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Provincial study centres to help students without internet and computer facilities

Jun 22 (Island) Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that provincial education centres would be established for the benefit of students unable to engage in online education due to various issues faced by them, amidst the pandemic. He said, schoolchildren had to cover the syllabuses online as the schools were closed due to Covid-19 and to facilitate their educational TV programmes such as Guru Gedera, more..

Technology Services Company to be upgraded to contain sand mafia

Jun 22 (Island) Technology Services Company will be upgraded as a govt agency to prevent the exploitation of consumers by the sale of low-quality sand at high prices by sand smugglers, a senior official of the Environment Ministry said. In addition to the company’s existing sand mining and marketing activities, it also plans to contribute to the production of calcium carbonate, organic fertilizers and organic herbicides. Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that the supply of more..

How China won over local agency to shackle Sri Lanka using a port city

Jun 22 (ORF) In early June, President Biden, under an executive order, essentially blacklisted Chinese firms by prohibiting US investments in certain Chinese firms that “undermine the security or democratic values of the United States and our allies”. The port city developers China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and the mother company China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) were on this list. On its China policy, the United States (US) stands firm more..

Sri Lanka to merge Laugfs, Litro operations, LPG price controls to remain

Jun 22 (EN) SL will merge liquefied petroleum procurement and distribution operations of Laugfs and Litro Gas and look at govt price support, Minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said after the sector was thrown into crisis due to price controls. “Procurement will be combined for joint bargaining and cost saving,” he said. The two firms have been asking for price increases of between 600 to 700 rupees per 12.5 kilogram cylinder, but more..

Stir against Sri Lanka for dropping wornout buses in sea

Jun 22 (Hindu) A large number of fishermen affiliated to the AITUC staged a demonstration by stepping into the shores here on Monday. The members condemned the Sri Lankan govt for dropping their wornout buses in sea recently. The fishermen here claimed that it would damage their nets and boats. The SL govt had been determined to spoil the livelihood of the fishermen from Tamil Nadu. Under some pretext or the other, they indulged in activities which were anti-Tamils, they said. more..

Eoin Morgan defends rest-and-rotation policy ahead of T20Is against Sri Lanka

Jun 22 (CI) Eoin Morgan has defended the ECB's rest-and-rotation policy ahead of England's T20I series against Sri Lanka, calling the current international schedule unbelievably busy and insisting that England can't play players until they fall over. Morgan, England's limited-overs captain, has had his full-strength squad available for both of their last two T20I series, away against South Africa and India over the winter. While Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Reece Topley are injured more..

Perera presses on Sri Lanka's 'fearless' brand of cricket again, before England T20Is

Jun 22 (CI) Fearless was once again the buzzword for Kusal Perera on the eve of the first T20I against England, as the SL captain once more leaned on the mantra that he had put forth for his side upon taking over the limited-overs reins earlier this year. "We need to be able to play fearlessly," Perera said during a virtual pre-match media briefing. "This is not something that's going to change overnight, but if we keep playing more..

Kumudesh flays specialists over poor quality face masks

Jun 22 (Island) Health worker’s request for high quality face masks had been ignored for over 3 months, College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President Ravi Kumudesh said, adding that the priority of specialists heading procurement committees was to enrich themselves, and the wellbeing of health staff was of no concern to them. Kumudesh also said that the govt should hold an inquiry into allegations made by GMOA President, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya that a traitor was more..

10,000 cops deployed in Western Province

Jun 22 (CT) A total of 10,000 Police personnel have been deployed in the Western Province to ensure that people follow the new health guidelines, SDIG Ajith Rohana said. Even though travel restrictions have been lifted, it is the responsibility of the public to follow health guidelines that have been issued by the Director General of Health Services, SDIG Rohana added. He said Police Officers in mufti have been deployed to conduct surveillance activities regarding health regulation violations. more..

Laugfs questions govt gas pricing

Jun 22 (TM) With the authorities deciding not to increase the price of liquefied petroleum (LG) gas, Laugfs is questioning the pricing method used to arrive at this decision, as the cost of production is higher than the selling price of a gas cylinder. Laugfs Holdings Ltd. Chairman W.K.H. Wegapitiya stated that gas companies are compelled to sell cylinders at a loss due to this decision. more..

UNHRC 47: Core Group statement on SL

Jun 22 (GUK) This statement is on behalf of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK, the Core Group on Sri Lanka. Council resolution 46/1 called upon the SL Govt to address the harmful legacies of war and to protect human rights, including for those from religious minorities. We regret the lack of progress on these issues, with a number of further concerning developments. The SL Govt has attempted to dismiss a number of emblematic cases and more..

Kudu Mangalika arrested with heroin

Jun 22 (AD) Western Province Anti-Corruption Unit of the Police Crime Division has arrested a woman over drug trafficking charges. The arrestee is a 40-year-old resident of Kelaniya named Kalupahanage Mangalika alias Kudu Mangalika. Officers have seized 100 grams of heroin in 800 packets made ready for sale. The worth of the stash is nearly Rs 01 million, according to the Police. In addition, cash worth Rs 50,800, believed to be earned from drug trafficking, has also been found on suspect. more..

Suspected delta strain detected in Madiwela, Sri Lanka, a day after lockdown lifted

Jun 22 (EN) A day after SL relaxed an island-wide COVID-19 lockdown, health authorities have isolated the Pragathipura area in Madiwela, Colombo, following the detection of a COVID-19 patient suspected to be carrying the fast-spreading delta variant of the virus. Deputy Director of Health Services Dr Hemantha Herath said that the area will be isolated and close contacts of the patient will undergo PCR tests. more..

Opposition MPs drive tractors, tuktuks protesting Sri Lanka’s fuel price hike

Jun 22 (EN) The SJB organised a protest campaign on June 22 against a controversial fuel price hike. The protest followed a no confidence motion submitted against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila the previous day. MPs, who began the protest near the parliament premises, were seen driving or being chauffeured in tractors, trucks, motorcycles and threewheelers – a far cry from their regular luxury SUVs and exorbitantly priced sedans. SJB leader Sajith Premadasa told reporters more..

Umpire Sue Redfern to become first woman to officiate in an England men's home int'l

Jun 22 (CI) Sue Redfern will become the first woman to officiate in an England men's home international match after being appointed as fourth umpire for Wednesday's first T20I against SL in Cardiff. Alex Wharf had been due to fill the role, but Redfern was placed on standby in the event that the reserve day was activated in the World Test Championship final in Southampton. With persistent bad weather forcing the game into a sixth day, Redfern will now step in for the first of 3 T20Is more..

Video: COVID-infected lion at Dehiwala Zoo recovers

Jun 22 (AD) The lion named ‘Thor’ at the Dehiwala Zoo which had contracted COVID-19 has returned to health. However, ‘Thor’ has become weak due to old age, Minister C.B. Rathnayake said, speaking on the matter. Meanwhile, the PCR tests carried out on the lioness which was in the den with ‘Thor’ have come out negative, he added. On June 18, the Dept of National Zoological Gardens confirmed that more..

Work on 12,336 roads in progress

Jun 22 (DN) Highways Minister Johnston Fernando yesterday said that work has already commenced to complete construction of 17,311.27 Kms on 12,336 roads by the end of the second quarter of this year, under the project of developing 100,000 km of rural roads as part of Prez Rajapaksa’s National Policy Framework, Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour. “Work is proceeding with the aim of completing the development of 25,000 Kms of road by the end of this year,” the Minister said. more..

Over 100 Sri Lankan ICT companies linked with UAE market: Foreign Ministry

Jun 22 (EN) The Sri Lanka embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Export Development Board (EDB) have connected over 100 Sri Lankan ICT companies and professionals with the UAE market, the foreign ministry said. The initiative was taken to expand and double the island’s export options and income, the ministry said in a statement on June 22. This was an outcome of a move to expand Sri Lanka’s export basket under a government initiative to double export income, the ministry said. more..

Ministry to ban all types of lunch sheets without publishing new gazette: Amaraweera

Jun 22 (DM) While there is great environmental damage to the country, the Environment Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera, advised the ministry officials to take steps to ban all types of lunch wrapping sheets in the country without publishing a new gazette notification. The decision was made by the Minister, after taking into account all steps that the Ministry had taken in the past to prohibit the use of lunch sheets. more..

Deadline extended for political parties to submit their proposals on electoral reforms

Jun 22 (Island) The Parliamentary Select Committee on Election law reforms yesterday (21) extended the deadline given to recognized political parties to submit their proposals on the reforms related to election laws and the electoral system until July 15. Accordingly, the Chairman of the Select Committee Leader of the House, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena requested the relevant political parties to send their proposals in writing on or before this date. Those proposals can be sent to more..

Change in methodology may show decline in COVID cases; but they are not actual: PHIs

Jun 22 (DM) A drop in number of COVID-19 cases that could be witnessed in coming weeks will not portray as the actual decline in infections in the country, Public Health Inspectors Union claimed. Union Head Upul Rohana said, according to a circular issued by the Director General of Health Services recently on quarantine measures, the first contacts of COVID patients, who end their quarantine period, will have to undergo an Antigen test whereas it was a PCR test earlier. more..

පොල් ගස් කැපීමටත් බලපත්‍ර ඕනෑ!

Fiscal policy corrections postponed until 2030, defying IMF support

Jun 22 (FT) Neglecting the urgent need to reduce the budget deficit so as to restore economic stability, a few days ago, the Govt decided to defer the fiscal rules that were introduced way back in 2003 until the year 2030. The budget deficit rose to 11.1% of GDP in 2020, and it is most likely to be over 12% of GDP this year in the backdrop of revenue shortfalls caused by pandemic-hit economic activities. Fiscal deficit, compounded by the tax cuts effected in 2019, is the root cause of excessive money more..

GSP+ and the intentions of European Parliament and NATO

Jun 22 (FT) The European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka on 10 June calling on the Commission and the European External Action Service to use the GSP+ as a leverage to push for advancement on Sri Lanka’s human rights obligations and demand the repeal or replacement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), to carefully assess whether there is sufficient reason, as a last resort, to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of SL’s GSP+ more..

Crisis cannot be tackled by fuel price increases alone: SJB prescribes IMF

Jun 22 (Island) SJB spokesperson Dr. Harsha de Silva, MP, yesterday called for immediate remedial measures in the wake of Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila’s shocking admission that the national economy was in such a bad shape it found it difficult to pay for oil imports. Former UNP non-Cabinet minister de Silva said that there had not been a previous instance of a minister expressing fears of collapse of the banking system under more..

J’pura University establishes rapid, low cost nanopore sequencing for the first time in SL

Jun 22 (DM) The genomic sequencing facility of the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit (AICBU) at the Dept of Immunology and Molecular Medicine in Uni of Sri J'pura, has added nanopore sequencing technology to their sequencing facility. This unit has been instrumental in carrying out SARS-CoV-2 sequencing in the country so far, since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in SL in March 202 The addition of the nanopore sequencing technology will enable AICBU to ramp up the capacity of more..

Mannar Basin oil exploration drags on in tender dispute

Jun 22 (ST) Sri Lanka‘s oil and gas exploration process in Mannar Basin including appraisal and development of natural gas discoveries in Block M2 is being dragged into an unknown direction with the cancellation of international competitive bids called in 2019, removing the selected bidder. This action has been taken by Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila on the advice of newly appointed advisor to the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) Saliya Wickramasuriya. more..

Did pushing aside Serum Institute’s local agent cause a vaccination delay in SL?

Jun 22 (EN) Replacing SL’s local agent of the Serum Institute of India (SII) with the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) in procuring the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine would’ve led to a costly four-week delay in ordering the jab, a lawyer said. This delay, in turn, could’ve contributed to the current shortage of some 600,000 second doses of the vaccine, the law firm LexAG said. Despite procurement guidelines allowing for more..

Pakistan donated LKR Rs. 66 million and 8.027mn for Sports, Covid-19 in Sri Lanka

Jun 22 (PHC) On behalf of the Govt of Pakistan, High Commissioner of Pakistan Major General (R) Muhammad Saad Khattak handed over two cheques amounting to LKR 66 million & LKR 8.027 million to Prez Rajapksa, in a ceremony held today at Gangaramaya Temple. General G.D.H. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), Defense Secretary was also present during the ceremony. The amount of LKR 66 million (equal to Pak Rs.52 million) was announced by the PM of Pakistan, more..

SL under new Govt attracts almost $ 1 b in tourism investment proposals: Prasanna

Jun 22 (FT) SL, under the new Govt, has attracted nearly $ 1 billion worth of investment proposals to the tourism sector given its future prospects, despite the COVID-induced challenges, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said. He said that during the past 15 months (Mar 2020 to June 2021), there had been 61 projects proposed in the tourism sector with an envisaged investment of $ 914 million. “During the year ending March 2021, there were 54 projects with an envisaged investment of $ 880 million, more..

Epidemiology Unit under investigation

Jun 22 (TM) The Ministry of Health has launched an investigation into several concerns that have been raised recently regarding the data published by the Epidemiology Unit, especially those related to Covid-19 deaths, The Morning learnt. A senior Health Ministry official said that if there have been shortcomings in reporting Covid-19 deaths, the relevant investigation has been initiated with the intention of correcting them. more..

Public Oblivious to Health Restrictions

Jun 22 (CT) In the wake of relaxing the month-long travel restrictions imposed by the Govt, to curb the spread of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterday (21), scores of people were seen thronging banks, shopping malls, boutiques, pawn shops, liquor outlets, retail stores and SATHOSA outlets. Though the lifting of travel restrictions were made under strict conditions, most people were seen acting oblivious to health guidelines such as wearing face masks, maintenance of more..

Will Basil return to Parliament?

Jun 22 (Island) Speculation is rife in political circles that Basil Rajapaksa will return to Parliament as an SLPP National List MP. Well informed sources told The Island that the SLPP founder was expected to return from the US this week. If consensus could be reached on the former SLFP National Organiser’s return to Parliament, one appointed MP would resign, sources said. At the last general election, the SLPP secured 17 NL slots out of 29. The 20th Amendment enacted in October last year more..

AG to move HC over eight related incidents

Jun 22 (Island) The Police Headquarters says Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, will soon move High Court in respect of eight incidents related to the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide attacks. Officers of the AG’s Department along with the CID and the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) were preparing in that regard, Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said. According to SDIG, in charge of the police Legal Division, altogether, more..

JAT surmounts FY21 with strong finish in second half

Jun 22 (FT) Sri Lanka’s market leader for wood coatings and diversified conglomerate, JAT Holdings, said it ended FY 2020/21 with a strong and solid performance, against the backdrop of challenging market and economic conditions. Despite recording a marginal net loss in the first half, owing to the pandemic, the group mounted a successful recovery in the second half, posting a healthy Rs. 621 million Profit After Tax, completely reconciling losses incurred earlier in the year, more..

Richard Pieris, Vallibel into S&P SL20; ComBank, DCSL out

Jun 22 (TM) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recently announced changes in the Standard & Poor’s Sri Lanka 20 (S&P SL20) index constituents made by S&P Dow Jones Indices at the 2021 mid-year index rebalance, which resulted in the inclusion of Brown and Co, LB Finance, Richard Pieris and Co, and Vallibel One to the index. The exclusions were Access Engineering, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, DFCC Bank, Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, and People’s Leasing and Finance. more..