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Police fire tear gas to disperse the protest; arrest six activists

Aug 19 (AFP) Police fired tear gas and water cannon on a small protest yesterday to break up the first demonstration since the crisis-hit island nation lifted a state of emergency. This year, an unprecedented economic collapse has often sparked massive anti-Govt rallies after months of hardship caused by shortages of essential goods, rolling blackouts and spiralling inflation. Govt has curbed dissent by imposing a State of Emergency giving security forces sweeping detention powers, but the ordinance lapsed overnight. more..

Airtel launches weekly WFH and social media packs

Aug 19 (TM) Airtel Lanka has announced the launch of a new range of dedicated weekly study and work-from-home (WFH) and social media (SM) packs in addition to its monthly packs. The new packs are launched to ensure that all users will continue to have access to their superior 4G network during the current crisis. Airtel’s new weekly packs are designed to ensure that all users continue to benefit from affordable access to a superior 4G experience, at a time when internet access has become an absolute essential more..

INSEE begins construction of US$ 3mn warehouse at Hambantota port

Aug 19 (DM) INSEE recently began construction of its US$ 3 million mega capacity warehouse within the industrial park in Hambantota International Port (HIP). It will be the largest warehousing facility inside a port in Sri Lanka for raw materials used in the production of cement. The warehouse which will see completion in the next six months will hold a capacity of 45,000 cubic metres and is being built on a 17,300 sq metre plot of land. more..

Russian company steps forward to supply coal

Aug 19 (Island) A Russian company has come forth to provide coal for Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP) for two years.Lanka Coal Company (LCC), Chairman and Managing Director Jagath Perera said that out of the two companies that had responded to a tender to supply coal, the Russian company was very likely to get the bid. The other company too could appeal till 19 August, he said. Perera said that there were enough coal stocks until the end of October. “We had coal till 30 September. more..

Health Minister accused of hoodwinking people

Aug 19 (Island) Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella on Monday falsely had declared that the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) had begun the manufacture of new medicines, omperozole 20mg, levothyroxine 50mg, President of CMLS, Ravi Kumudesh said. “The Minister made this statement at an event purportedly to launch those medicines. It is important to start producing medicines locally. However, I would like to point out that the SPC has in fact been manufacturing and distributing them for sometime. more..

රනිල්ගෙන් නාමල් බේබිට ඇමතිකමක්..!

Sri Lanka immigration on the hunt for Scotswoman who documented protests

Aug 19 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Immigration and Emigration Department is attempting to track down Kayleigh Fraser, the Scotswoman who documented the country’s anti government protests. Fraser was ordered to leave the island on or before Monday August 15 after officials cancelled her visa. She and her lawyer had filed a writ petition against her deportation with the Supreme Court, which was dismissed on the grounds that she was not being deported deported, only had her visa cancelled. more..

Stocks end steady after CB held policy rates steady; turnover slumps to over 2-wk low

Aug 19 (EN) Stocks closed steady on Thursday with turnover slumping to more than two-week low after the central bank held the key policy rates steady. ASPI edged up 0.04% or 3.22 points to 8,910.57. On Tuesday, it fell from its highest close since March 30. “We saw the market stabilizing after slipping for the last two days on profit taking,” a top analyst said. “But overall there was continued buying interest on the energy sector and in addition, we saw buying coming into the plantation-related stocks more..

Aeroflot affair: flights yet to resume; MP questions status of probe into detention of SU 289

Aug 19 (Island) Sri Lanka hadn’t been able yet to convince Russia to resume Aeroflot flights and tourists from there to Sri Lanka suspended in the wake of the detention of SU 289 at the BIA on the afternoon of June 02, authoritative sources said. SL grappling with an unprecedented foreign exchange shortage desperately needs tourists from an important destination like Russia, which earlier accounted for a sizeable share of the incoming traffic. more..

Facilitate safe return of Former President: SLFP requests President

Aug 19 (DM) The SLPP requested Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe to facilitate safe return of former Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the country, informed sources said. The request was made during a meeting between the SLPP led by its National Organizer, former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the President at the Prez's office. Sources said that former Minister Basil Rajapaksa has said that SLPP will provide full support to the President to build the country by solving the current economic crisis. more..

IT firms catering exclusively to domestic market struggling to recruit and retain talent

Aug 19 (DM) IT companies catering exclusively to the domestic market are struggling to recruit and retain talent as workers are actively switching to entities that have salaries pegged to the US dollar or other foreign currencies. Unlike the IT companies that are catering to foreign clients, entities that are focused on the local market for business are struggling as they are unable to cope with cost escalations and to match the US dollar pegged pay scale. Following the sharp devaluation of the rupee in March against the US dollar, more..

Consumers shocked by CEB tariff hike

Aug 19 (DM) The shocking revelations that transpired at the Committee on Public Enterprises on CEB unearthed on Aug 9 how the latter’s annual expenditure was considered as losses and exceeded the annual tax collection of the Department of Inland Revenue and the Public Utilities Commission of SL. It also revealed how permission was granted to increase the tariff by a mammoth 75%; a measure which the unions claim as a remedy to recover the losses made. more..

Abans Auto to assemble and manufacture Hyundai automobiles in Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (DM) Hyundai Motor Company, the world’s sixth largest automobile manufacturer and a leader in future mobility has entered into an agreement with SL’s Abans Auto, authorizing the reputed local automotive retailer to assemble and manufacture Hyundai automobiles and components under license in SL. The agreement was sealed as a result of lengthy discussions initiated in 2020 between the renowned Korean automotive manufacturer and Abans Auto, its authorised distributor in SL, Abans said in a press release. more..

Visa announces launch of Visa Fintech Initiative: Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (TM) Visa has announced Visa Fintech Initiative: SL (VFI) to drive fintech innovation in the island nation. As the country prepares to tide over difficult times, the Visa Fintech Initiative: Sri Lanka programme, in partnership with Hatch, aims to empower local fintechs to build payment solutions that solve digital payment challenges and drive the adoption of digital services. Visa Country Manager SL and the Maldives Avanthi Colombage said: “We are happy to announce the Visa Fintech Initiative in SL more..

Hiru TV Balaya Live

Govt gives one-month forex amnesty for public

Aug 19 (FT) The Govt has announced a one-month amnesty on foreign exchange held by the public. Central Bank (CBSL) said in order to attract foreign currency held with the public into the banking system, the Finance Minister has issued an Order granting an amnesty period of one month effective from 15.08.2022 for persons in, or resident in, SL who hold foreign currency notes in possession to: i. Deposit into a Personal Foreign Currency Account or into a Business Foreign Currency Account more..

Ambassador Samarasinghe to boost ties with Mexico

Aug 19 (FT) Ambassador Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday he is fully committed to boost bilateral ties with Mexico. Samarasinghe who is also envoy in the US recently received accreditation as Ambassador of SL to Mexico (resident in Washington DC). “I have the highest expectations of growing our existing close relationship to encompass many areas of mutual cooperation, across the spectrum of our friendship. There are many opportunities for Sri Lanka and Mexico to enhance bilateral ties more..

Central Bank boss rules out domestic debt restructuring

Aug 19 (FT) CB Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe ruled out restructuring of domestic debt but assured ongoing measures will ensure overall sustainability. “Our position is that we are not restructuring domestic debt. It will be a win-win situation for all,” he said at the post-Monetary Policy Review meeting yesterday, adding that there has been no request to restructure domestic debt. He also said the Govt’s position remains that the country will only restructure its external debt, more..

SL’s positioning remains unmatched in high-end apparel manufacture

Aug 19 (ST) Globally successful manufacturing destinations for high-end apparel have three defining characteristics. Firstly, they have robust secondary supply chains – which are critical to ensuring the timely availability of all required inputs. The importance of this becomes apparent once you consider that to manufacture an item like a bra, producers may need up to 20 components. Such components – including fabric, lace, bra wire etc. – must be available at the right time and more..

This is only the first chapter in Nethmi’s story: NOC

Aug 19 (ST) The National Olympic Committee of SL (NOC), who initiated pathways for young sportspersons with true potential and had the knack to win medals at the international stage, through programmes and long term projects partnering with the corporate sector, releasing am official media communique, stated that it is proud and honoured to have played a part in wrestler Nethmi Ahinsa’s feat at the concluded Commonwealth Games 2022. “This is only the first chapter of Nethmi’s story. more..

Medical professionals jumping ship in droves

Aug 19 (CT) A large number of medical professionals in the state health service, especially those in the Health Ministry, are drawn like moths to torchlight to opportunities of foreign travel under the veil of official work. There have been whispers that many Epidemiology Directors travelled overseas for conferences in the past. There was also an instance when certain top officials of the Health Department were sent on foreign trips for WHO meetings with the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, more..

How reliable is Sri Lanka’s disability data?

Aug 19 (CT) It is said the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members, especially the children, the elderly, and the disabled. In SL, being disabled is an additional challenge, as even the little facilities they enjoy at present were won through years-long battles by the members of the community. So much so, that the country doesn’t even have latest statistics on the disabled. According to the report which supposedly carries the latest data by more..

Editorial: Cops and robbers

Aug 19 (Island) Former SL Ambassador to Ukraine Udayanga Weeratunga has been questioned by the CID on the infamous MIG deal for the umpteenth time. Police investigations in this country tend to go on until the cows come home when the suspects happen to be powerful politicians and their kith and kin. MIG probe is likely to go on until or the suspects go the way of all flesh. No wonder corruption has eaten into the vitals of SL society. Weeratunga stands accused of having received kickbacks from more..

මිනිස්සු රට පන්නන ජාවාරමේ ඉන්නේ හාමුදුරුවරු

The kindness of strangers

Aug 19 (TM) Whenever and wherever there is a disaster, it is those affected that first respond to it. As the famous saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, and similarly, it takes a village to support a person facing a humanitarian crisis. This was part of the United Nations’ (UN) World Humanitarian Day 2022 message, which, due to the prevailing social and economic crises in SL, makes more sense to Sri Lankans who are receiving support from and are providing support to their fellow citizens more..

Investor confidence in doldrums

Aug 19 (CT) Yesterday’s Finance Today lead story ran the heading Sri Lanka Eyeing Divestiture of Key State Assets. It said the initial focus is Grand Hyatt Hotel, Colombo, Colombo Hilton and Grand Oriental Hotel. Apart from hotels, there should also be a focus on divesting assets covering the financial, utilities, transportation, lands, mining and quarrying, pharmaceuticals, education, fishery, plantations, real estate, food and beverages, manufacturing, other wholesale more..

Debt or disconnection: Prioritising energy justice in economic recovery

Aug 19 (TM) In part one of this article, we considered the proposed electricity tariff revision from the perspective of the urban poor in Colombo, arguing that the revisions failed to account for ground realities faced by domestic consumers, both in terms of understanding the financial pressures of the economic crisis as well as how electricity usage has changed in response. In light of the approved tariff increase that averages at 75% in all categories, more..

Women in the estate sector face many layers of discrimination

Aug 19 (GV) Women played a significant part in the growth and stability of the plantation economy throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Women were brought along with men by the British from India under colonial bondage through indenture, an organized slavery system. Under British rule the plantation economy grew, driving up demand for labor. However, since slavery had already been abolished, the colonial masters resorted to instituting indenture agreements. more..

Is the doctrine of necessity being relevant for Sri Lanka to initiate a people-centered constitution?

Aug 19 (CT) The discourse Doctrine of Necessity is portrayed as a negative aspect in the SL context. However, beyond its destructive usage in the past by Zia Ul-Haq of Pakistan, we people of SL can make use of it to strengthen the democracy and rule of law. Those who deny the application of the doctrine of necessity in the local domain for the reason of constitutional absurdity, know very well that we are already living with constitutional absurdity! But unfortunately, we the constitutional law experts more..

'People who were in the Aragalaya without any political agenda were not harmed'

Aug 19 (DM) Manusha Nanayakkara, the minister of labour and foreign employment, made a welcoming decision to amend the labour laws to permit school students to work part-time in a few specific industries. This will be especially helpful to families who find it difficult to survive due to the rising cost of living. The action may also help to wean young people away from risky behaviours like drug and alcohol addiction. more..

Rushdie in the news again: Free speech rights linked to responsibilities

Aug 19 (DM) What is common between Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie and early biographers of Islam’s Prophet? Fiction. At the core of the controversy over Rushdie’s 1988 book, Satanic Verses, is an alleged incident a few early biographers of Prophet Muhammad had recorded without verification. Both the Sunni and Shiite streams of Islam have rejected the incident as outright fabrication or Apocrypha. The alleged incident refers to the whispering of Satan while the Prophet was reciting a chapter from the Quran more..

In search of a system that eliminates doubt

Aug 19 (DM) There is still much doubt in the minds of Sri Lankans about their future here in the island despite there being a regime change and a new president; elected by parliament. This is a country where most television stations set aside some time every week for astrologers to appear in their programmes and make predictions about the future. But still, despite all that, Sri Lankans, in general, cannot see beyond the couple of months left in this calendar year. Dead bodies of youth being washed ashore quite frequently, more..

අන්තරේ සිසුන්ට පොලිසිය පන්න පන්නා ගසයි

State sector reforms: Herath endorses Ranil’s agenda

Aug 18 (Island) Ruling party rebel lawmaker Prof. Charitha Herath says that the cancellation of the Japanese funded USD 1.5 bn light rail transit (LRT) project remains a mystery. SLPP National List MP said that his efforts, in his former capacity as Chairman of the COPE to unravel the truth, failed. MP noted that the fund allocation for this, on a soft loan, was even bigger than that of the Chinese flagship project, namely the Colombo Port City. SL suspended the project in Sept 2020, more..

Damages caused to Galle Face Green: Will take legal action against activists: Minister

Aug 18 (DM) Necessary legal actions will be taken to recover the damage caused to the Galle Face Green due to the long stay of the activists, Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said. This group of people who claimed to be activists had entered the Galle Face Green area illegally and had engaged in illegal activities. "It was reported that an illegal residence has been established in it and even the addresses have been taken to confirm that residence," he said. more..

10% of private pharmacies closed, sales drop too

Aug 18 (TM) All-Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association has raised concerns over the risk to pharmacies owing to the present economic crisis, and said that 10% of pharmacies islandwide are closed due to the current crisis. Association Media Secy said that sales have also dropped due to the price increase of drugs. “We are facing heavy losses due to the current prices of medicine and power cuts. more..

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