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Ranil’s Parliament re-entry highly criticised

Jun 17 (CT) A cross section of MPs spoke to this newspaper on the decision taken by the UNP to nominate its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, as its National List MP to Parliament following the results of the last General Election. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, said the decision of the former Premier to enter Parliament was a renege on the pledge given to the country by Wickremesinghe, after the latter had publicly claimed that more..

Sri Lanka discloses 14.1% budget deficit in 2020 AG audited accounts

Jun 17 (EN) SL has disclosed a 14.1% of gross domestic product deficit for 2020, in Finance Ministry accounts audited by the Attorney General amid a controversy over a smaller deficit claimed on inconsistent accounting principles. Finance Ministry had claimed an 11.1% of GDP deficit for 2020, claiming that arrears of 2019 were settled in 2020, deviating from a cash-basis accounting principle applied in preparing budget data in the past. The 2019 deficit of 6.8% of GDP was slightly more..

Sri Lanka records highest number of arrests for violating lockdown: Police

Jun 17 (EN) SL police recorded the highest single-day arrests of 1, 561 for violating the unofficial COVID-19 lockdown, police said. There has also been an increased number of attempts to cross provincial borders. Police checked 6,003 vehicles at 14 entry points to the Western province in a 24 hour period that ended at 6am June 17, of which 105 people in 61 vehicles had to cross provinces despite travel restrictions. Some of these people were warned and asked to turn back while more..

Narcotics, top crime in 2020

Jun 17 (CT) Illicit drugs were the single largest crime in absolute terms seen last year, with 6,811 cases recorded, crime data released by the Police on Monday showed. Of this number, Police were however able to get only 279 convictions; total number of cases disposed of 293, still investigating by the Police 4,859, and before Court/AG’s Dept 2,659. Next highest was housebreaking (6,499). more..

464 homicides in 2020, not one conviction

Jun 17 (CT) Police recorded 464 cases of homicide last year, of which not a single conviction was reached by the end of that year, 10 were disposed of, 341 were still being investigated by Police, while another 112 cases were before Court and the AG’s Department, Police grave crime data released on Monday showed. Police statistics also showed that there were 28 cases of human trafficking recorded last year, of which number too Police were unable to secure any convictions by end of that year, more..

NPC urges govt. to talk to all minority parties

Jun 17 (Island) A section of of the int'l community was planning sactions while SL was moving from crisis to crisis, the National Peace Council (NPC) said. Sri Lanka had been one of the richest nations in Asia in 1948 and due to actions of all govts, the country was now among the poorest, the NPC said. NPC head Dr. Jehan Perera said: “Unless there is a strong will and genuine commitment to have a unified country with law that applies to all in equal measure we may not see positive more..

Shani Abeysekara released on bail

Jun 17 (AD) Former Director of CID Shani Abeysekara and former Sub Inspector of CID Sugath Mendis have been released after fulfilling their strict bail conditions. The Court of Appeal, yesterday (June 16), ordered for the duo to be released on a cash bail of Rs 25,000 and two personal bonds worth Rs 1 million each. In addition, a foreign travel ban was imposed on the suspects while ordering them to inform the court more..

Special COPE Committee Meeting scheduled for 22 June

Jun 17 (TM) Chairman of COPE Prof. Charitha Herath has decided to hold a special Committee meeting on the 22nd in Parliament, the Parliament said in a press release. COPE Committee Meeting scheduled for its members will review the progress of the implementation of recommendations given by the Committee to all institutions listed on the 02 reports which has been submitted to the 9th Parliament. The COPE Committee Chair Prof. Charitha Herath further stated through more..

FR petition filed against import of luxury vehicles for MPs

Jun 17 (AD) A fundamental rights petition has been filed at the Supreme Court seeking a ruling that the govt’s decision to import 227 luxury vehicles for MPs violates the Constitution. The petition was filed by former JVP Provincial Councilor Mahinda Jayasinghe. 31 persons including PM Rajapaksa, the staff of the Finance Ministry and its Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Bank of Ceylon, Director General of Customs, Director General of Import and Export Control, and AG have been named more..

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa on WION

It will take months to clean beaches: Expert

Jun 17 (Island) SL would have to clean the beaches affected by the MV X-Press Pearl for months on end, senior environmental lawyer and Chairman of the Centre of Environmental Justice (CEJ), Ravindranath Dabare said. “The beach clean-up must go on. If you look at similar incidents in other countries, debris keeps piling up on beaches for months. We have to keep at it and that will cost money.” Dabare said that the CEJ had filed a fundamental rights petition in the SC more..

Thirty police officers walked into my house this afternoon: Harin Fernando

Jun 17 (TM) A police entourage of four police vehicles and roughly thirty officers walked into SJB MP Harin Fernando’s residence this afternoon (17). “I was resting in my home this afternoon when a number of police officers and vehicles surrounded my residence before entering my home,” Fernando said. According to the MP, he was never given a proper explanation of why the officers entered his home. “They never gave me a proper explanation. All they said was that there was more..

Artificial reefs: Sri Lanka minister dismisses Indian concerns

Jun 17 (EN) Dismissing objections raised by Indian fisherman against Sri Lanka’s artificial reef project, State Minister of Fisheries Kanchana Wijesekara said India must ban the destructive practice of bottom trawling instead. Fisherfolk in Tamil Nadu have objected to a Sri Lankan initiative to submerge discarded buses in the island’s northern waters in an effort to create an artificial reef. Twenty such buses were submerged more..

Several suspects linked to drug racket run by Harak Kata arrested

Jun 17 (AD) Following an extensive long-running investigation carried out by Panadura Walana Anti-Corruption Unit, several individuals were arrested on Wednesday (16) in connection with a narcotics network, the Police said. A 41-year-old woman linked to the racket was first taken into custody from Kalagedihena area in Thihariya along with 4 mobile phones and 13 ATM cards. Subsequently, a man was arrested in the area of Hanwella on charge of maintaining bank accounts under more..

TNA meets Indian HC: Discuss devolution, development in North, East

Jun 17 (DM) A 5 member TNA delegation led by MP R. Sampanthan today met Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay where they discussed Various aspects of devolution and developmental aspirations of the people in the North and East. Leader of ITAK Maavai Senathirajah, TNA MPs Dharmalingam Sithadthan, Selvam Adaikkalanathan and MA. Sumanthiran were present during the meeting held at the India House. The meeting focused on development of the North & East more..

Video: Indian variant detected from community for the first time

Jun 17 (DM) The Delta (B.1.617.2/Indian variant) has been detected from the community for the first time in Sri Lanka, Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of Sri J'pura University, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said. The Indian variant was detected in five samples obtained from Aramaya place, Colombo 09 (Dematagoda). He said they had conducted 13 samples out of which 5 were Indian variants more..

If Sinopharm second dose missed, go to Sugathadasa Stadium

Jun 17 (DM) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) today requested people, who had obtained their first jab of the Sinopharm vaccine at a CMC vaccination centre, to visit the Sugathadasa Stadium vaccination centre to get the second jab if they have missed it. CMC regional Epidemiologist Dr. Dinu Guruge said that the people have been requested to visit the said vaccination centre every day to obtain their missed dose. Vaccination rollout is still underway more..

Ambassador assures prospect to leave for work in Korea will be provided shortly

Jun 17 (AD) South Korean Ambassador to Sri Lanka Woonjin Jeong has assured the Foreign Minister that the facilities required for the Sri Lankan youth who are eligible for employment in Korea to travel to Korea will be provided shortly. He was speaking at a discussion on the delays faced by young people who are eligible for jobs in Korea, chaired by the Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday (16). State Minister Priyankara Jayaratne, more..

ගම්මන්පිල සමග ඉලක්කය

X-Press Pearl: What went wrong? The scientific basis

Jun 17 (FT) MV X-Press Pearl was a container ship carrying approximately 1,500 containers that arrived at Colombo on the late hours of 19 May. Awaiting the port entry, it was then anchored outside the harbour at about 9.5 NM (18 km) away from the shoreline. A fire was reported at around noon the following day. Despite swift firefighting, the fire was not able to be extinguished and continued to escalate, partly supported by the monsoon winds. After several days of fire, on 25 May morning, more..

EU, US resolutions and Sri Lanka’s foreign affairs follies

Jun 17 (FT) When Sinhala peasants standing in the fields and the Catholic Cardinal at the altar both call on the divine to punish the unrighteous in powerful positions, one knows that the crisis is deepening and widening as never before. The de-forestation, corporate farming fence-off of grazing land and water, displacement of elephants and above all the ban of chemical fertiliser, constitute as devastating an attack on the Sinhala peasantry as was the Waste Lands Ordinance of colonial occupier. more..

Online liquor final approval likely today: Excise Department

Jun 17 (TM) Finance Ministry approved the request made by the Excise Department to allow the sale of liquor online yesterday and the final approval for the move is likely to be provided by the NOCPCO Task Force today. Excise Deputy Commissioner Kapila Kumarasinghe said that the NOCPCO Task Force would likely give approval to allow purchase of alcohol online today after which the Dept would implement the decision. more..

Two more weeks of travel restrictions likely: Deputy DGHS

Jun 17 (CT) Deputy DG of Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath says if the public intentionally flout the ongoing travel restrictions, imposed to curb the spread of the third wave of the COVID19 pandemic, then there would be no alternative left for the health authorities but to further extend the restrictions for a further fortnight. He said the rate of new infections to the virus has shown a drastic reduction compared to the past few weeks but stressed that it was imperative that the masses follow more..

Gammanpila says SJB move is childish

Jun 17 (FT) Minister Udaya Gammanpila yesterday described the move by the SJB to file a no-confidence motion against him as childish and expressed his confidence in defeating the motion if it was taken up. He told journalists that he saw a copy of the proposed motion which he said looked like it had been written by a child. Gammanpila also said the move against him, the subject Minister, was absurd as it contradicted SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa’s earlier assertion that more..

2,436 persons test positive for COVID-19

Jun 17 (FT) A total of 2,436 COVID-19 patients were detected yesterday, bringing the country’s total COVID-19 patient count to 230,692. 18,257 PCR tests were carried out yesterday. Among the persons who tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday are 2,419 persons linked to the New Year cluster. A total of 223,713 patients have been linked to the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, Prisons and New Year clusters. more..

Shani Abeysekara further remanded till June 30

Jun 17 (DM) Although the Colombo Appeal Court ordered the release of former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera and another suspect on bail, the Gampaha. Magistrate Manjula Karunaratne ordered them to be remanded until June 30 since the bail conditions relating to the release had not yet been forwarded to the Gampaha Magistrate until last evening. SSP Abeysekara and former SI of Embilipitiya police Sugath Mendis had been in remand on suspicion of fabricating evidence more..

Sapugaskanda compensation report 90% complete

Jun 17 (TM) About 90% of the report of the committee appointed to calculate the compensation that is due for those affected by the recent oil leakage at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery owned by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), has been prepared, according to the Energy Ministry. When inquired about this, the Energy Ministry Secretary, D.R. Olga said that the remaining work of the report would be completed and handed over to the Ministry within the next few days. more..

SJB, TNA, JVP insist they didn’t ask for vehicles: Speaker’s Office silent

Jun 17 (Island) The controversy over the Finance Ministry submitting a Cabinet paper for purchasing 228 Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs for MPs has taken a new turn with the SJB, the TNA and the JVP/JJB denying that they ever asked for SUVs or any other vehicles. SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran and JJB MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said that their parties, or individual members, had not requested vehicles more..

Australia temporarily releases SL asylum seeker family after two years island detention

Jun 17 (Reuters) Australia will allow a Sri Lankan asylum seeker family detained on Christmas Island since 2019 to live in community detention on the mainland after public anger over their separation when the youngest child became sick and was flown to a major hospital. The Tamil family of four, the only occupants of the Christmas Island detention centre in the Indian Ocean, have become a cause celebre for those seeking closure of Australia's offshore immigration detention centres. more..

Police to net those who set traps on estates

Jun 17 (Island) The Wildlife Department has warned plantation companies that legal action will be taken against them if wild animals are caught in snares placed on their estates. In recent years, a large number of wild animals including leopards and sambur had died in traps, a senior Wildlife official yesterday said, adding that a leopard in Dick Oya and a sambur in Lakshapana had been caught in traps recently. The Wildlife Department officers at Nallathanniya office managed to rescue more..

Doctors oppose online sale of booze

Jun 17 (Island) The SLMA and GMOA yesterday registered their opposition for a Finance Ministry decision to allow consumers to purchase liquor online through supermarket chains. In a letter to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance, SLMA President, Dr. Padma Gunaratne and Prof. Narada Warnasuriya, Chairperson SLMA Expert Committee on Tobacco, Alcohol and Illicit Drugs, have said more..

French naval group sails after incident-free tour to Sri Lanka

Jun 17 (FT) The French naval group, comprising 745 officers and personnel, left the country last week after completing an incident-free tour of Sri Lanka. The group were members of the French Navy vessels FNS Tonnerre and FNS Surcouf and toured several tourist sites in a bio-secure arrangement. Official ground handling agent Connaissance de Ceylan said all naval officers were PCR-tested on arrival, and upon receiving negative results, embarked on the journey of exploring SL. more..

Football Super League: Recommencement likely to be postponed

Jun 17 (CT) The recommencement of the inaugural Super League (after the int'l break) which was slated to resume on 2 June, is likely to be further postponed due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Govt in view of COVID-19, a source at Football Sri Lanka (FSL) revealed. “Few participating clubs have requested us to postpone the recommencement of the Super League since they didn’t have enough time to prepare for the resumption of the game due to the COVID more..

$ 100 m Indian credit line to boost solar power in Sri Lanka

Jun 17 (FT) Govt is to boost solar power generation with a $ 100 million credit line from India. An agreement to this effect was signed by Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle and Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay in the presence of Prez Rajapaksa. The funding will be from the Export Import Bank of India. Support for solar power projects is as per the National Policy Framework Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour, more..

Dinesh extends greetings to CCP on its centenary

Jun 17 (Island) The rapport between Sri Lanka and China has developed into a strategic relationship in recent years, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Tuesday said extending greetings to the communist Party of China on its centenary. Minister said that since 1949, the People’s Republic of China has been treading on the path of Socialism, with Chinese Characteristics and has now changed the international balance of power for the better. The progress China has made in social, more..

Clogard helps protect environment and heritage at Sri Paada

Jun 17 (Island) Clogard lent a helping hand to the Department of Wildlife Conservation in pioneering a social endeavor aiming to protect the ecosystem surrounding the sacred Sri Paada. A series of initiatives were carried out in the backdrop of escalating plastic pollution on the Sri Paada site which is home to a rich bio-diversity. Keeping true to their core purpose of Strong Roots and Strong Bonds, Clogard’s reasons for engaging with this project were twofold. more..