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Covid-19 Situation Report

Compensation, salary dues to family members of deceased SL migrant workers

Jun 16 (MFA) Consular Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry organized a ceremony to handover letters of compensation of the deceased SL workers abroad to their respective family members at the Ministry Premises in line with the International Domestic Workers Day as well as the International Day of Family Remittances held on 16 June, 2021. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena together with Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, Director General of Consular more..

Chairman of X-Press Pearl’s local agency granted bail

Jun 16 (AD) Arjuna Hettiarachchi, the chairman of the local shipping agency representing the X-Press Pearl vessel, has been granted bail by the Colombo High Court. Chairman of Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Mr Hettiarachchi was arrested by the CID today after surrendering through his attorneys. He was subsequently produced before the Colombo HC Judge Damith Thotawatta, who ordered that the defendant be released on a cash bond of Rs 100,000 & 2 personal bonds of Rs 1 mil more..

Health Ministry urged not to reduce PCR testing during lookdowns

Jun 16 (Island) A reduction in PCR testing had made it difficult for the health workers to gauge the effect of the current lockdown on the tranmission of the virus, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday. He said that while the number of reported cases had been dropping, the number of deaths were rising. “The decrease in PCR testing has led to this situation. more..

Gas companies propose price hike

Jun 16 (AD) A special meeting held between the Cabinet Sub-Committee on revision of gas prices and representatives of LP gas companies today (June 16) has ended without reaching an agreement. For the past few months, the gas companies have been requesting the CAA to allow an increase in the prices of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) citing financial crises due to rising gas prices in the world market. Accordingly, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena, more..

Ranil’s name sent to Elections Commission

Jun 16 (EN) UNP has nominated former prime minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for the one national list seat the defeated party is entitled to in parliament. Party general secretary former MP Palitha Range Bandara has submitted Wickrmesinghe’s name to the Election Commission today. The former PM had previously declined a unanimous request from the UNP working committee to take up the seat, calling for a younger member to represent the party in parliament more..

Prof. Mohan Munasinghe to receive prestigious Blue Planet Prize

Jun 16 (DM) Sri Lankan physicist, economist and Founder Chairman of Institute for Development (MIND) Prof. Mohan Munasinghe has been selected as a recipient for this year’s Blue Planet Prize, the top international award considered to be equivalent to an Environmental Nobel Prize. This year marks the 30th awarding of the Blue Planet Prize, sponsored by the Asahi Glass Foundation of Japan. more..

Cabinet approves setting up of Small Claims Court

Jun 16 (FT) Cabinet of Ministers this week approved the establishment of a Small Claims Court with the jurisdiction to hear cases below a specific monetary threshold. “The goal is to ease the caseload of the District Court which would then be able to hear disputes of a higher value more efficiently and also to introduce a faster, more efficient procedure for the recovery of smaller claims,” Justice Minister Ali Sabry’s Coordinating Secretary Attorney-at-Law Shamir Zavahir said. more..

MONLAR complains of another project to help govt cronies

Jun 16 (Island) The govt was planning to distribute 70 to 350 acres of land that belonged to the Land Reform Commission among political henchmen, Chinthaka Rajapakshe, Moderator of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) alleged yesterday. Rajapakshe told The Island that the Cabinet had on 07 June approved a proposal submitted by Minister of Lands, S. M. Chandrasena to start 35 compost making projects in 25 Divisional Secretariat areas in North Western Province. more..

2,055 child abuse cases in 2020: Police fail to secure single conviction

Jun 16 (CT) Police were unable to get a single conviction out of a total of 2,055 cases of sexual abuse of children, cruelty to children, and rape cases reported last year, Police crime data released on Monday showed. Those include 26 cases of sexual exploitation of children, 76 cases of cruelty to children, and 1,953 rape cases. Police, detailing some of their crime data of last year, said there were 26 cases of sexual exploitation of children, more..

Sri Lanka forex swap rates plunge as outright rupee/dollar market dries up

Jun 16 (EN) Sri Lanka’s implied forward exchange rates have plunged in dollar/rupee swap markets as money printing depressed rupee yields and the forex shortages and downgrades that came in its wake drove up domestic dollar yields to double digits. Outright trading in the spot and forward markets have dried up after the central bank ordered dealers not to trade above 200 to the US dollar. Giving forward cover to importers has already been banned. Interbank forwards are permitted more..

Appeal Court decision to grant bail to Shani Abeysekara hugely positive: AI

Jun 16 (TM) In response to today’s appeal court decision to grant bail to Shani Abeysekara, former Director of the CID, and Police sub-inspector Sugath Mendis, Amnesty International expressed via a series of tweets that this decision is, “hugely positive and gives hope that the judiciary won’t allow authorities to target those carrying out investigations into human rights abuses,” Amnesty International also stated that the Organisation hopes that Courts will close investigations against Abeysekara, more..

Sri Lanka repays 57% of US$ 6.3bn in forex debt due in 2021

Jun 16 (EN) SL has repaid US$ 3.6 billion out of US$ 6.3 billion of debt denominated in foreign currency some of which were owed to domestic lenders, CB’s Director of Economic Research Chandranath Amarasekera said. “The govt has foreign currency debt externally as well as locally,” Amarasekara told reporters in the second week of June. “If you take the total of these two you are looking at US$ 6.3 billion in 2021. more..

Officials directed to minimize issues faced by borrowers when settling loans

Jun 16 (AD) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as the finance minister, has instructed the CB officials to implement necessary measures to minimize the difficulties faced by the pandemic-hit borrowers when recovering loan dues from them. A meeting chaired by PM Rakapaksa was held at the Temple Trees today to discuss the current economic situation of the country. CB representatives have briefed the PM on maintain a robust economy in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. more..

Former regime slowed, suspended most development projects: Johnston

Jun 16 (DM) Most of the development projects in the country were slowed down or suspended during the period of the previous govt, Highways Minister, Johnston Fernando, said. In an address to the media, he stated, "As a result, the govt has decided to accelerate the completion of all development projects." Minister today had an inspection visit to witness the progress of the construction on the marine drive. "This Marine Drive has been under construction for several years. more..

Sri Lanka keen on rupee at 200 to US dollar, using influence on market: CB

Jun 16 (EN) Sri Lanka is keen to keep the exchange rate at the current level of 200 to the US dollar and is using pressure to influence the market, while simultaneously attracting inflows and implementing fiscal measures to shore up the currency, CB Governor W D Lakshman said. “We are very keen to keep it at that level or at a higher level,” Governor said. “That is to say to keep the rate at 200 or below. We expect to raise the value of the rupee.” more..

Operations of Open Universities increasingly influenced by politics: OUSL Students’ Union

Jun 16 (TM) The rejection of the names of candidates recommended by the Council of the Open University of SL (OUSL), for the post of Vice Chancellor (VC) of that University, which falls vacant on 23/06/2021, is another political attempt to influence the process of free education which takes place in Open Universities, Harsha Madusanka, President of the OUSL Students’ Union said. “We have noted an increasing political influence on the operations of Open Universities during more..

Excise department contemplating a limited license for online liquor orders

Jun 16 (EN) The Excise Department can issue a limited and conditional license to wine stores to distribute liquor online, provided the Ministry of Finance approves it, Commissioner of Excise Kapila Kumarasinghe said. He told reporters that the department has received requests from the industry, supermarket chains and consumers to permit online liquor orders. “The department has forwarded its observations and recommendations regarding these requests to the Finance Ministry. more..

At least 279,020 Covishield vaccines required before schools re-opened: Edu Minister

Jun 16 (DM) At least 279,020 Covishield vaccines would be needed as the first step in re-opening schools while giving priority to the health care of school children, Education Minister G.L Peiris said. The intention of the govt is to open schools as soon as possible after conducting a vaccination program for school teachers, principals, vice principals, administrative sector officers, academic & non academic more..

FCMP importers contemplate to up milk powder prices

Jun 16 (DM) Full Cream Milk Powder (FCMP) importers are contemplating to increase the retail price of one kg of FCMP packet by Rs.350 and to increase the 400 grams packet by Rs.140 in the near future. They said they have already forwarded the request to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). The officials said that a price increase is vital to operate or place new orders. Therefore, a formal request in this regard has been submitted to the CAA. more..

NAFSO ridicules Justice Ministry deadline

Jun 16 (CT) National Fisheries Solidarity Organisation (NAFSO) Convener Herman Kumara ridiculed the Justice Ministry’s call to obtain views from stakeholders and to assess the damage caused by the X-Press Pearl, by 21 June, while the country is under lockdown. The Justice Ministry has advertised in the print and social media that institutions, organisations or parties who are interested in to submit their views and information regarding the matter by 21 June. more..

Shani Abeysekara granted bail

Jun 16 (DM) The Court of Appeal today ordered the Gampaha High Court to grant bail to former Director, CID, SSP Shani Abeysekara and SI Sugath Mendis, overruling vigorous objections by the Attorney General’s Department. When the bail application filed by Abeysekara and Mendis was taken up for consideration yesterday before Justices Bandula Karunaratne and R. Gurusinghe, Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya more..

Govt not in a position to increase gas price at this juncture: Amaraweera

Jun 16 (DM) The Prez and members of the committee appointed to investigate the price of LP gas are on a common stance not to raise domestic gas prices at this juncture, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Following a meeting with the heads of the two gas giants at the Ministry, the Minister stated that the Litro Gas company had requested a Rs.670 price hike for a cylinder, but the CAA was considering to grant permission to increase the price by Rs.400, but no decision more..

SJB to move no-confidence motion against Gammanpila

Jun 16 (AD) The SJB has decided to move a motion of no confidence against Minister Udaya Gammanpila, with regard to the recent increase in fuel prices. SJB members signed the 10-point no-confidence motion at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo today. The opposition party said it will move the motion against the Minister of Energy on the basis of a number of factors including arbitrarily increasing fuel prices. The motion also cites the recent statement issued by more..

TULF Leader Anandasangaree dared to defy the LTTE

Jun 16 (FT) The TULF formed on 14 May 1976 contested the 21 July 1977 Parliamentary Elections adopting a secessionist platform. The TULF demanded a separate state for the Sri Lankan Tamils named Tamil Eelam comprising the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the island. The TULF contesting under the sun symbol sought a mandate for Tamil Eelam at the 1977 Parliamentary poll that was conducted more..

US President Joe Biden nominates Julie Chung for ambassador to Sri Lanka

Jun 16 (EN) US Prez Joe Biden has announced his intent to nominate Julie Chung for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Sri Lanka, the White House said. Chung, a career diplomat and member of the US Senior Foreign Service, is expected to replace Alaina B Teplitz as US Ambassador. Chung currently serves as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Dept of State. She is one of 9 individuals Biden has announced more..

Lowest number of daily PCR tests performed yesterday after a month

Jun 16 (DM) The lowest numbers of daily PCR tests conducted in the country in a month, since May 16 this year, had been reported yesterday, according to HPB statistics. Total of 15,214 PCR tests have been performed in the country on June 15. On Tuesday (16), a total of 2,275 COVID-19 patients were reported in the country, the lowest numbers of cases reported since May 16, 2021. The highest number of daily PCR tests conducted within the month was reported on May 16 with 27,183 tests. more..

මත්පැන් Online ක්‍රමයට අනුමතයි

Post-lockdown basics for controlling COVID-19 wave 3

Jun 16 (FT) The fourteen-day lockdown to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 virus has now become a 21-day event although travel restrictions are not in place as expected. The inevitable happened in April this year after we were lax in taking the timely decisions. In January this year I had warned through newspapers about the possibility of the UK variant B 1.1.7. (now called Alpha) arriving in the country. Many who came over from the UK were in protective bubbles or more..

COVID-19 and online education in Sri Lanka: Can we do it better?

Jun 16 (FT) The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the education ecosystem in SL. Over the last year or so students have been confined to their homes due to lockdowns and travel restrictions. The normal pattern of learning has been tremendously impacted due to COVID-19 resulting in psychological issues for both students and parents alike. Some elite schools with better infrastructure facilities have been able to whether the storm as opposed to the less-privileged schools with more..

Probe against Auradhapura Sathosa official hits snag

Jun 16 (CT) Probe being conducted against a top official of the SATHOSA branch in Anuradhapura, over the alleged incident of allowing 800 bottles of liquor, from its liquor store, to be released unlawfully, during the travel restrictions and when all liquor outlets had been sealed, has hit a snag. It is alleged that the bottles of liquor had been transported in a vehicle belonging to the Army with the direct intervention of this top official. more..

No bunker fuel remains onboard X-Press Pearl, salvor reports confirm

Jun 16 (AD) The salvor reports have confirmed that no bunker fuel remains onboard the X-Press Pearl, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) announced. The Singapore-registered container ship was carrying 300 metric tons of bunker fuel at the time of the ill-fated incident. “We have given written instructions to both the vessel’s owners and the salvage company to investigate and report back to us whether there was bunker oil still remaining in its tanks,” MEPA Chairperson said. more..

Prez postpones TNA meeting indefinitely

Jun 16 (DM) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa indefinitely postponed a meeting scheduled to be held with the TNA today. The meeting was to be held at Presidential Secretariat this evening. However, TNA spokesman M.A Sumanthiran said last night that they were informed the meeting has been postponed. “The meeting has been postponed. Presidential Secretariat said the new date and time will be notified later,” he said. TNA was to hold talks for the first time with Prez Rajapaksa today. more..

2,275 persons test positive for COVID-19

Jun 16 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 patient count rose to 228,197 with 2,275 persons testing positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Only 15,214 PCR tests were carried out yesterday. The patients detected yesterday include 2,275 persons from the New year cluster and the cumulative patient count of the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, Prisons and New Year clusters has risen to 221,294. This includes 126,474 persons from the New Year cluster, more..

15 MW wind plant for Mannar Grid Substation

Jun 16 (TM) A 15 MW wind power plant is to be constructed for the Mannar Grid Substation and the project has been awarded to Hiruras Power (Pvt.) Ltd., following the approval of Ministers. Ministry of Power Director Sulakshana Jayawardena said the aforementioned wind power plant is a segment of the main project which was approved by the Cabinet to add 60 MW of wind power capacity to 5 grid substations in Trincomalee, Mannar, Madampe, Bolawatta & Kappalthurai. more..

Cabinet mum on fuel hike

Jun 16 (FT) This week’s meeting of the Cabinet had not seen a discussion on the fuel hike despite it being one of the most talked about subjects amongst the general public. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday confirmed the fact that the fuel hike did not figure at the Cabinet meeting. In the absence of Prez Rajapaksa, PM Rajapaksa chaired the Cabinet meeting. Rambukwella said following the fuel hike Govt is likely to consider offering relief to the most vulnerable groups. more..

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