cause of environment pollution

Nov 28 (ST) Lack of attention to the quality of coal has been a major cause of environmental problems at the Lakvijaya power plant, the National Audit Office (NAO) says in its recent annual report. The opinion adds weight to conclusions released in May this year by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) that sulphur dioxide concentration from unit 1 and 2 of Lakvijaya exceeds the maximum permissible level and more..

Sri Lanka to expedite development of East Container Terminal of Colombo Port

Nov 28 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's new Minister of Roads, Highways, Ports and Shipping Johnston Fernando said that the new govt aims to expedite the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port in order to boost container throughput. During a meeting held at the Ports Ministry auditorium here, Fernando asked port officials to submit detailed reports on actions that should be taken to develop the ECT. more..

Committee to make recommendations for top posts in State institutions

Nov 28 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a committee consisting of six members to recommend qualified professionals for the topmost positions in State institutions, says the PMD. This committee is required to submit its recommendations for the leading posts at public enterprises, state institutions, and state-owned commercial enterprises on or before the 18th of Dec this year. more..

Video: Train services on Northern Line further disrupted

Nov 28 (AD) The railway services on the Northern line continue to be interrupted over the derailment of the Yal Devi train, yesterday. The reparation of the railway line is expected to be completed soon. Five compartments of the Yal Devi train derailed between the Galgamuwa and Ambanpola stations, last evening. The incident has caused major damages to the railway line. Nearly 250 meters of railway line has been damaged more..

Delaying Hambantota LNG plant under Ranil’s orders

Nov 28 (DN) The Electricity Users’ Association has lodged a complaint with the Bribery and Corruption Commission against the Yahapalana Govt for causing a loss of Rs 3,360 billion to the country. This is by surreptitiously delaying the construction of the most profitable LNG electricity project which had been systematically and legally approved by 2015. The complaint lodged by Electricity Users’ Association Convenor more..

Tax cuts to give impetus to stronger corporate earnings: CAL

Nov 28 (AD) Capital Alliance Securities (CAL) research in a note to investors stated that the number of tax reliefs, which were announced at the first cabinet meeting under the newly elected SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is likely to trigger an immediate and substantial boost in consumer spending. However, given the extent of the cut, especially in VAT and NBT, the research unit believes that the devil might be in the details. more..

Govt will fully cooperate with the Swiss Embassy

Nov 28 (TM) The Govt has re-affirmed its commitment to Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961), following the incident concerning the alleged kidnapping and questioning of a local staff member of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo. “The Govt of SL takes this opportunity to reaffirm unequivocally its commitment to give effect to the obligations undertaken as a State Party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations more..

Speaker asks UNP to arrive at consensus on Opp. Leadership

Nov 28 (RN) Seemingly contradicting his position yesterday that he recognised UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Opposition Leader, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya issued a statement today calling for the UNP to resolve its internal disagreements on the matter. This is in the wake of a letter handed over to Jayasuriya yesterday with the signatures of 57 UNF MPs requesting him to recognise former UNP more..

Cops go Green

Nov 28 (CT) Among the most commendable actions of the new administration is reviving the Police Environmental Division (PED). This move has been lauded by nearly all sections of the public who had seen this pristine island slowly succumbing to pollution. The citizenry agree that it's not just society that needs protection, and that policing also applies to the environment as well. For the longest time, our cities have been ravaged by pollution by way of single use plastics, sludge, vehicle exhaust more..

O/L exam begins next Monday

Nov 28 (Island) This year's GCE O/L Examination commences on Dec 2, with 717,008 candidates sitting the exam at 4,987 examination centres countrywide. There are 433,050 school candidates and 283,958 private ones. There were 541 exam coordinating centres countrywide, Commissioner General of Examinations, Sanath Poojitha said. The examination will be held until Dec 12. The admission cards have already been mailed to the private applicants sitting the examination. more..

Shamindra Ferdinando & Indrajith Aponso

Strict action against who use President’s name for profit

Nov 28 (AD) President’s Media Division stated that they have received reports of some fraudulent individuals and groups are trying to mislead the public by suggesting that they have close ties with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. PMD stated that such fraudsters mislead the public by telling them that they could help with various positions, appointments and tenders. The statement points out that there have been instances when some such fraudulent individuals have even expressed more..

Sri Lanka to sell rice stocks at controlled prices through state retail outlets

Nov 28 (EN) Finance Ministry said paddy stocks stored in govt warehouses will be milled and sold through state-owned Sathosa retail outlets at the maximum retail price to ensure no shortages in the forthcoming festive season. The paddy stocks had been bought from farmer in the last ‘Maha’ or main harvest and stored in Paddy Marketing Board warehouses. Private millers selected by govt district secretaries will convert the paddy into rice according to a decision taken at a finance ministry more..

Providing Suraksha Insurance scheme, tabs suspended

Nov 28 (DM) Govt has decided to temporarily halt the provision of the Suraksha Insurance scheme and tabs for school students, until a proper probe into the alleged misappropriations were carried out, Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardana said today. He mentioned at a news briefing that Education Minister Dullas Alahapperuma had sought the cabinet approval for this suspension. “It is appropriate to carry out a proper probe into more..

For an educated society: Using ISIS in Sri Lankan education system

Nov 28 (FT) Students do not like to go to school. Ask the average parent whether their child, if given a choice, would rather go to school or stay at home. The answer is straightforward. So, what seems to be the problem in the school system that children loathe? Are teachers not teaching effectively? Are the subjects boring to listen to? Are schools like prisons? We could easily think that the above are all part of the problem of our current education system. Some like John Holt would rather close down more..

Suspects in Mawanella Buddhist statues vandalism case further remanded

Nov 28 (AD) The 14 suspects arrested for allegedly vandalizing several Buddhist statues in Mawanella area have been further remanded till Dec 12th. The Mawanella Magistrate delivered the order the when the suspects were produced before the court today. During today’s hearing, the magistrate had granted permission to the request made by the CID to probe the SIM cards used by the suspects in this case. The 14 suspects including three women were taken into custody following the investigations more..

Video: IT sector to be exempt from all taxes: Bandula

Nov 28 (AD) The Information and Technology sector will be made exempt from all taxes, says Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena. He announced this addressing a media briefing this evening. Speaking further he said, accordingly all taxes imposed on the IT sector have been revoked. The IT sector is the only field that was made exempted from all taxes including income taxes, VAT & NBT, Minister said. more..

'Tamil signboards defaced to stall Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa's India visit'

Nov 28 (PTI) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered a probe into the defacing of Tamil-language street signboards, asserting that the heinous move was aimed at disrupting the Nov 29 India visit of his brother and the country's Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa. PM instructed the officials on Monday to put up the Tamil signboards again and called for the immediate arrest of those involved in the acts of vandalism. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday told some of his confidantes that he believed the recent more..

Video: We will stand with correct decisions of govt: Mahesh

Nov 28 (AD) Former Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake stated that, as civil organizations, they would support the correct decision made by the govt. 2019 Prez Election candidate mentioned this at a press conference. He says that, no matter what the govt is, the President is appointed by the people. He said: “Therefore, as civil organizations, we stand with the President. We, civil organizations, will stand with the govt at decisions, actions, and events that will fulfill people’s wishes.” more..

Easter Sunday probe: Commission likely to be reconstituted soon

Nov 28 (Island) The Special Presidential Commission Inquiring into the Easter Sunday attacks is expected to be reconstituted soon. The SLPP assured the electorate in the run-up to the Nov 16 prez poll that it would immediately appoint a fully fledged commission after the Prez election. In terms of the Prez Commissions of Inquiry law (Act 04 of 1978), Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa could reconstitute the five-member SP CoI more..