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More April Fools you

Apr 1 (FT) In a far more carefree world, today would have been full of light-hearted laughter. COVID-19 has put paid to all the pranks. Even Comedy Central has grown dull with heavy commentary on the mess world politicians are making of a global pandemic. The exceptions to the rule are few. Yesterday, when all our troubles seemed so far away, SL was ahead of a losing game. With a technocratic prez and a militarised bureaucracy in place, we seemed set to flatten SARS-COV-2 as well as rising curve. more..

A Presidential pardon: A dark lining on a silver cloud?

Apr 1 (FT) Sri Lanka, and the entire world, is going through a tumultuous period without any precedents to learn lessons from. COVID-19, a microorganism, has shaken the world. Not even Hiroshima or Nagasaki, the deadliest human catastrophes experienced by humans in living memory, had caused so much worldwide panic, an economic devastation and a social disorientation of the magnitude being experienced by people in 199 countries throughout the world. more..

Price Controls: Who will pay for the Canned Fish and Dhal?

Apr 1 (Roar) M. Gunasiri (50) or Gunež Aiya as he is known, dutifully weighs a kilo of dhal, bags it, and hands it over to the customer, a frail man from the neighbourhood who plucks coconuts for a living, who in turn hands over a crumpled hundred rupee note, collects his change and sets out in the direction of his home. But as Gunasiri attends to his next customer, a thought weighs heavy on his mindó he has just made a loss more..

Is Sri Lanka ready for Covid-19 effect?

Apr 1 (DM) This analysis focuses not on the COVID-19, but on its effect, the author wishes to address a significant thinking gap that is emerging whilst policy makers locally and globally are battling the virus and its immediate aftereffects. COVID-19 will eventually peak at a certain point and the virus will recede yet the enormous disruption it has caused at a mega scale will not. Thus, the world is heading to a point of a total reset, what will be the shape of world trade, finances, geopolitics has become a major more..

Donít let COVID-19 beast invade your mind

Apr 1 (DM) Like so many bad things, COVID-19 or Novel Coronavirus came across as something abstract, unreal, something which canít happen to you. Though its death rate made one think of the Medieval Plague, and three months after we heard of the first Coronavirus patient in this country, it all somehow seemed so far away last week, when the curfew was announced. When that happened, I decided to write a Coronavirus diary for my Face Book page. We were no longer working. more..

Sri Lanka needs rapid expansion of testing

Apr 1 (DM) As we come to the end of the official quarantine period and begin to relax the lockdown within Sri Lanka but keeping the international lockdown in place, we need to look at how the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID -19 behaved in other countries. Based on actual case numbers from the countries given in the graph, Sri Lanka could expect an upsurge in the number of COVID 19 cases in the coming weeks. more..

COVID-19: Malaysian Example

Apr 1 (CT) Ada Derana on Friday reported that Acting IGP has ordered Police stations to ensure that all supermarkets, groceries and pharmacies, except State-run Rajya Osu Sala outlets in the country are to be closed with immediate effect. Quoting Police Media spokesman it said that supermarkets have however been permitted to deliver essential food items to the homes of consumers. Ada Derana further said that pharmacies will be allowed to deliver medicine to homes. more..

CJ 43 flays judiciary in her explosive memoirs

Apr 1 (Island) Actor-turned-politician, former lawmaker Ranjan Ramanayake, received an opportunity to contest the 2020 parliamentary election. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa accommodated Ramanayake on the SJB Gampaha District list despite him facing a heap of litigation, especially those pertaining to serious charges of interfering with the judiciary. Having barred Ramanayake from leaving the country, the UNPer was granted bail by the Nugegoda MC more..

Kamal Gunaratne & Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya

Editorial: Virus and food

Apr 1 (Island) Whoever would have thought a microorganism would put the brakes on the seemingly unstoppable process of globalisation? All countries have walled themselves off and are now hermit kingdoms, just like North Korea, to all intents and purposes. They are frantically guarding their national borders to protect themselves against COVID-19. This kind of hysterical response to the threat is not without a tinge of xenophobia, which is frowned on by the civilised world. more..

Sri Lanka's Trade Policy

Apr 1 (Island) The recent article by the former Director General of Commerce Ms Sonali Wijeratne (Is there a national trade policy for SL?) published in your newspaper illustrates the major problems about the trade negotiations and policy formulation in Sri Lanka. She has apparently written this article to provide "Ö some clarity, truth and also understanding" to the apparent confusion created by the conflict of opinion between the Professional National Front of SL, which vehemently claim more..

GMOA calls for immediate halt to temporary lifting of curfew

Apr 1 (FT) The GMOA has called for an immediate reversal of the decision to lift curfew temporarily, in addition to limiting travel between districts. The GMOA proposed several measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in SL and asked the Govt to take strict decisions on hotspots like the Dambulla Economic Centre and Manning Market. It also requested the Govt to review guidelines to the public on wearing a face mask. more..

Developing Mattala Airport: New pragmattic apporch needed

Apr 1 (Island) Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting held on 27.02.2020 has decided to grant several concessions to airlines operating through Mattala Rajapaksa Int'l Airport (MRIA), with a view to recommencing the Int'l scheduled airline flight operations at the MRIA, based on a paper submitted by the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Among the concessions granted are waving off the embarkation tax, discounts on ground handling charges, supplying fuel at discounted prices. more..

A holistic approach for defeating COVID-19

Apr 1 (DN) The College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka (CCPSL) is the apex professional body for the practice of public health in SL. The CCPSL functions as a strong and informed professional body to advocate promotion and prevention of disease of the people of SL. CCPSL is responsive to the current and emerging public health challenges and conforms to evidence based approaches and principles. The membership consists of specialists in Community Medicine. more..

Covid-19 : Clusters and Stages explained

Apr 1 (DM) In epidemiology, when a greater than expected number of cases of a disease occur in a group of people living or working in the same area, it is called a disease cluster. A disease cluster is a strangely high incidence of a particular disease or disorder in close proximity, in terms of both time and geography. With the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, there have been over 532,263 positive cases reported worldwide. more..

Challenging the status-quo and empowering women in their community

Apr 1 (Island) We all have the power to change things. Weíre all responsible for building a more just and equitable world and in 2020 challenging the stereotypes and being #EachforEqual is what International Womenís Day reminds us. Hereís a story of someone breaking barriers, changing perceptions, and transforming lives. Women account for the majority of the global tourism workforce but tend to work in low-paying, informal and low-status positions. more..

Murali donates generously, urges public to stay home

Apr 1 (Island) Worldís highest wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan has made a generous contribution of Rs. Five million to Govtís efforts to fight COVID-19 epidemic. With the country at a standstill following the island wide curfew, govt has too many things at its hand and Murali hopes his contribution would somewhat ease the burden. "At this hour, the govt can not look at every thing. So it is important that those who can like us help the govt in whatever the way we can. I hope others too will support more..

Face the nation: Covid 19

Sri Lanka inflation falls in March 2020

Apr 1 (EN) SLís 12-month inflation fell to 5.4% in March 2020, from 6.2% in February helped by falling food prices. Colombo Consumer Price Index fell absolutely by 0.9% from 134.6 points to 133.4 points during the month. The food index fell 3.2%, helping bring down the overall index, while non-food continued to grow. CB cut rates and injected large volumes of cash into money markets, despite having a soft-pegged exchange rate, putting the exchange rate under pressure, despite weak pvt credit. more..

SJB opposes bid to form national govt: PM denies claim as baseless

Apr 1 (Island) There were talks between a section of the govt and the UNP to form a national govt, a leading member of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) said. The former MP said that the SJB, led by Sajith Premadasa, wanted Parliament reconvened, but opposed the establishment of a multi-party national administration. "We are willing to help the ruling Podujana Peramuna overcome the crisis caused by coronavirus. But we donít see the need for a national govt," he stressed, more..

Video: Asgiriya, Malwatta chief prelates request all temples to chant Pirith for a week

Apr 1 (AD) The chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters have requested all Buddhist temples in the country to chant Pirith every day for a consecutive week. This request comes as Covid-19 cases tally of SL is on the rise, and the risks of the local outbreak are yet to be eliminated. Chief prelates have also appealed to the general public to join this religious programme from their homes while adhering to the health guidelines of govt. more..

Video: 2,021 have left quarantine centres so far: Army Chief

Apr 1 (AD) Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva says that a total of 2,021 persons, who were quarantined at the facilities maintained by the security forces, have been sent home so far. 16 of the quarantine centres that are under the observation of security forces are now emptied. However, another total of 1,7232 including 9 foreigners are still being quarantined at the rest of the 32 facilities, he added. Another group of persons who have completed the quarantine process more..

15 intruders arrested inside national parks during curfew: 6 rock pythons caught

Apr 1 (Island) Dept of Wildlife Conservation would take legal action against 15 persons, caught inside national parks, on Sunday, while they were closed for visitors. Five suspects were arrested in the Yala National Park and ten others in parks in the Uva Province. The department had also been tipped off on poaching at Lunumgamwera National Park, she said. "Poaching, illegal gem mining and other such illegal activities are high at present, we have employed 2,000 Wildlife officers more..

During the next fortnight: High possibility of COVID-19 cases hitting 3,000: GMOA

Apr 1 (CT) The GMOA has warned that there is a strong likelihood of the number of COVID-19 infected patients rising to 3,000 during the next fortnight. They further warned that if urgent measures are not taken to control the infections nationwide, the country would be forced to watch its citizens succumbing to the deadly virus one by one. GMOA General Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that the main reason for this situation more..

Army to make arrangements to take pensioners to banks

Apr 1 (SLA) The routine Media interaction at the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) at Rajagiriya took place this afternoon (31), headed by Mrs Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Minister of Health, Lt Gen Shavendra Silva, Head of the (NOCPCO), Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, Attorney-at Law Ajith Rohana, DIG of Police and Medical Specialist Dr Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services. more..

Covid-19 deaths: Exclusive cremation says new guideline

Apr 1 (DM) Updated guidelines on Covid-19 related deaths issued by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday state that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the disposing of bodies of those who succumb to coronavirus would exclusively be cremation. The fourth update on the Provisional Clinical Practice Guidelines on COVID-19 suspected and confirmed patients indicate that cremation remains the best practice to avoid further spread of the disease. JMOs across Sri Lanka were issued the SOP more..

Coronavirus count rises to 143, attempted manslaughter mulled for Covid-19 control

Apr 1 (EN) As SLís Coronavirus count spiked by 21 to 143 on March 31, linked to several Covid-19 clusters police said persons who roam around and go to hospital without calling ahead may face manslaughter charges and their residences would be sealed. The newly confirmed Coronavirus patients on Monday were clusters linked to persons who were confirmed. Of the 21, 10 were from Puttalam linked to a person more..

Sri Lanka facilitates free-of-charge online learning for state university students

Apr 1 (EN) SLís state universities will allow students to follow their curriculum from home, free of charge, with the assistance of public and private telecom companies. Cabinet approval has also been granted to convert state-run television channels Channel Eye and Nethra TV to educational TV channels for children, starting next week, minister Bandula Gunawardena told reporters this afternoon. The two channels come under the state-owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC). more..

If we did not have our rice stocks.....

Apr 1 (DM) Calamities and crises have the ability to add rationality and sanity to otherwise capricious human mind. They awaken men to the reality and that nothing else but life itself is the most precious thing in life. Itís not that posh car or the highflying top job or that much awaited cruise to Alaska. What you thought necessary all these years out of greed, is now redundant. Your social status or prestige hardly matters. Being alive and breathing is the most important thing in life. more..

JVP Special Press conference

COVID-19: Are we missing a life lesson here?

Apr 1 (DM) State authorities were human enough to grant us some breathing space between curfew hours. But then we saw people having returned from abroad or people who visited such houses doing visiting rounds: thus exposing scores of others to the dangers of contracting COVID 19. Now the state authorities are infuriated and we hear of orders being given to the security forces personnel to be brutally strict with those who breach curfew laws. In this backdrop we also saw religion playing more..

3 more patients recover from Coronavirus

Apr 1 (AD) Three more COVID-19 patients found in Sri Lanka have been discharged from hospitals after making a complete recovery, says the Ministry of Health. The total number of patients who have recovered from the deadly virus now stands at 21. Accordingly, the current tally of positive cases in the country has dropped to 123. As of 5 p.m. today (1), Sri Lanka had recorded 146 COVID-19 confirmed cases, and in the meantime, 126 suspected patients are under observation at selected hospitals. more..

Sri Lanka extends visas of all foreigners till May 14 over Coronavirus

Apr 1 (EN) The validity of all visas issued to foreigner in Sri Lanka will stand as extended till May 14, under an order issued by the Controller of Immigration. Sri Lanka had earlier extended visas of all foreigners in the island till April 12 and said they could visit the immigration office on April 7 and April 8. Now they are being asked not to come. Any foreigner who had handed over a passport for endorsement, who wishes to leave the island more..

AG urges CJ to cancel HC proceedings scheduled for next two curfew days

Apr 1 (DM) To enhance social distancing and other precautions taken by the govt to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Attorney General has sent a letter to Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasooriya PC today requesting to cancel the Court sittings in the High Court scheduled for the next two curfew days. In the letter, Attorney General Dappula de Livera said that it would be most undesirable to expose officials of the Court, Lawyers, State Counsel, Police and Judges to participate and appear in more..

JVP calls for a national programme

Apr 1 (NR) The JVP says several issues will arise in future, if a national programme is not implemented covering all sectors, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Speaking at a media briefing today Chief Secretary Tilvin Silva said a national programme must be initiated with the intervention of the government in order to contain the present crisis. He added that the common agenda must cover all fields in Sri Lanka including education, health and everyday life. more..

SriLankan suspends flights between 8-21 Apr

Apr 1 (NR) SriLankan Airlines says the Airline is compelled to temporarily suspend all its flights from the 8 of Apr to the 21 of Apr in view of the travel restrictions imposed by the destinations they operate to. SriLankan Airlines stated that the Airline is constantly reviewing the market conditions and the restrictions imposed by the authorities and will be prepared to recommence operations at short notice even before 21 Apr more..

Sri Lanka logistics, export, pharma biz get DIG police Coronavirus hotlines

Apr 1 (EN) SLís acting police chief C D Wickremeratne has appointed senior police officials to clear problems faced by businesses and another Deputy Inspector General had been appointed to help Tamil speaking persons, an official said. DIG Ajith Rohana said any businesses who faced difficulties could get the help of DIGs appointed for each sector. ďThese special officers have been appointed to provide curfew passes and give any other assistance to these essential sectors,Ē more..

Prez discusses economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic with Central Bank officials

Apr 1 (PMD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held a discussion with the Governor of Central Bank and other senior officials to assess the emerging macro-economic conditions due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. The steps taken by the CBSL to manage the operations of the Bank to provide liquidity and access to finance were also discussed during this meeting. President also enquired into the issues connected with the management of Foreign Exchange Budget and external reserves. more..

Video: More quarantined persons leave for homes

Apr 1 (AD) Another group of 100 persons who were directed to quarantine upon arriving on the island from foreign countries have been sent home today. These individuals were quarantined for two weeks at the centres set up in Diyatalawa, Damminna & Punani. Accordingly, a total of 2,121 who were directed to the quarantine process at the facilities maintained by the security forces have left for homes so far. more..

President urges WHO DG to pursue IMF/World Bank debt

Apr 1 (PMD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urged the Director General of WHO to pursue with the int'l financial organizations and lending nations to help developing countries adversely affected by COVID- 19 calamity. In a telephone conversation with WHO DG Tedros Adhanom, Prez requested him to pursue with the Managing Director of the IMF, President of WB, President of ADB and leaders of the leading bilateral lending nations to provide debt moratorium or debt re-profiling facilities for vulnerable more..