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Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Vaccine mix and match: Ready or not?

Jun 11 (TM) Several countries across the globe have started to consider mixing and matching vaccine doses as a viable solution to address the shortage in supply, wherein the first and the second doses of vaccinations administered would be of two different kinds. There are a multitude of clinical trials being conducted in several countries to determine whether this could be executed successfully, but very little data is available for the time being. Recently, SL too has shown interest in conducting more..

Reflecting on Ranil

Jun 11 (Island) After 20 years of frequent defeats and occasional triumphs, Ranil Wickremesinghe became PM without winning a single presidential or parliamentary election to merit that post. He had tried a proxy candidate once before, to no avail; Sarath Fonseka wasn’t going to return anytime soon. In Maithripala Sirisena he faced a more reliable ally: someone who could lead the government, literally, to the Opposition. The occasion was historic: half a century after more..

Implementing a National Digitalisation Strategy

Jun 11 (CT) Due to the lack of comprehensive strategies within the country, the digital interventions have not resulted in system-wide changes or brought about scalable impacts. Therefore, this Digital Economy Strategy looks to utilise existing programmes and all relevant partners in the eco-system to develop and implement an integrated Digital Economy transformation in SL that will pave the way for thriving/effective digital economy more..

Use electoral reforms at local govt level to promote national unity

Jun 11 (ST) Sri Lanka was one of the earliest countries to be granted universal franchise. Since 1931 all citizens above the age of 21, (and since 1959 all those above the age of 18)have got accustomed to electing their representatives to the different arms of govt at periodic elections. With the voters’ willingness to defeat incumbent govts and install alternate govts whenever they felt it necessary to do so, the island earned the reputation of being a vibrant democracy. more..

India’s concerns over China’s influence in Sri Lanka grow with Port City

Jun 11 (SCMP) India’s concerns over China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka have been exacerbated after the approval of controversial legislation governing a Chinese-funded US$1.4 billion project to build a special economic zone (SEZ) next to the main port in Colombo. The Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill was passed by SL’s 225-member parliament last month. Among other things, it empowers a seven-member body appointed by the president with more..

The lessons after the blame games and legal gambits

Jun 11 (TM) The Singapore-flagged container ship MV X-Press Pearl caught fire on 20 May off the western coast of Sri Lanka, and even though the authorities managed to extinguish the fire, the ship has since mostly sunk while throwing into the ocean its hazardous cargo of containers. What followed was one of the biggest disasters in recent memory, and the chemicals, chemical products, and pieces of plastics the ship was carrying more..

Hansamali, Chandimal, Chamuditha & The State

Jun 11 (CT) If the story of SL’s battle with the Covid-19 pandemic is ever written, it is very possible that the Hansamali / Chandimal / Chamuditha episode would claim a few pages, if not a chapter. Not because any one of these three individuals has a direct bearing on the contagion, either as a victim or a healer. As far as we are aware, none of the three has contracted the disease, nor has any of them advocated a native concoction as a cure for the world-wide pandemic, as several of their more..

An open letter to Dr Asela Gunewardene, Director General ff Health Services

Jun 11 (CT) Dear Dr. Gunewardene, We are writing to you to express our grave concern in regard to the ad hoc and discriminatory manner in which some aspects of the Covid vaccination programme have been carried out. We also seek clarification and explanation from you, either in a public statement or media briefing, on the specific matters that we raise as issues of public concern. The first phase of the Covid vaccination programme of the Ministry of Health commenced in February 2021. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Health trade unions decide to go ahead with strike action

Jun 10 (AD) All Ceylon Health Trade Union Federation says it has decided to resort to the scheduled strike action as the discussions held with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi were unfruitful. The association said their major demands, except the request to make assistant health workers permanent employees, were not met with acceptable solutions during the meeting held on Wednesday. Accordingly, all trade unions of the Health Trade Union Federation have more..

Commander of the Navy appreciates contribution of ICGS Samudra Prahari,...

Jun 10 (SLN) Appreciative of the praiseworthy contribution made by Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Samudra Prahari, Vajra and Vaibhav during damage control operation in collaboration with other stakeholders, following MV X-PRESS PEARL caught fire off Colombo harbour on 20th May 2021, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne presented Letters of Appreciation to the Commanding Officers of those ships in a simple ceremony at the port of Colombo today. more..

28% increase in COVID-19 deaths compared to last week

Jun 10 (EN) With a spike in daily infections, a 28-percent increase in SL’s COVID-19 deaths can be seen compared to the previous week, State Minister Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle said on June 10. SL recorded 67 COVID-19 deaths including an eight-day-old baby from Gampola from May 17 to June 08, the highest confirmed death count the health ministry has confirmed in a single day, bringing total deaths to 1,910. more..

Sri Lankan linked to Melbourne cluster only a transit passenger here

Jun 10 (DM) The Sri Lankan who is reportedly the cause for the Melbourne COVID-19 cluster in Australia, has not entered the country but had travelled via Sri Lanka, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara from Sri J'pura University said. He said the Sri Lankan was only a transit passenger, who had arrived from a foreign country and then departed from the country. “It has been confirmed to us that the said Sri Lankan did not enter the country but travelled as a transit passenger,” he affirmed. more..

State Minister calls for Indian Investors to join SL in pursuit of Shared Prosperity

Jun 10 (MFA) State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya invited Indian Investors to join in Sri Lanka to achieve shared prosperity for both nations by taking the opportunity to Invest in SL. He made these remarks at the India Country session of the Invest SL Forum broadcasted digitally from the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. The State Minister highlighted 6 key areas of interest for potential investors during his keynote address with a focus on the rubber, textile and Information Technology industries. more..

Champika denies SJB rift; non-committal on continued support

JJun 10 (EN) Reports of a rift within SJB are mere speculation, SJB MP Champika Ranawaka said, declining to confirm his support for a future presidential bid by opposition leader Sajith Premadasa. Ranawaka said his goal is to end dynastic politics in Sri Lanka. Ranawaka has long been speculated to harbour presidential ambitions. Asked by a reporter if he had dreams of his own, the MP said: “Yes, I have a dream. more..

Video: 1,057 more people under arrest for disregarding quarantine laws

Jun 10 (AD) Sri Lanka Police on Wednesday (9) arrested 1,057 people who violated the quarantine regulations, says DIG Ajith Rohana. A total of 27,977 arrests have been made in connection with the same offences since the 30th of October 2020. Meanwhile, 4,412 individuals were inspected by the police at 14 entry and exit points of the Western Province and 66 of them have been admonished and sent back for attempting to cross the provincial border in violation of more..

Kelaniya University launches first-ever DBA Alumni in Sri Lanka

Jun 10 (CT) The first-ever Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) Alumni in Sri Lanka was established on 29 May 2021 by the doctorate holders of the DBA programme conducted by the University of Kelaniya since 2016. Due to the prevailing situation in the country, the inaugural meeting was held online with the participation of uni staff including the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Senior Professor Ariyarathna Jayamaha, the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce more..

'Probe underway into allegation expressway construction causes floods'

Jun 10 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando instructed his Ministry Secretary R.W.R. Pemasiri to investigate immediately whether there was any truth in claims that some areas in Gampaha were inundated owing to the construction work on the first phase of the Central Expressway from Kadawatha to Meerigama. Minister had also directed the Secretary to study the construction master plan and make adjustments thereto more..

Vehicle prices will rise in future: Importers

Jun 10 (NR) Vehicle Importers’ Association of SL says vehicle prices will increase in future. President of the Association Indika Sampath Merenchige said, there is a probability of the price of 15 models increasing daily. He requested the public to refrain from purchasing vehicles that are priced at an unnecessary cost. He noted certain individuals prefer to invest in vehicles, instead of banks, over fears their funds would depreciate. Merenchige added most individuals opt to selling vehicles more..

Douglas seeks more jabs for North

Jun 10 (CT) Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be extended to Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar Districts in the Northern Province. Devananda added that he raised this matter during the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee Meeting chaired by Prez Rajapaksa, recently. He said 50,000 individuals in the Jaffna District have been vaccinated with COVID-19 jabs on priority basis and more..

Govt to kick-start new industrial development drive district-wise

Jun 10 (FT) To kick-start economic activity in rural areas, the Govt yesterday announced a fresh plan to support launch of new industries with investments of Rs. 100 million at Divisional Secretariat division levels. Under this initiative the Govt plans to promote at least one project at each Divisional Secretariat division and thereby generate small and medium scale enterprises, increase employment/entrepreneurialism at rural level. more..

Magalkande Sudaththa Thero contracts COVID-19

Jun 10 (AD) General Secretary of Sinhala Ravaya Ven. Magalkande Sudaththa Thero has tested positive for coronavirus infection. Previously, it had been identified that the chauffeur of the Thero had contracted the virus. A subsequent PCR test has confirmed that Sudaththa Thero too had been infected with the COVID-19 virus. It has been revealed that Sudaththa Thero had recently attended the funeral of the mother of Ven. Iththekande Sadhdhatissa Thero. more..

Many things about X-Press Pearl scenario we will never know: Prof. Wijegunawardena

Jun 10 (TM) Following the questioning of UNP Member Professor Chandima Wijegunawardana by the CID over recent statements made by her regarding the MV X-Press Pearl calamity, she revealed to The Morning that there are many things about the X-Press Pearl scenario that the public will never find out about. According to the Professor, she was questioned by the CID as they believed that she knew more information about the incident than what is available in the public domain. more..

Video: Growing X-Press Pearl pollution spreads across 150 km of SL coast

Jun 10 (AD) Burnt debris from the wreck of the containership X-Press Pearl is now affecting more than 150 km of SL coastline. That’s according to International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) experts who are onsite. The Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) is working with SL Navy to coordinate the pollution clean-up. ITOPF said more than 1,000 people are involved most days in the operation. more..

IHP lights up drawback in reduced testing

Jun 10 (Island) At high rates of transmission, an effective lockdown combined with high rates of testing and isolation could stop an outbreak completely within six to eight weeks, Executive Director of the Institute for Health Policy (IHP), Dr. Ravi Rannan-Eliya said. “Two good examples of this are Wuhan in February 2020 and Melbourne in mid-2020. Both effectively got to zero in about 6-8 weeks. However, since SL does not have high levels of testing and have in fact reduced testing more..

Ethiopia and SL to expand bilateral trade

Jun 10 (TM) Chambers of Commerce of Ethiopia and SL will conduct studies to enable expansion of bilateral trade between the two nations, Foreign Ministry expressed in a statement. These discussions took place during Virtual Bilateral Consultations with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia yesterday, and in keeping with the current policy of the Govt, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena attached priority to further strengthening ties with countries in Africa more..

Video: COVID-19: Highly transmissible Alpha variant reported from multiple areas

Jun 10 (AD) Patients with an infection of the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 (Alpha) UK variant of the coronavirus have been reported from multiple areas of the island. As per the biological samples obtained from COVID-19 patients, the cases are reported from Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kuliyapitiya, Wariyapola, Habaraduwa, Tissamaharama, Karapitiya, and Ragama areas, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, Director of Dept of Immunology more..

Free transport for seniors traveling to obtain pension

Jun 10 (AD) Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication says that state and private banks island-wide will be open on June 10 and 11 for the payment of pensions. In addition, post offices have also been instructed to remain open on June 10, 11, and 12. Persons who travel to obtain the pension allowances may use their Pension Identity card as a travel pass, the Task Force said. Meanwhile, the govt has arranged free transport services for pensioners who cannot arrange more..

How literate are we?

Jun 10 (FT) About 70 or 80 years ago the convention in Sri Lanka was that a woman is literate enough if she could read a prescription (beheth seettuwa). But we have come a long way from that and now we pride ourselves saying that we are one of the most literate societies. According to published data by 2015 the youth literacy rate in SL is around 98.8% Youth (15-24) literacy rate (%). Total is the number of people aged 15 to 24 years who can both read and write with understanding a short more..

කොවිඩ් දත්ත රැස්කලාටම මදි. බෙදා ගැනීමත් වැදගත්

Video: Nine arrested for hosting party at luxury apartment in Kollupitiya

Jun 10 (DM) Nine persons including two foreigners have been arrested for hosting a party at the Crescat Monarch luxury apartment complex in Kollupitiya last night violating quarantine laws. The party was hosted near the swiming pool in the roof top of the complex and three women were also among those arrested. The suspects will be produced before the Fort Magistrate's Court today. Police are conducting constant raids on parties and other events being conducted violating more..

Sri Lanka must be a friend; not ally or fellow traveller of China

Jun 10 (FT) Whatever the reset in the Rajapaksa ranks and whoever the front-runner in the candidacy-stakes, it’s irrelevant. Our most senior economist, Prof. Nimal Sanderatne, who specialises in agrarian economics, has warned that “The economic consequences of banning chemical fertilisers immediately are horrendous…[It] would reduce production of both food crops and export crops, impoverish farmers, decrease food availability, increase food prices and more..

Oil situation in wrecked ship closely monitored: SLPA

Jun 10 (CT) SLPA said they were awaiting confirmation as to whether the bunker oil of the wrecked feeder ship X-Press Pearl that sank 9.5 nautical miles off Colombo Harbour on 2 June has burnt out during the distress period or whether it is intact in the deck of the ship. According to the SLPA spokesperson, nothing has been officially confirmed however, there is a major suspicion more..

Sri Lanka confirms highest death toll in a single day with 67 fatalities

Jun 10 (NR) 67 COVID-19 related fatalities have been confirmed in the country, raising the death toll to 1,910. This is the highest number of deaths confirmed in SL in a single day since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out last year. 19 deaths were reported between the 17th and 31st of May while 48 deaths were reported between the 1st and 8th of June alone. 43 males and 24 females were among those who succumbed to the virus. One individual among the deceased was identified as more..

7 DSDs put on alert, showers to continue

Jun 10 (CT) The NBRO at 4.30 p.m. yesterday said Godakawela and Balangoda Divisional Secretariat Divisions (DSDs) and surrounding areas in the Ratnapura District were added to the landslide risk areas, thereby increasing the number to cover 47 DSDs scattered over nine Districts, including Colombo. They include 21 ‘red’ alert DSDs and their surrounding areas encompassing the Kegalle, Derinayagala, Warakapola, Ruwanwella, Galigamuwa, Mawanella, Rambukkana, more..