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Looters as Rulers: Massive fraud behind Prado SUV import for MPs: Anura

Jun 11 (DM) Denouncing the moves by the Govt to import 227 Prado SUVs amounting to US$ 18 million at this critical juncture, JVP today said there was a massive fraud behind this vehicle import. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake revealed that the Letter of Credits (LCs) had been opened to import the vehicle fleet on April 22, 2021 whereas the Cabinet approval was sought on May 18, 2021. more..

Video: TID arrests two more individuals linked to Zahran

Jun 11 (AD) Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) has arrested two more individuals who have had links with Zahran Hashim – one of the perpetrators of 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks. DIG Ajith Rohana said one of the arrestees had provided shelter to Zahran Hashim and four members of his group back in 2018. The 47-year-old, who was identified as a resident of Kahatagasdigiliya area, has previously served as the assistant postmaster of Mukariyawa post office in Kahatagasdigiliya. more..

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to be MP on June 22

Jun 11 (DN) Former PM and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to be sworn in as a MP on June 22, Party Chairman Vajira Abeywardena said. The Working Committee of the UNP recently unanimously approved the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe to fill its National List slot in Parliament. The Commissioner of Elections will be notified of the nomination next week and Ranil Wickremesinghe will be sworn in after the gazette notification is issued, Abeywardena said. more..

Bouquets and brickbats from Sri Lanka’s biggest investor

Jun 11 (FT) SL’s biggest investor China this week recommended South Asia’s hub island for international companies, saying the time was right to harness opportunities even though the country needed to address several longstanding challenges. “Despite existing challenges, the time has come to invest in SL,” Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong told global attendees of the virtually-held SL Investment Forum in a presentation more..

Video: Sri Lanka receives 65,000 more doses of Sputnik V vaccine

Jun 11 (AD) Another batch of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow-based Gamaleya Research Institute, arrived on the island early this morning. Thereby, SL has received 65,000 more doses – 15,000 second doses & 50,000 first doses – of the Russia-made jab, State Minister Prof. Channa Jayasumana said. The first doses of the new batch of Sputnik V vaccine are expected to be rolled out in Kandy District. This is the third vaccine consignment delivered by the Russian govt, more..

Rs. 5,000 will only be given to selected groups: Shehan Semasinghe

Jun 11 (TM) The Rs. 5,000 Covid relief fund will only be given to selected groups this time, stated Minister of State Shehan Semasinghe. He stated that the fund has taken time to be distributed because the groups such as Samurdhi recipients, those who lost their income due to Covid and low income families should be identified first by the District Secretaries and then only will the distribution take place. Semasinghe also revealed that Rs. 30 billion has been put aside for the Covid relief fund by more..

සැප වාහන ගෙන්වීම පිටුපස ඇති කැත කතාව

Pearl of Expressed Consumption

Jun 11 (FT) SL as it appears today is never short of events that need fire-fighting, literally and figuratively. When MV Xpress Pearl anchored off Colombo the event to unfold was to be the worst maritime incident of SL. With the initial reporting of a leak from a nitric acid container and then seeking help to douse a fire, it did not take much time for the fire to engulf the entire deck of the Pearl. A couple of violent explosions too rocked the ship, dislodging containers to turbulent waters. more..

The crisis and agriculture

Jun 11 (FT) Had not the Govt imposed a ban on the use of chemical fertiliser and agro-chemicals, agriculture should have been a major sector for the Govt’s attention in its effort to overcome the looming threat of being a failed state. An integrated approach that gives priority to agriculture could have helped the nation to ensure food security whilst at the same time creating an environment conducive to providing a safety net for those retrenched from other sectors due to the current economic slowdown. more..

'Travel restrictions to be lifted on Monday'

Jun 11 (EN) SL’s ongoing curfew-style travel restrictions will be lifted at 4am June 14, the privately owned NewsFirst quoting Army Commander Gen Shavendra Silva reported. Authorities had imposed the island-wide unofficial lockdown on May 21 in an effort to contain rapidly rising daily COVID-19 cases. Restrictions that were to be lifted at 4am June 07 were extended till 4am June 14, the Govt Information Dept previously said, more..

France bans Sri Lankan tourists

Jun 11 (CT) SL tourists and other leisure visitors from the island are banned from visiting France because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the French Embassy in Sri Lanka said on Wednesday. Only Sri Lankans transiting through France for under 24 hours, SL diplomats, students, SL patients seeking urgent medical attention in France, high-profile sports persons and such-like would be allowed to enter France. This is because Sri Lanka is among 16 countries that have been red listed by France more..

Sri Lankan appointed to US President’s Commission

Jun 11 (TM) Dr. George E. Gabriel has been appointed by US Prez Joe Biden to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, the White House communicated in a statement last week. Dr. Gabriel is originally from SL and studied at the Uni of Kelaniya before immigrating to the US. A lifelong educator and researcher with over 40 years of demonstrated experience on two continents, he has a strong belief that higher education is the primary tool for socioeconomic mobility with equity more..

EU Parliament Resolution throws down the gauntlet on GSP+

Jun 11 (FT) The EU Parliament adopted a resolution yesterday calling on the EU Commission to consider temporary withdrawal of Sri Lanka’s GSP+ status and the benefits that come with it, noting the Govt’s persistent failure to adopt and enact human rights reform and repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The Resolution on Sri Lanka was adopted with 628 votes in favour, 15 against and 40 abstentions. more..

India says ready for economic partnership for 21st century with Sri Lanka

Jun 11 (FT) India this week said it was ready for an economic partnership for 21st century with SL to usher in sustained and rapid growth and shared prosperity. Speaking at the SL Investment Forum, India High Commissioner Gopal Baglay underlined that the future of economic and commercial bilateral partnership could focus on areas such as ports, shipping, connectivity, logistics, energy/renewable energy, IT, tourism and hospitality, transport, real-estate, health, education and agriculture. more..

Ship’s environmental damage cannot be calculated in Dollars: Minister

Jun 11 (CT) The ill-fated MV X-Press Pearl ship, had a large number of containers with plastic pellets in its inventory that had been imported over two months ago, owned by two of the country’s largest companies. Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera said that the inventory of around 1,486 containers contained 193 items including plastic pellets, and that the environmental damage caused by the fire will last for another 20 years. He mentioned that SL has 8 major companies more..

Govt denies oil slick news by an int’l media

Jun 11 (CT) Govt yesterday denied the news, aired by Sky News, that revealed a satellite image showing a large oil slick surrounding the wrecked X-Press Pearl. The international news agency on 7 June showed images of an oil slick stretching about 100 meters. State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa denied the news saying that he had visited the site accompanied by the Harbour Master of the SLPA and MEPA Chairperson. more..

Diamond Cutters donates PCR machine

Jun 11 (CT) Diamond Cutters Limited, a BOI registered Company, operating in the country for over three decades, has donated a PCR machine to the Govt/ People of SL at the PM’s office on 7 June. Diamond Cutters Ltd, which is a fully owned subsidiary of the NIRU GROUP, handed over this machine as part of the NIRU CARE programme, which is proactively administered by Ranjeet Barmecha (Chairman) from India and is rolled out on an annual basis across the globe. more..

Eastern Province Governor instructs local bodies to produce organic fertiliser

Jun 11 (Island) Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath on Wednesday issued instructions to the heads of all local govt bodies in her province to launch projects to produce organic fertilisers making use of the biodegradable waste. Addressing the heads of local govt bodies using Zoom technology, the Governor instructed those who were already engaged in producing organic fertiliser to make proposals to improve their production. more..

PCR testing can be increased by 300% overnight: Govt Medical Lab Technologists

Jun 11 (Island) The College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President Ravi Kumudesh disputed a Health Ministry claim that that PCR testing could not be increased in the short run. Kumudesh said that there was no immediate need for more PCR machines, and the ones already available could be used to conduct more tests if the Health Ministry so desired. “With the existing machines and the personnel handling them, more..

CNCI Chief urges Govt. to give vaccination priority for industry employees

Jun 11 (FT) Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) has urged the Govt to vaccinate the employees of manufacturing and service industries and trading companies as a matter of priority. CNCI Chairman Canisius Fernando said that the industrial sector was facing numerous challenges amid COVID-19 as the companies had been dealing with shutdowns, limited operations and other disruptions for more than a year now. As vaccines begin to roll-out with receipt of a considerable quantity of more..

ICTA/PwC introduces new Credit Evaluation Framework for Tech Companies

Jun 11 (CT) The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), the apex body for Information and Communication Technology in SL, in collaboration with PwC Sri Lanka, recently introduced a new Credit Evaluation Framework to be adopted by lenders when lending to tech companies with minimal collateral. The new framework was launched in an event held with the participation of Chairman of ICTA Prof. Lalith Gamage, CEO ICTA Mahinda Herath, more..

2,738 persons test positive for COVID-19

Jun 11 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 patient count rose to 216,134 with 2,738 persons yesterday testing positive for COVID-19. Daily COVID-19 detections have remained above 2,000 since 9 May, despite travel restrictions in place since the end of May. While they are to be lifted at 4 a.m. on 14 June, conflicting reports were yesterday circulated on the relaxation of travel restrictions. However, the Govt is yet to make an announcement regarding more..

Amila Aponso to begin new career in US

Jun 11 (DN) Former SL slow left-arm orthodox bowler Amila Aponso has decided to bid farewell to SL cricket and commence a new career in the US. 27-year-old former Captain of Ragama CC will now turn professional in the US where he will function both as a player and coach in the Minor League Cricket Tournament. The former schoolboy of St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa also had the distinction of representing the SL Under-19 side. After leaving school, Aponso began his more..

Palihapitiya's $16 mln bet on Clover worth $682 mln on Reddit rally

Jun 11 (Reuters) Serial dealmaker Chamath Palihapitiya's $16 million investment in the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that took Clover Health Investments Corp (CLOV.O) public was worth $682 million on Tuesday after a Reddit-fueled rally in the health insurer's shares. Clover shares ended trading up 86% on Tuesday as it became the latest meme stock to capture the imagination of amateur investors on Reddit and other social media platforms. more..

If 3rd dose necessary, order more vaccines now: Prez

Jun 11 (TM) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed the officials to order a batch of vaccine for a third dose, taking the ongoing global situation into account and based on the recommendations by the medical experts. A number of leading countries have already ordered vaccines for the third dose. The Prez highlighted the importance of paying attention to this development and preparing SL as well for a third dose. more..

Moody to evaluate SLC District coaches

Jun 11 (DN) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has extended its District and Provincial coaches’ contracts for another six months. A senior official of SLC said a decision was taken to extend their contract for the remainder of the year. However, from now onwards, the District and Provincial coaches’ performances will be evaluated and scrutinised by SLC’s newly appointed Director Tom Moody and Cricket Advisory Committee, Chaired by former Sri Lanka Captain Aravinda de Silva. more..

SL to send 4x100m women’s team to India

Jun 11 (CT) Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) has included a women’s 4x100m relay team, apart from ten individual athletes, to compete at the 66th National Interstate Athletics Championship in India, to be held from 25 to 29 June in Patiala. Just as during previous Olympic years, Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has organized this Championship to give athletes a last chance to qualify for the Olympics, and made a special request to SLA to send the women›s 4x100m relay team, as more..

Nalaka showcases multi-million dollar urban development investment projects at SLIF

Jun 11 (FT) State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa successfully showcased an impressive array of multi-million dollar socio-economic investment and development projects outside Colombo at the SL Investment Forum this week. His presentation drove home the fact that attractive opportunities for global companies in SL are not confined to the Colombo Port City alone but countrywide. “We believe that urbanisation will bring about more..

DIMO offers local students a gateway to 700+ German degrees

Jun 11 (Island) DIMO, one of the leading conglomerates in SL with over 30 years of excellence in Vocational Education through its DIMO Academy for Technical Skills (DATS), has recently been appointed as the local representative for FH Aachen Uni, Germany‘s No. 1 University for Applied Sciences. SL students can now enrol at the world-renowned freshman program of FH Aachen, leading to internationally-recognized Bachelor’s degree programmes in state and private universities more..

WHO pharmaceutical manufacturing classification: SL Pharma aims to jump to...

Jun 11 (TM) The Govt is planning to level up Sri Lanka’s pharmaceutical manufacturing sector classification to Level 3 from its current Level 1 status, State Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals Secretary Dr. R.M.S.K. Ratnayake stated. “According to the WHO classification, we are at Level 01,” he stated, adding that the Govt is on the path to advancing to the next level in pharma manufacturing. Thus, the Level 02 and Level 03 statuses are yet to be achieved, more..

Chess: Ranindu draws with Bangladesh GM to win Bronze

Jun 11 (TM) SL’s national chess champion Ranindu Liyanage of Ananda College, Colombo fought hard against Grandmaster (GM) Enamul Hussain and drew the game which enabled him to win the Bronze Medal of the Asian Zonal Hybrid Chess Championship 2021 yesterday. The event was conducted for Zone 3.2, or the South Asian Zone, under FIDE, the world governing body of chess. Starting with the Sicilian Defence, more..

Editorial: Make lockdown work

Jun 11 (Island) The Covid-19 fatality rate shows no signs of plateauing any time soon, much less decreasing although the current lockdown has been in force for about three weeks. It was reported yesterday that 67 deaths had occurred due to the pandemic on Wednesday—the highest ever in a single day in this country. Curiously, there have been no such exponential increases in infections if the Health Ministry statistics are anything to go by. There are two possibilities, according to more..

An education in English, for all!

Jun 11 (DM) An Education Ministry official talking about a proposal in pipeline the to provide schoolchildren from grade 1 to 13 with an education entirely in English has become a hot topic for discussion. Yesterday a TV station aired this news where Ministry of Education Secretary Kapila Perera spelled out the initial plans regarding the proposal which is in a stage of work-in-progress. He added that a committee comprising professionals in education were working on the proposal. more..

Reef clean up at Bentota reveals extent of marine pollution

Jun 11 (DM) Marine pollution has been a serious issue and threatens both marine life and people living in coastal areas even before the MV X-Press Pearl disaster. Conservation efforts in SL are still at a primary stage, but private organisations and concerned individuals are now engaging more and more in conservation efforts, offering a glimmer of hope. Earthlanka Youth Network (co-founder Sudarsha de Silva), more..

Bhanuka Rajapaksa outburst and possible repercussions

Jun 11 (Island) Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s media outburst recently gave rise to polarizing views in cricketing circles. Whether it was warranted or not is a secondary issue, in fact it depends on the lens you chose to review his views, but for a common fan it is so disheartening to see a player of that caliber and talent being forced to vent his frustration in public. My first memory of Bhanuka was in New Zealand in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup. As Bhanuka was dominating a minnow attack, more..

Fund shortage for UNHRC Secretariat to probe Sri Lanka

Jun 11 (DN) Two South Asian neighbours are recipients of good news from the UN this week. The tiny archipelago, the Maldives was elected the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for 2021–22. Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid won 143 votes or nearly three fourths of the 191 countries that voted in the annual election, while his rival, former Afghanistan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul managed to get only 48. While the Maldives scored a first-time victory at the UNGA, more..