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Makandure Madush, A criminal enterprise?

Nov 1 (CT) Makandure Madush died the way he lived, violently, controversially. According to what is being said by the police spokesmen, Madush who had been in police custody for a few months now, had volunteered information about a drug den. Despite his long absence from the country, he was sure the location would yield incriminating evidence, and had agreed to lead the police there. We do not know whether their long investigative training decided the time of the raid; in the wee hours more..

Curiouser and curiouser

Nov 1 (Island) The Diana Gamage defection from the SJB becomes curiouser and curiouser by the day if we may borrow from Alice in Wonderland. Apart from murdering Shakespeare, the question of the good lady’s citizenship has also arisen in reports bruited around in the social media. These have alleged that she has been listed as a British citizen in the Company Registry in the UK and also that her British driving license recorded her as British citizen resident in the UK. more..

'Covid-19: Govt ready to handle any situation'

Nov 1 (SO) The govt is geared to contain the spread of the killer virus but it also needs the support of all people to achieve this goal, Head of the National Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19 Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva said last week said. Q: How did the second wave spread this fast during a short period of time? A: The first Covid-19 case was reported in March with the start of the first wave. Now the virus has spread more..

Covid-19: The media’s role

Nov 1 (SO) There is saturation media coverage on the latest Coronavirus outbreak in the country. This is understandable, given the competitive nature of the media business all over the world. But one can see really alarmist headlines in almost all local newspapers and TV news bulletins such as “Covid passes 9,000 mark, Covid Second Wave begins, Hospitals overflowing with patients” etc which can create more panic among the public. What is often not mentioned in these reports is that more..

A constitution for a third Republic? Time to imagine a better Republic for Sri Lanka

Nov 1 (GV) The govt has taken steps to draft a new constitution, which is likely to replace the existing constitution in toto, including its recently passed 20th Amendment. Thus, a Third Republican Constitution is underway for SL. To what extent the Third Republican Constitution would be different from the Second is not yet clear. Prez and constitutional experts in his team have not yet shared with the people any basic ideas which they might have for a new Republic or a new constitution. more..

'Govt to introduce draft for new Constitution within six months'

Nov 1 (SO) State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya said although the former Yahapalana Govt talked much about constitutional reforms during their four-and-a-half-year tenure they failed to put forward a draft of constitutional reforms. Even the proposals of the majority party, the UNP at that time were not put forward. State Minister said he did not think the former Govt had a true intention to introduce a new Constitution. more..

The second wave Covid tsunami

Nov 1 (ST) Entire system of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic has now got heavily overloaded. Govt continues to put up a brave front maintaining that the virus has not yet spread to the community at large, and is still at the cluster stage. Various reasons are trotted out for the recent spike in positive cases. One is that more tests are being done. However, there is a combination of other factors. Medical professionals concede, privately, the holding of mass rallies for Parliamentary elections more..

Something wicked comes this way

Nov 1 (ST) My dear Basil maama, I am writing to you to congratulate you on achieving the near impossible, getting the 20th Amendment to the Constitution passed when it looked like you would fall one or two votes short of a two thirds majority. Regardless of others who take the credit, we know it was you who was responsible for that. Your task was made easier by the coronavirus. Strangely, the virus seems to come to the rescue of the pohottuwa chaps whenever they need it. more..


Pompeo’s visit and America’s pandemic election

Nov 1 (CT) No one in America would have noticed their roving Secretary of State taking off on an official visit to Asia during the last week of the current presidential election campaign. For that matter, even in Asia far more people would be following the US election than paying attention to Mike Pompeo’s visit to their countries. In India especially, there is likely to be a very keen interest in the US election if only because Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, more..

Managing Sports in the Pandemic; a thought process!

Nov 1 (ST) At a time when knockdowns and spectator bans are applied across the world, the challenge to keep sports relevant and in the public eye is a challenge that most administrators must be wary of. You can plan all you want, only to be scuttled by health authorities whose primary and all-encompassing task is to keep us alive! So, no conflict with that but how does one keep a modicum of life afloat and bring sports alive, so people at large have something worth looking forward more..

Will Prez Rajapaksa be able to withstand pressure from three Superpowers?

Nov 1 (CT) Sri Lanka, in the past few days, was evidently caught in a competition between two rivals who are determined to show their superiority. World superpowers US and China were openly exchanging snide remarks against each other over this sovereign State, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led delegation arrived in the island. This exchange, however was compared by many Sri Lankans to that of a competition more..

The foreign policy challenge

Nov 1 (TM) According to an old African proverb, it is the grass that suffers when elephants decide to fight. The grass on this side of the Indian Ocean region has remained relatively undisturbed for the better part of the past few decades and as a result, the region as a whole has enjoyed a degree of economic prosperity, second only to the Far East in recent times. This unfortunately has aroused the interest of at least three ravenous elephants that have been happily grazing in other corners more..

The need for a new Constitution

Nov 1 (Island) As in March/April this year, Covid-19 has once again eclipsed everything else with a fresh outbreak more virulent than the previous one. As this issue hits the news stands, a curfew prevails over the Western Province. On a daily basis, anything between 250 to 500 or more new patients are being discovered. The quarantine centers are full and new systems are being introduced by requiring suspected cases to quarantine at home. The health authorities are keeping the public informed more..

Govt to miss lowered tax target

Nov 1 (TM) Barring a miraculous late surge, the Govt will fall well short of even its reduced tax revenue target for 2020, with only about half of the revised target met by the end of the third quarter of 2020. IRD Commissioner General Nadun Guruge said last week that while the target set for the year was Rs. 613 billion, by 30 Sept, only about Rs. 327 billion was raised compared to Rs. 597 billion raised in the first 3 quarters of 2019. more..

Trump sends confidential message to Prez

Nov 1 (TM) The highlight of last week was US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s brief official visit to Sri Lanka. During the visit, he met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and there was much excitement leading up to Pompeo’s visit due to its timing and the pending US MCC Compact, as well as SL’s growing financial dependency on China. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa was a notable absentee in Pompeo’s agenda for meetings during his visit. more..

Sri Lanka bowling coach Saker linked with Warwickshire

Nov 1 (ST) English county Warwickshire is in talks with Sri Lanka’s bowling coach David Saker to appoint him as head coach after Jim Troughton was sacked as head coach following a review into their disappointing season. Saker who lived near Birmingham when he was England’s bowling coach and has previously been linked with the role is a strong contender, reported. “It is also understood he has had contact with the club in recent weeks,” the website reported. more..

LPL faces road block from stubborn health authorities

Nov 1 (ST) With exactly three weeks to go before the start of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), organisers are like deer caught in the headlights: There is no Govt clearance yet to host the tournament. SLC has sent a list of 140 names including foreign players, production crew and other stakeholders, for visa clearance. However, Sunday Times can confirm there has been no approval yet. 5-team event is scheduled to start on Nov 21 more..

While reducing high penal interest rates: Comprehensive master plan for...

Nov 1 (CT) Central Bank is currently reviewing the regulatory landscape and business models of the distressed Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) sector, to launch a sector consolidation mission from next year, top CBSL officials, Assistant Governor in charge of the NBFI J.P.R. Karunaratne and Director of the Department of Supervision of Non-Bank Financial Institutions J.D.S.J. Nanayakkara, said. “We believes NBFIs should look at their synergies and advantages including enhancing more..

The Seen and the Unseen-7: Dr. Kenneth De Zilwa new CBSL Deputy Governor?

Nov 1 (CT) After the present govt was formed there have been several interventions in the traditional pattern of governance at the Central Bank of SL (CBSL). First was the appointment of Prof W.D. Lakshman, 78, as CBSL Governor. With many now working into their 70s globally, it was not his age that caught one’s attention but that he was a retired veteran academic, some would say an outstanding one, but with hardly any professional experience either in govt policy making or private sector more..

Murali hopeful the show must go on...

Nov 1 (SO) Former SL cricketing great Muttiah Muralitharan says a planned film about his life will be released, despite a massive backlash in south India which caused the lead actor to quit. "I've been in so many controversies, not just cricketing. I have got through hurdles. This is just one of the many challenges I've faced," said the 48-year-old of the uproar around the film. A member of SL's minority Tamils, Muralitharan defied more..

'Mulleriyawa PCR machine fixed by Monday'

Nov 1 (AD) The malfunctioning PCR machine at the Mulleriyawa Hospital can be restored by Monday (2), stated the Chinese Embassy in SL. The broken PCR machine caused considerable delays in the PCR testing process of Sri Lanka and technicians from the Republic of China arrived in the country. Posting a message on Twitter, the Chinese Embassy says that the component for Automated Molecular Extraction of the machine has partly deviated while the main machine is working as normal. more..

Volleyball enters a new phase

Nov 1 (SO) The SL Volleyball Federation (SLVF) is seeking to obtain the services of two coaches from China to train the national men’s and women’s teams and the Sports Ministry has consented to support the move. Earlier, two Cuban coaches were in charge of the two national teams that participated at the last South Asian Games held in Nepal last December. They had to be content with only bronze medals from Nepal. According to the World rankings the SL women’s team is ranked 71 while more..

SL cricket agents in Australia under scanner

Nov 1 (TM) Reports have emerged in Australia that dodgy agents are demanding thousands of dollars from overseas players to help them secure visas while allegedly doctoring players’ profiles so they can gain entry to Australia. “A Herald Sun special investigation has revealed that overseas players have been asked to hand over up to AUD 10,000 (Rs. 1.29 million) to Australian agents as payment to help (them) obtain visas and more..

'Budget 2021 will be development oriented'

Nov 1 (SO) The 2021 Budget will focus on macroeconomic fundamentals such as debt protection, boosting foreign reserve and strengthening the Rupee, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. The govt will also focus on facilitating new ventures with substantial investments through its first budget that will be presented in Parliament on Nov 17, he said. “We as a govt focus on maintaining a healthy business environment, job creation and addressing national issues. more..

ADB steps in to meet Sri Lanka’s funding gap

Nov 1 (ST) Negotiations are underway with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and some other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to tackle the country’s economic woes arising of the COVID-19 pandemic, official sources said. SL is still to receive the substantial funding from MDBs as at the end of July. These institutions have so far pledged US$386 million to the country. Govt is seeking $165 million from the ADB under its budgetary support programme amid already high public debt more..

Weak handling of pandemic: BT poll shows

Nov 1 (ST) Most of the respondents in a Business Times (BT) poll on the Govt’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic have commended the first steps taken by the authorities to contain the virus but said the latest response was inadequate. The poll conducted by the BT amongst its wide readership and others, revealed what most people feared: That the govt’s handling of the pandemic at the inception was exemplary but somewhere thereafter, more..

SAGT on strike, loss over Rs.200 m

Nov 1 (ST) South Asia Gateway Terminal (SAGT) at the Colombo Port has not been operational since Monday night due to a strike action launched by workers resulting in a revenue loss of Rs.220 million in tariff rates for the month with a possible loss of 30,000 TEUs. A revenue loss of Rs.220 million for the month is likely to be incurred as a result of the strike action due to a loss of about 30,000 TEUs, SAGT CEO Romesh David said. Workers have been complaining of working on the 7am to 7pm more..

Namal appoints committees, committees, and more committees

Nov 1 (TM) Committees, committees, and more committees…National Sports Councils, the National Sports Selection Committee, the Appeal Advisory Committee, and now a High Performance Committee. Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Namal Rajapaksa has made it clear that he is ambitious in driving SL’s sports towards a profitable industrial structure, which is going to be worth $ 1 billion during his five-year tenure. His agile approach during the height of a debilitating pandemic more..

Video: Dangerous to roam around before PCR results are in: GMOA

Nov 1 (ST) It is perilous for persons who are awaiting their PCR test results to be moving within the society, says the GMOA. Dr. Haritha Aluthge, editor of GMOA, stated that such incidents are being reported from all over the island. He said: “There is a delay of about a week when these PCR results come in. In some places, just 4-5 days. This is a natural situation all over SL when there are around 20,000 PCR samples to be tested. more..

WHO says COVID vaccine only in mid-2021, Sri Lanka applies for it

Nov 1 (ST) Sri Lanka is one among 180 countries that have signed up for a COVID-19 vaccine from the WHO, but the UN agency has said it won’t be available till the middle of next year. The vaccine is still in trial stage. “…We expect doses to begin arriving in countries in the middle of 2021 (second or third quarter),” said Sahani Chandraratne, the WHO’s Health Promotion, and Communications Officer. Health Minister Pavithra Wanniaarachchi told Parliament earlier that WHO had informed more..

India to manage ECT operations at the Colombo Port

Nov 1 (ST) Sri Lanka has decided that India’s Adani Group will handle management of the East Container Terminal (ECT) operations. Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) sources have indicated that authorities have conceptualized the operations of the ECT by handing over management of the terminal to the Indian government-preferred Adani Group which will have a 49 per cent stake along with its local partner – John Keells Holdings. SLPA will hold 51 per cent of the stake. more..

SC bench to be expanded from 11 to 17; CA 12 to 19

Nov 1 (ST) The Govt is fast-tracking the expansion of the Supreme Court bench from 11 justices to 17 under an amendment that was moved at the Committee Stage of the 20th Amendment. Court of Appeal bench will be increased from the present 12 justices to 19. Justice Minister Ali Sabry said that Parliamentary Council would have to be put in place first to facilitate this expansion of the country’s appellate courts. more..

Ministry revises discharge criteria as COVID cases rise

Nov 1 (ST) As the numbers affected by COVID-19 rose drastically this week, the Health Ministry on Friday revised its discharge criteria from isolation facilities and hospitals for asymptomatic (without symptoms) and mildly-symptomatic patients respectively. The ministry has decided to do away with the mandatory RT-PCR testing which should be negative before discharge. However, for discharge, asymptomatic patients have to fulfil the requirement of passing 14 days after being tested positive more..

Sri Lanka finds 239 new Covid-19 cases from 12,000 Coronavirus tests

Nov 1 (EN) Sri Lanka has confirmed 239 Covid-19 patients from 12,000 Coronavirus tests Conducted on Oct 31, official data showed as active cases in hospitals topped 6,000 as more capacity was built. SL completed 12,000, Coronavirus tests, the highest daily tests so far, as an expert from China was fixing another machine which will boost output further. SL’s Coronavirus deaths rose to 20 on Oct 31. Sri Lanka is building more treatment centres using former quarantine facilities run by the military. more..

Govt faces gruelling task in combating the new wave of COVID-19 pandemic

Nov 1 (ST) The Govt’s popularity, less than a year after the presidential election, is taking a nosedive as the COVID-19 pandemic, now resurging upwards uncontrollably, is taking a heavy toll. Quarantine centres are almost full. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva has declared those suspected of having contacted the deadly virus should quarantine at home. Only confirmed cases were being admitted to hospital. more..

Sri Lanka turns to divine help to contain Covid-19

Nov 1 (EN) Sri Lanka sought spiritual help Sunday to contain the surge in coronavirus infections even as the authorities relaxed hospitalization and quarantine rules to deal with rising COVID-19 patients and their contacts. Kapila Gunawardena, Secretary to the ministry of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs asked Buddhist monks to recite Ratana Sutta and the Jaya Piritha twice a day to invoke blessings for the eradication of the pandemic. According to Buddist teachings, more..

Deputy DG (Laboratory Services) removed from post

Nov 1 (DM) Health Ministry Deputy Director General (Laboratory Services) Dr. Ananda Jayalal has been removed from the post, Health Ministry Spokesman Dr. Jayaruwan Bandara said. He said that Dr. Jayalal had been replaced with Deputy Director General Dr. R.M.S.K Rathnayake. Earlier, SL Association of Govt Medical Laboratory Technologists (SLAGMLT) presented a document in writing to Prez Rajapaksa containing 16 reasons as to why Dr. Jayalal should be removed. more..

Video: Curfew in Western Province extended until Nov 9

Nov 1 (AD) The quarantine curfew currently imposed on the Western Province has been extended until Nov 9, Army Commander Shavendra Silva announced. He mentioned this delivering his special statement. The quarantine curfew on the Western Province was imposed on Oct 29 and was scheduled to be lifted at 5 am tomorrow (2). However, as per the latest update, the curfew will be lifted at 5.00 am on Nov 9. more..

Lanka will subsist on a diet f perpetual debt: The permeance of global debt

Nov 2 (CT) The thesis of this essay, conveyed within my 1700 word-mandate, is that the world economy has entered a phase of near universal debt. Lanka’s inexorable overload of domestic and foreign debt is part our own making part footnote of the global story. Everywhere, mighty USA and European Union included, the state is mired in debt that will not vanish so long as Finance Capital (FC) rules the world. The surpluses created by economic activity are amassed a few institutions & individuals. more..