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Challenges to meet

Jan 1 (CT) We have commenced to step towards to experience both positive and negative vicissitudes of life in another New Year, 2021. Completely two decades of the new millennium swiftly expired and rapidly concluded. The dawn of the New Year brings numerous aspirations and inconceivable dreams in many hearts of the members in our human family. Multifarious projects, programmes and appointments are congregated in our schedules and agendas which anxiously remain and impatiently wait more..

Sri Lanka: Vaccinating against Covid-19

Jan 1 (CT) Covid 19 pandemic is now reaching one year. Also known as the coronavirus pandemic, the virus infection was first identified in Dec 2019 in Wuhan, China. The WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of Int'l Concern in Jan 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020. As of 30th Dec 2020, more than 82 million cases have been confirmed, with more than 1.79 million deaths attributed to COVID-19. Virus has caught over 41,600 SLs & death toll will soon reach 200. more..

In retrospect: The year 2020 in photos

Jan 1 (Roar) There are years that are defined by singular events: watershed moments that are deviating points at which life did not transpire as planned. These years are regarded as pivotal in history — years during which wars began, or wars ended, new fissures erupted or a calm sets in. And 2020 will join this list, but not just for SL but the world over. Twelve months and twelve photographs; the following images in this more..

It’s time we re-open our borders

Jan 1 (DM) This past year has been devastating for all countries across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic came without a warning and took the world by storm. It spread so rapidly that just within a year, it spread across every continent of this planet, infecting millions, causing deaths of young and old, leaving people out of jobs and forcing countries to close borders in fear. It is a disease seen like no other and the world now has accepted the severity of it & are adapting to a new Covid-19 world more..

Is there a paradigmatic shift in economic policy?

Jan 1 (CT) This is the second analysis of Budget 2021. Last week’s column focused on short term ramifications of the budget under two headings, recovery and assist. This column aims at discussing the long-term goals of sustainable development posing the question if Budget 2021 lays the foundation for such a development. Of course, a yearly budget may not be used for such a formidable task unless it is presented as part of a long-term economic plan. more..

2020 was a very stressful year for Sri Lankans

Jan 1 (NIA) The coronavirus pandemic, which began in March and is still on, made 2020 a very stressful year for Sri Lankans of all classes, particularly the poor and the lower middle classes. The pandemic directly stalled economic development because of lockdowns, curfews and movement restrictions. It indirectly disrupted communal harmony when the government banned the burial of the COVID dead more..

The paradox of tolerance

Jan 1 (DM) Systematic discrimination and human rights violations against minority communities in SL are not new in the country’s political and social realm. The most recent of such violations have been brought to the forefront during the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic; exposing the State’s skewed practices in its wake. This will be an endeavour to examine how a purely tolerant (in its classical sense) society is ultimately an unrealistic, and moreover destructive, standard to strive towards. more..

Well deserved promotions to war heroes

Jan 1 (CT) Defence Secretary Major General (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne and Army Commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva were promoted to the rank of General by Prez Rajapaksa. Both General Gunaratne and General Silva were actively involved in the defeat of the LTTE. General Kamal Gunaratne, has a distinguished military career of over 35 years and has held many key appointments in all areas of defence and civil - Military Coordination. more..

2021 වසරේ බලාපොරොත්තු | සටන

Anti-Covid Issue: Science versus Superstition

Jan 1 (Island) In October the second wave of Corona infections appeared in SL and started spreading at a much higher rate than the first wave. To control its spread, the Ministers dealing with the health sector – Minister of Health, State Minister of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals, and State Minister of Indigenous Medicine Promotion, Rural and Ayurvedic Hospital Development and Community Health – with the objective of controlling the spread of disease more..

Year 2021: Year of opportunities for Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (FT) Following the years of turbulence changes now we have reached the year 2021. There are many challenges for any nation and how you convert that into an opportunity is critical. The IMF forecasts SL’s economy to shrink 4.6% by the year 2020. This can be seen as the same as in other countries. In May 2020, the ADB announced that COVID‐19 could cost the global economy between $ 5.8 and $ 8.8 trillion. And also we should not forget the Easter attacks which severely affected more..

Trinco oil tank farm: Marathon talks continue

Jan 1 (TM) It’s been months since the incumbent Govt initiated a new round of talks with the Indian Govt and the Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) to acquire a majority of the Trincomalee oil tanks which were leased out to the LIOC many years ago. But the country is yet to receive a final word from India on its request. It was in July this year that the then Petroleum Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that the Govt had initiated more..

New Year around the corner

Jan 1 (TM) While celebrating the festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, this year the world is forced to strip down the superficial wonders of the holiday season and cherish the true meaning of the holidays. While we are all contemplating what the new year will have in its agenda, there are clearly a heavy set of lessons 2020 has taught us to last a lifetime. We spoke to some members of the public, about what lessons they learnt from 2020 and how they are more..

Editorial: Hope springs eternal

Jan 1 (Island) Year 2021 has dawned without much gaiety. A feeling of doom and gloom pervades the globe as there are no signs of the COVID-19 pandemic going away anytime soon. Infections are on the rise the world over, and so is the death toll. Health experts fear the worst is yet to come. But a way out is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. Hope is said to spring eternal! The dawn of a new year is time for reflection and resolution. The best New Year message has come from more..

Blazing vegetable prices: No respite for farmers and consumers

Jan 1 (TM) Following the constantly recurring pattern of vegetable price inflation, the Govt has proposed several steps to resolve the issue, though a long wait may be at hand to see their results. The current plan deployed by the Ministry of Agriculture was to make direct purchases from the farmers, eliminating the involvement of an additional third party – whose doings are accepted to be the root cause of these massive price contrasts. more..

Dawn of 2021, virus, fire crackers and environment

Jan 1 (DM) As we dawn another year this morning, we wish our readers a very happy, COVID-19-free and prosperous New Year. As the year 2021 dawns, we cannot help, but remember the past year. A year dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. It is our fervent expectation that all our fellow citizens will strictly abide by the guidelines given us by our health authorities to combat the pandemic. In the end, following health guidelines, offer the best hope of slowing the spread of the dreaded virus, more..

Province unsuitable as a unit of governance

Jan 1 (Island) The govt is reportedly planning to hold the provincial council elections while an expert committee is actively engaged in the making of a new constitution. Holding elections before the drafting of a constitution imposes a constraint on the expert committee since it cannot afford to drift too far from existing arrangements if it is not to incur the ire of the elected members following an election. This means that the expert committee cannot take into account prevailing antipathy towards PCs, more..

Aviation industry wants concessions at BIA to boost post-COVID traffic, tourism

Jan 1 (FT) The aviation industry is urging the Govt to extend recent concessions granted to Mattala and Ratmalana airports to the Bandaranaike Int'l Airport (BIA) as well. To promote the Mattala Int'l Airport (MIA) and the Ratmalana Int'l Airport (RIA), Govt in 2020 waived off airport landing and parking fees for int'l flights operating to these airports. Whilst welcoming the move, aviation industry sources said that more..

Sri Lanka badminton on the right track

Jan 1 (DN) Since July 2020, the National Pool Training Committee of Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB) headed by VP Palitha Hettiarachchi has converted the national pools into an efficient workmanlike outfit. A Badminton veteran, Palitha has an intimate knowledge of the badminton fraternity and its many faceted players. So, under the leadership of SLB President Rohan de Silva, he has slowly but surely got a firm grip on what it takes to bring SL’s outstanding talent into the Int'l limelight. more..

Producing a continent best time smiling

Jan 1 (Island) When Army’s Dilshi Kumarasinghe turned tables on senior contenders to win the women’s 800 metres title at the 98th National Athletics Championship a journalist acquainted with statistics asked in disbelief: can you run a personal best smiling. In fact the former Ratnayake Central, Walala runner’s winning time of 2:02.80 seconds was not only her personal best but also the best time run by an Asian born athlete this year according to the statistics updated by World Athletics more..

SLA names 41 athletes in elite & national pools

Jan 1 (CT) Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) has named a 41-member athletics team in their two pools - Elite and National - which has been sent to the Sports Ministry for ratification, following their performance at the recently concluded National Athletics Championship 2020 (held from 26-29 Dec). Accordingly, 21 athletes have been named in the Elite National Pool, which includes Men’s 4x100m& 4x400m, Women’s 4x100m & 4x400m Mix more..

Lanka Sathosa to open its largest premium outlet in Ja Ela

Jan 1 (Island) Lanka Sathosa Limited Chairman Dr. Nushad Perera noted that the country’s largest retail network business was gearing up to unveil a 8,000 sq. ft. premium Sathosa supermarket in Ja Ela in January 2021. The store is housed in the former Rathnavali Cinema premises on Negombo Road and, once launched, would be the largest Sathosa outlet in the country. Nushad added that the outlet is set to serve as a one stop shop for consumers in the area, offering them the complete shopping more..

Rs. 20 Commemorative coin to mark 70th Anniversary of CBSL presented to President

Jan 1 (PMD) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has issued a commemorative coin in the denomination of Rupees 20 to mark its 70th Anniversary. The first coin was officially presented to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the Governor of the Central Bank Professor W. D. Lakshman, at the Presidential Secretariat, today (31). The coin is made of aluminum and bronze with Seven Lobed shape. This is a limited issue of 3,000 coins and the new coin will not be added to the circulation. more..

Employers oppose hike in compensation for termination of employment

Jan 1 (FT) Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) has strongly opposed the Govt’s move to increase the upper limit of compensation under the Termination of Employment of Workman Act (TEWA). At a recent meeting of the National Labour Advisory Council, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had proposed to increase the upper limit of compensation to Rs. 2.5 million from Rs. 1.25 million applicable since its introduction in 2005. more..

PM's New Year message

Jan 1 (NR) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa says the New Year is a hopeful time for all of us, and we must welcome the new year with renewed strength and determination. PM issuing a message to mark the New Year took the opportunity to commend the work done by dedicated frontline staff. Full message: New Year is a hopeful time for all of us, as we bid farewell to 2020, we must welcome the new year with renewed strength and determination. We are filled with gratitude for the unfaltering support more..

Prez's New Year message

Jan 1 (NR) Prez Rajapaksa says the New Year dawns at a time when the entire nation is beaming with hopes for a new era in economic, political, social, cultural and technological spheres of life. The Head of State in his message to mark the dawn of 2021 said the govt welcomes the New Year with determination and commitment to make it the Year of Prosperity. Full message: I am of the view that the New Year dawns at a time when the entire SL nation is beaming with hopes for a new era in more..

Govt extends forex restrictions by 6 more months

Jan 1 (FT) Govt has extended the period of validity of the measures introduced in July to restrict the outflow of foreign currency by a period of another six months effective from 2 Jan 2021. PM Rajapaksa who is also the Minister of Finance issued the relevant Gazette notification extending the validity of the order made under the Exchange Act, No. 12 of 2017 in July. Restrictions came into effect in April initially for 3 months. more..

Intl. & foreign trade-related banking activities unaffected and growing: People’s Bank

Jan 1 (FT) Dispelling the politically-motivated negative comments being perpetuated in the market that State banks are facing difficulties in conducting their int'l and trade-related banking activities, People’s Bank clarified yesterday that not a single Letter of Credit (LC) facility issued by the bank has been refused by any international bank to date. “People’s Bank, being the country’s largest bank in terms of customer base and size of the branch network, plays a pivotal role in facilitating more..

Colombo stock market ends 2020 with 10.5% gain

Jan 1 (FT) Colombo stock market yesterday ended 2020 with a 10.5% gain, the highest annual increase since 2014. The Colombo Stock Exchange also said the 2020 gain was the only the 12th occasion the index had seen a double-digit percentage growth in CSE’s 35-year history. It added that 2020 market turnover rose to the highest since 2011 and market capitalisation grew by a trillion rupees since 12 May 2020, when the CSE resumed operations after the first wave of COVID-19 shutdown. more..

Video: Total of 273 repaired SLTB buses added to fleet

Jan 1 (AD) A total of 273 buses belong to SLTB which were taken out of service due to dilapidation were repaired and re-added to the passenger transportation under the patronage of Prez Rajapaksa at the Galle Face Green today (31). These buses will be utilized to meet the passenger transportation needs in rural areas throughout the country. The project, based on a concept of the State Minister Dilum Amunugama, more..

Rs.1200 mn in EPF dues still be collected

Jan 1 (DN) Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said around Rs.1,200 million should be collected from public and private institutions as contributions to the EPF up to now. As at Jan 1, 2020, 11,549 cases had been filed against public and private institutions for non-payment of EPF contributions and the total number of cases filed so far, including inactive cases, is 16,000, he said. The Minister said that the govt is now focusing on the continued default of remittances and strict laws more..

Speaker not under quarantine: Media Unit

Jan 1 (AD) Reports claiming that Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is under quarantine are baseless, the Speaker’s Media Unit affirmed. In a statement, the media unit noted that the Speaker will be returning to his duties as per usual from tomorrow. An officer, who was assigned by the Police Headquarters on temporary duty after the Speaker’s security vehicle encountered a technical fault, had tested positive for the virus. However, health authorities have confirmed more..

Total COVID-19 patient count rises to 43,299

Jan 1 (FT) The total number of COVID-19 patients detected in the island yesterday rose to 43,299, with 597 persons testing positive for the virus. Of yesterday’s patients, 526 persons are associates of the Peliyagoda COVID-19 cluster, 66 are linked to the Prisons cluster, and five are overseas arrivals. The overseas arrivals who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday include two arrivals from Ukraine, two arrivals from UAE, and more..

COVID-19 death toll exceeds 200

Jan 1 (FT) The country’s COVID-19 death toll yesterday crossed the 200 mark, with health authorities confirming five COVID-19-deaths. Two deaths occurred yesterday, two occurred the previous day, and one occurred on 28 Dec. Yesterday’s deaths include a 59-year-old resident of Homagama who died of COVID pneumonia with acute lung infection. The individual died while receiving treatment at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), more..

Video: Paddy Marketing Board regional manager arrested on Minister’s tip-off

Jan 1 (AD) CID has arrested a regional manager of the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) over fraud committed in the sale of 30,000 metric tons of paddy. The regional manager involved in the scam has been arrested in Kilinochchi today (31). The arrest has been made on a tip-off made to the IGP by Minister of Agriculture Mahindananda Aluthgamage on Dec 24. In a letter sent to the IGP, Minister Aluthgamage had stated that a regional manager of the PMB named Ratnayake had obtained more..

No solid evidence indicating burial of Covid-19 victims increases spread of virus: CCPSL

Jan 1 (FT) College of Community Physicians of SL (CCPSL) said that there was no solid evidence indicating that burial of dead bodies of COVID-19 victims would increase the spread of virus. “With the available scientific evidence and the impact of the decision on cremation on pandemic control activities at large, CCPSL concludes that adhering to global guidelines, each citizen of SL should be allowed to be cremated or buried more..

Alas, Sri Lanka!

Jan 1 (FT) There is an inseparable link between the great collapse of the Sri Lankan State and its system of institutions and the bankruptcy taking place in the country. The collapse of the three major power centres of the State, particularly the failure of the Parliament or the Legislature to fulfil the responsibilities entrusted with it, at least to a minimum level expected of it, can be considered as the main cause of the great collapse of the State, social order and the economy of Sri Lanka. more..

Country needs a course correction

Jan 1 (FT) At the Prez Election of 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) had a narrow victory over Ranil Wickremesinghe with a majority of 180,000 votes. Ranil Wickremesinghe who spearheaded the peace talks had the support of the moderate Tamil people. Prabhakaran ordered Tamil people not to vote at the Prez Election. Hence the victory of MR was secured. MR did not have initial plans to end the conflict by war, but the circumstances led him to take that route. It was Prabhakaran who blocked more..

ඊළඟ ජනපතිගේ කේන්දර විස්තරේ මෙන්න

ComBank launches Sri Lanka’s first WhatsApp Banking facility

Jan 1 (CB) A simple Hi is all it now takes to access services at the Commercial Bank of Ceylon. Demonstrating its innovative use of new-age communications, the country’s largest private bank has pioneered a ground-breaking product on the world’s most widely-used messaging platform WhatsApp to become the first SL bank to offer Banking Services on the platform. Possibly the easiest and fastest form of contactless banking yet for smartphone users, more..