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US grants $102,310 in support of COVID-19 response

Jun 19 (DM) USAID has supplied critical medical supplies worth USD $102,310 (Rs 19,054,214) to the Ministry of Health to provide specialist care for high-risk COVID-19 patients requiring maternal and neonatal care. The critical equipment, which will support SL’s COVID-19 response was handed over to Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, by Mr. Martin Kelly, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Colombozz0331906603462162 more..

Hejaaz Hizbullah, The shining young Attorney held incommunicado

Jun 1 (CT) The dreaded Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 (PTA) has been in public discussion ever since it was enacted. It was initially introduced in Parliament as Temporary Provisions vide Section 29 of the Act which read: The provisions of this Act shall be in operation for a period of three years from the date of its commencement. Thereafter, this Temporary Provision paradoxically found a permanent abode, approximating four decades, by virtue of more..

A drama-based approach to develop social responsibility skills

Jun 1 (CT) Following the article I published on 21 May 2020 in the Colombo Telegraph I have received comments, questions and suggestions that indicate an interest among readers in learning more about how to develop social skills through the teaching and learning approaches I referred to in the context of the Sri Lankan classroom. This feedback made me want to share my recent experience in designing and trialling some specific techniques which I believe can be implemented to good effect more..

Gota’s One Country One Law doctrine in shambles: Outrage over Thonda’s...

Jun 1 (CT) A six day funeral for CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman, the SLPP aligned upcountry politico has sparked outrage with thousands of people violating curfew and flouting social distancing regulations in the Hill Country and Colombo to pay respects with the police turning a blind eye to the fiasco. According to figures more than 65,000 people have been arrested throughout the island for violating the quarantine curfew. more..

‘Whoever the rogues in parliament, our fate will be the same’

Jun 1 (ST) Despite familiar wiles of lawyers sacrificing the national interest in favour of (political) clients in cases currently being heard at the Supreme Court leading to sensational headlines that SL’s topmost health officials had waved the green flag for the holding of the country’s 2020 Prez Elections, the truth was not so simple, it so appears. As the somewhat pugnacious interview given to state run TV by the Director General of Health Services Frank Jasinghe disclosed, more..

If COVID will leave Lanka crippled, will debt plague leave Lanka dead?

Jun 1 (ST) First the good news of Lanka’s remarkable recovery from the coronavirus nightmare that once seemed destined never to end but linger on till a sizable number of her people were dead and some of her democratic institutions and functions were crippled. Last week on May 19, the wind of all the legal arguments for holding the polls as planned on June 20 seemed to have been taken out of the sails when Counsel for the Election Commission, in the Election Date case, rose from his seat more..

The corona mystery: Lanka squanders opportunity to head vital body

Jun 1 (ST) The Trump administration has continued to fuel a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus is a biological weapon which leaked out of a laboratory in Wuhan, China. But a credible response to that theory may eventually have to come from the Geneva-based Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) Implementation Support Unit which was to have been chaired by Sri Lanka from Dec 2019 to Nov 2020. more..

America in Chaos!

Jun 1 (CT) A few days ago the American Prez Donald Trump contacted Indian PM Narendra Modi and verified about the tense situation currently prevailing between China and India in the Ladakh region which is located 14,000 ft in the Northern part of the Sub continent. Soon after talking to the Indian PM, Prez Donald Trump had pointed out that the Indian leader remained very unhappy over the military build-up in the Ladakh, as a result of China increasing its military presence in the region more..

Editorial: Pumping up Petromax

Jun 1 (Island) It takes a thief to catch a thief. Sri Lankans seem to go by this saying. When they helped engineer the 2015 regime change by voting against the then UPFA govt, the people thought all thieves in the previous administration would be brought to justice and their ill-gotten wealth confiscated. After all, that was the main campaign slogan of the yahapalana camp. Disillusioned, they voted for the SLPP, 5 years later, in the hope that the rogues in the yahapalana administration more..

Travel Girl: Kadugannawa/ Kuuragala

Death of Thondaman and the passing of an era

Jun 1 (DM) On the evening of May 26, news trickled in that Arumugam Thondaman, the leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress had passed away. The name Thondman is synonymous with the sufferings, plight and subsequent semi-redemption of the most exploited community in this country –the Tea Estate Workers and their struggle to gain basics. Lured from the drought-stricken blazing hot plains of South India, these workers were strangers to the chilly climatic conditions in the hill country. more..

Battle of Jayewardenepura: Salvo Fired from Pita Kotte to Etul Kotte?

Jun 1 (DM) With headquarters located in Pita Kotte and Etul Kotte, and Camped on either side of AlakesvaraRampart, the two factions of UNP have declared war. Ranil faction holds the fort at Pita Kotte junction while Sajith positioned at E. W. Perera Mawatha. [named after national hero Lion of Kotte, who lost to JR Jayewardene at 1947 elections]. Kotte was developed by Nissanka Alakesvara as a military fortress in the late 14th century with inner city or Etul Kotte and an outer city, Pita Kotte. more..

Valuations of sound CSE listed firms attractive for investing: Experts

Jun 1 (FT) Four experts yesterday were unanimous that valuations at the Colombo stock market remain very attractive from a long-term perspective despite the impact of COVID-19, suggesting the time was ideal to buy fundamentally strong listed equities. The four experts were Hong Kong-based Asia Frontier Capital Fund Manager Ruchir Desai, Brandix Group Finance Director Hasitha Premaratne, more..

College of Paediatricians on reopening schools & preventing spread of COVID-19

Jun 1 (Island) The SL College of Paediatricians (SLCP), the foremost academic professional organization of all the Consultant Paediatricians in Sri Lanka, forwards this Position Statement regarding the reopening of schools to optimize adaptation of children to the new normal situation during and following the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent the spread of the disease when mobilization of children accelerates alongside the reopening of schools and other educational institutions. more..

CIDA introduces a revised guideline for construction sites in the setting of COVID-19

Jun 1 (Island) A Health & Safety Guideline prepared by the Construction Industry Development Authority (CIDA) established under the Construction Industry Dev Act No.33 of 2014 was released to the industry recently. The guideline is titled Health and Safety Guidelines for SL Construction Sites to be adopted during COVID-19 outbreak. Releasing this Guideline, CIDA mentions that this is meant to be followed by construction sites operating in SL during the critical observation period of COVID-19. more..

Sports training to resume today

Jun 1 (CT) As per the Sports Ministry's policy decision to resume sports step by step from 1 June, handpicked National Cricketers (men) and track and field athletes will resume their training in Colombo today. All cricketers/athletes have been briefed about preventive measures they have to take, and that they should strictly adhere to the health regulations imposed by the Govt in view of the epidemic. more..

36 schools to receive bowling machines

Jun 1 (SO) As many as 36 schools playing cricket in the top division segment are to be equipped with the latest bowling machines which have already been donated to the first 16 schools by Sri Lanka Cricket. The first donation of the 16 bowling machines were made by SLC president Shammi Silva and the balance 20 have already been ordered and will be made available as soon as possible. It also marks the first time that such state-of-the-art equipment was made by SLC for the enhancement of more..

Chamari Atapattu only player to earn category 'A' contract

Jun 1 (ST) Star woman batsman Chamari Atapattu has been rewarded with a Category A contract with an increased salary cap taking into account her impressive performances over the last several months. Atapattu, the national women’s skipper has been the country’s prolific scorer across all formats in women’s cricket over the last several months. Her unbeaten 78 against England in a World Cup preparation match led Sri Lanka to a shock 10-wicket victory. She also scored a quick-fire 50 more..

Ex-cricket greats face backlash over no-balling new venue

Jun 1 (SO) For years Sri Lanka’s charismatic cricketers have been held in high esteem although doing very little in retirement while regularly hurling brickbats at administrators. But this week one man took them head-on after they opposed the construction of what was drawn up to be the country’s apex stadium in downtown Colombo. Having ready access to the country’s governing hierarchy whenever they desire, four of them apparently led by more..

SLC distributes Rs 50.5 million among members

Jun 1 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has distributed Rs 50.5 million among member clubs as a special grant to help them, following requests made by the clubs seeking financial assistance due to difficulties they face during Covid-19. SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva in an email dated 7 May stated: "It was brought to the attention of the President by the controlling and affiliated clubs, that a special grant be approved in light of the financial difficulties they face due to COVID-19. more..

Defence Ministry confirms no data breach during cyber attack

Jun 1 (TM) Ministry of Defence quoting SL CERT has confirmed that no data breach had occurred during the cyber attack launched on two Govt websites yesterday. “CEO of the CERT|CC Lal Dias said no data breach has occurred in this attempt to deface the websites, ” MoD said in a press statement. “Website defacement is when an attacker changes the visual appearance of the webpage or website. The ultimate goal of these activists was to draw the attention of different audiences more..

Nihal Fonseka and Dr. Dushni Weerakoon resign from Monetary Board

Jun 1 (TM) Former Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman and veteran banker Nihal Fonseka and Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Executive Director Dr. Dushni Weerakoon have submitted their resignation from the Central Bank’s Monetary Board, which is responsible for monetary policy decision-making. The letters of resignation were submitted to Prez Rajapaksa a few days ago & today (31) was their last day on the Board, more..

EU-funded TAMAP concludes studies on local farming practices

Jun 1 (CT) European Union-funded Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Programme (TAMAP), which aims to increase the productivity and efficiency of the agriculture sector through specific interventions recently conducted agricultural value chain analysis studies for horticulture (fruits and vegetables), aquaculture, dairy, apiculture, floriculture, Palmyrah and essential oils. TAMAP conducted a series of workshops and trainings in Kandy and Colombo to more..

CTU complains to WP Governor about cavalier principals

Jun 1 (Island) Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) has written to the Governor of the Western Province, Roshan Goonatilake, about the danger posed to the public by some principals who summon teachers, parents, and students, to schools, in an ad-hoc manner, for no valid reason. "This can potentially expose them to coronavirus. The Ministry of Education closed schools to protect children from the virus but the actions of some principals are undermining this", CTU General Secretary, more..

Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Consultative Committee changed

Jun 1 (TM) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has reconstituted the Monetary Policy Consultative Committee (MPCC), which is in place to enable the Monetary Board to obtain views of the stakeholders of the economy for monetary policy decision making. Only two members of the previous committee, which was in place from 2015 to 2019, have been retained. They are Uni of Colombo Prof of Economics Sirimal Abeyratne, more..

Indication of airport reopening on Aug 1, sends out a strong signal: Sanath Ukwatte

Jun 1 (Island) As the govt has made outstanding progress in the battle against Covid-19, the authorities have indicated that August 1, 2020 could be looked forward to as the date of reopening the BIA for tourists in the safest possible manner, Sanath Ukwatte, President of the Tourist Hotel Association of SL (THASL) said. "It sends a strong signal to the international leisure travel market and holidaymakers that Sri Lanka Tourism is going to be open for business soon and people who are more..

People’s Rights Group expresses concerns on arbitrary arrests, threat to free expression

Jun 1 (FT) People’s Rights Group (PRG), a rights-based advocacy and lobbying group taking up issues relating to human rights violations in SL, in a statement expressed its serious concerns about the recent developments which impinge on the fundamental rights of the citizens, particularly the right to free expression as well as to a due process and a fair trial. It said although these violations have been of a continuing nature, the recent arrests of Ramzy Razeek, a social media activist, more..

Video: Bomber encountered Zion Church pastor on the day of attack, PCoI hears

Jun 1 (AD) PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks heard emotional testimonies from attendees of the Zion Church’s Easter Sunday services where they described several interactions with the bomber prior to the fatal incident. Pastor of Zion Church Ganeshamurthy Thirukumar revealed that on the morning of 21 April 2019, an unfamiliar person was observed loitering within the church premises. more..

CID probes NGOs registered without due process

Jun 1 (DM) The CID has initiated investigations into NGOs which have been registered during the term of the previous govt without following the due procedures, an official said yesterday. Director General of the National NGO Secretariat Raja Gunaratne said that NGOs had been registered without looking into their funding sources and projects. He said the CID had started investigations into some of them. Besides, he said his office also started inquiries against some other NGOs. more..

LTTE lobby’s genocide call resurfaces in Canadian Parliament

Jun 1 (SO) A senior academic of SL descent has sought permission to make submissions on a Private Bill which allegedly labels SL’s end of war as a genocide against Tamils, in the Legislative Council of Ontario. Neville Hewage, a research fellow at Laurentian Uni, Ontario has challenged the legality, factual correctness and overall credibility of the Private Bill. Bill themed Tamil Genocide Education Week. is up for third reading at the Legislative Council of Ontario in the coming days. more..

Video: Soysapura shooting attack on restaurant traced to an underworld leader

Jun 1 (AD) STF on Saturday arrested a suspect, linked to an underworld gang, in connection with the recent shooting attack on a restaurant in the area of Soysapura in Moratuwa. The arrest was made in the area of Eluwila in Panadura. The suspect, identified as Janith Hashan Wimalaweera alias Konda Janiya, is a resident of Angulana, Moratuwa. It was revealed that he is a close associate of underworld gang leader Angulane Anju. more..

PUCSL to resolve inquiries online

Jun 1 (AD) Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL) says it is ready to resolve the electricity consumer complaints and address stakeholder issues via online and requests the public and the stakeholders to use the online platforms to contact the Commission. Accordingly, the consumers can call the PUCSL and submit complaints and inquiries via 0112392607 or 0112392608 from Monday to Friday between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm. Further, the complaints and inquiries can be forwarded more..

'Economic slowdown, a temporary phase'

Jun 1 (SO) Covid-19 induced economic slowdown will be a short-lived scenario as the third and fourth quarter will record a growth between 2.5-3% providing some impetus to the economy to take off next year, said Secretary to the Treasury, S.R. Attygalle, responding to remarks made by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who urged the Govt last week to expose the real state of the economy and how it plans to service the burgeoning external debt. more..

Sri Lanka fears new coronavirus outbreak after funeral breaks curfew

Jun 1 (AFP) SL authorities fear a fresh outbreak of coronavirus infections after thousands of mourners paid their respects to the body of a respected union leader on Saturday, defying a curfew and social distancing rules. Large crowds were seen jostling to bid farewell to Arumugam Thondaman, the leader of a tea plantation union and a govt minister. The 55-year-old died of a heart attack on Tuesday and more..

Thondaman’s funeral: PHIs want legal action against disrupters

Jun 1 (Island) Public Health Inspectors Union of SL, warned that legal action would be taken against those who organised the funeral proceedings of former Minister Arumugam Thondaman, if any person who had taken part in the festivities became infected with coronavirus. "We received information that someone, connected to the Thondaman family, has called the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, and attempted to intimidate him," President of PHIs’ Union, Upul Rohana said. more..

Sri Lanka confirms 11th COVID-19 death; total count at 1,633

Jun 1 (AD) Sri Lanka has reported the 11th death from the COVID-19 infection, the Ministry of Health confirmed a short while ago. The deceased is said to be a 45-year-old male who had arrived in the country from Kuwait. He had been treated for the virus at Homagama Hospital where he succumbed to the disease. Meanwhile, the total count of coronavirus cases reported in the country is at 1,633. Currently, 822 active cases are under medical care at selected hospitals across the country, more..

Minister Thondaman’s concern for plantation workers will be addressed: PM

Jun 1 (DN) The Thondamans are closely intertwined with the hearts of people in the plantation sector. Arumugam Thondaman, following the footsteps of his grandfather Samuyamurthi Thondaman was committed for the service of people in the plantation sector, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said. PM was speaking at the funeral of late Minister Arumugam Thondaman at the Thondaman ground in Norwood yesterday. more..

Schools after COVID-19: Finding a middle path

Jun 1 (FT) As lockdown restrictions ease, conversations on school education mainly consider two questions – how to reopen schools, and how to teach remotely (at least until schools can reopen) to students at home. While even partially reopening schools is a challenge for every country, the situation in SL is compounded by our system of elite schools; not only do their large populations increase transmission risk within the school, but their large catchment areas with many students more..

What can be done about Sri Lanka’s low internet use despite low prices?

Jun 1 (FT) A great majority of users in Sri Lanka access the internet through mobile networks. Therefore, it is important to examine data on the pricing of mobile broadband plans. The UN body responsible for telecommunication, the International Telecommunication Union, collects, analyses, and reports comparative data on prices and affordability. Its latest report has just been published, showing that Sri Lanka’s prices are lowest for Asian middle-income countries, and the world. more..

Daya Ratnayake