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2,275 persons test positive for COVID-19

Jun 16 (FT) SL’s COVID-19 patient count rose to 228,197 with 2,275 persons testing positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Only 15,214 PCR tests were carried out yesterday. The patients detected yesterday include 2,275 persons from the New year cluster and the cumulative patient count of the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, Prisons and New Year clusters has risen to 221,294. This includes 126,474 persons from the New Year cluster, more..

15 MW wind plant for Mannar Grid Substation

Jun 16 (TM) A 15 MW wind power plant is to be constructed for the Mannar Grid Substation and the project has been awarded to Hiruras Power (Pvt.) Ltd., following the approval of Ministers. Ministry of Power Director Sulakshana Jayawardena said the aforementioned wind power plant is a segment of the main project which was approved by the Cabinet to add 60 MW of wind power capacity to 5 grid substations in Trincomalee, Mannar, Madampe, Bolawatta & Kappalthurai. more..

Cabinet mum on fuel hike

Jun 16 (FT) This week’s meeting of the Cabinet had not seen a discussion on the fuel hike despite it being one of the most talked about subjects amongst the general public. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday confirmed the fact that the fuel hike did not figure at the Cabinet meeting. In the absence of Prez Rajapaksa, PM Rajapaksa chaired the Cabinet meeting. Rambukwella said following the fuel hike Govt is likely to consider offering relief to the most vulnerable groups. more..

X-Press Pearl chemicals likely to get diluted off Sri Lanka seas: official

Jun 16 (EN) Chemicals remaining on board X-Press Pearl to get diluted in the Indian Ocean an official said, as the vessel which carried over 800 tonnes of sodium hydroxide continued to emit a grey sheen while settling to the bottom off Colombo Port. “According to what chemical scientists say the disclosed chemical compounds disclosed here will get diluted (in sea water) and there will be no long term impact,” Secretary of Ministry of more..

Indian fishers riled by SL moves to create new fish breeding grounds

Jun 16 (Island) Fishermen from Rameswaran will hold a protest today against SL’s decision to submerge 20 old buses in the seas off Jaffna to create breeding grounds for fish. Members of 17 fisheries associations in TN and Rameswaran claim that this will affect their yield as more fish will be attracted to the breeding grounds created by submerged buses. Ministry said sinking those buses was nothing new and that such buses provided a hard surface for invertebrates more..

Diesel deal goes to Petrochina S’pore, crude oil to Conscio of Nigeria

Jun 16 (FT) Govt has awarded a long-term eight-month contract for the supply of diesel to Petrochina Int'l (Singapore) Ltd. and nine-month delivery of Murban crude oil to Conscio Ltd., Nigeria. The successful bidders were recommended by the Special Standard Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet, which approved the awarding of contracts this week. PetroChina Int'l is the Trading Arm of PetroChina Company, and is one of the world’s largest global commodity more..

Debt-ridden CEB goes ahead with shocking pay hike amidst pandemic

Jun 16 (Island) Two days after the Presidential Secretariat stated that the CEB owed two state banks––Bank of Ceylon and the People’s Bank, a staggering Rs 85 bn, the cash-strapped enterprise announced an annual 12% salary increase to its employees. Vijitha Herath, Chairman, of CEB, said that the salary increase in terms of the collective agreement for 2021-2023 period would enable the workers to receive 25% in 1st year more..

U.S. confident Sri Lanka would ensure required facilitation for U.S. investors

Jun 16 (Island) SL govt has pledged to address the pending policy issues and I am confident that once the pandemic subsides, concrete efforts will begin to improve ease of doing business and ensure the required facilitation for US investors, Martin Kelly, Charge d’ Affairs of the Embassy of the US in SL said recently speaking at the SL Invest Forum 2021 held virtually through June 7-9, 2021 “SL was among the first countries in the region to open its economy and offers the highest standards of living more..

March quarter earnings surge by 207% YoY to Rs 110.8 bn

Jun 16 (TM) First Capital Research, issuing a report, highlighted that March-quarter earnings surged by 207% Year-on-Year (YoY) to Rs. 110.8 billion led by diversified financials (988% YoY); capital goods (214%); food, beverage, and tobacco (669%), banks (70%), and materials (267%) for about 253 companies. However, sluggish quarterly performance was witnessed on consumer services (-643%) and real estate (-19%), consumer durables and apparel (-170%) and insurance (-4%). more..

Lack of competition leaves Olympic hopefuls lagging behind standards

Jun 16 (Island) Youth Asian Championship medallist Harsha Karunaratne made a remarkable return to competition to continue the family trend and his school’s tradition as he won the men’s 800 metres at the Stage One of the SL Army Athletics Championship at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Tuesday. Former Ratnayake Central, Walala athlete, who won the Youth Asian Championship silver in 2017, was out of competition for more..

Decision on AstraZeneca-Pfizer combination in coming days

Jun 16 (FT) A decision will be made in the coming days on the AstraZeneca-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine combination for persons who received the first dose of AstraZeneca, Health Services Director General Dr. Asela Gunawardena said. He explained that advice was given to the Chief Epidemiologist on Sunday on the relevant committee meeting to discuss the matter. “A few days ago, the findings of a study carried out by the University of Saarland in Germany were revealed, showing that more..

ComBank donates ICU beds to Kegalle Teaching Hospital

Jun 16 (CT) Commercial Bank of Ceylon has donated three Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds to the Teaching Hospital Kegalle, which receives over 80,000 admissions and 350,000 clinic visits, annually. The donation was made following a request from the hospital and will help it to provide seamless healthcare services to prevent non-pandemic related morbidities and mortalities while also treating patients who are COVID-19 positive. The CSR Trust of the Bank has already more..

Bombarded with rising costs, bakeries jack up prices

Jun 16 (FT) Amidst rising costs of inputs, import restrictions and other business factors, bakeries have increased prices of all products except bread by a minimum of Rs. 5 to a maximum of Rs. 50. “A price hike in bakery products was inevitable for the survival of the businesses,” All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) President N.K. Jayawardena said. He pointed out that restrictions on imports, excessive taxes, more..

SL to play warm-up matches at Old Trafford

Jun 16 (DN) SL Cricket Team will play two Intra-Squad practice matches on June 18 and 20 at the Old Trafford Cricket Grounds in Manchester. The 24-member SL Squad led by Kusal Perera reached Manchester on June 9 and completed their three-day quarantine period at the hotel. The SL Team is scheduled to leave for Cardiff on June 20 ahead of the first T20 International against England on June 23. After the three-match T20I series the two teams will figure in 3 ODIs commencing on June 29. more..

CPC to build new storage facility at HIP

Jun 16 (CT) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) signed a MoU with the Hambantota Int'l Port Group (HIPG), last week to develop the Hambantota Port as a strategic energy centre in SL. The signing ceremony was held at the Ministry of Energy, with top officials of CPC and HIPG participating. A separate storage terminal with associated facilities for both domestic and export purposes connected to the Port via a pipeline is to be established by CPC, about 15 Km away from the Port. more..

Athletics: Visa rejection dooms Kazakhstan tour

Jun 16 (CT) Sri Lanka Athletics desperate bid to send a team to Kazakhstan for the World Athletics Bronze medal meet, Kosanov Memorial in Almaty is doomed, as they have rejected visas of SL, Maldives and another country, said President of AASL, Maj Gen (rtd) Palitha Fernando. US based high jumper Ushan Perera, who has jumped 2.30m, was the prime hope of qualifying for the Olympics during the meet, more..

IFC’s investment in Sunshine Holdings to help diversify biz operations, drive efficiency

Jun 16 (FT) Consumers in SL are set to benefit from a new $ 5 million investment by IFC to Sunshine Consumer Lanka Ltd., a subsidiary of Sunshine Holdings PLC, with a greater number of food products on offer and moves to adopt international food safety standards. The move marks IFC’s first local currency investment in SL’s consumer goods sector and will allow Sunshine Consumer Lanka to diversify its Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) portfolio by expanding its operations from more..

State of national economy, scandalous SUV order and fuel price hikes

Jun 16 (Island) What is the current state of the economy? How can the public determine the state of the economy? Let me briefly refer to recent statements made, both in and outside Parliament, by members of the ruling SLPP on the state of the economy. The issue, at hand, is whether the incumbent government is competent to cope up with the situation. Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardane (SLPP/Colombo District), Energy Minister Attorney-at-Law Udaya Gammanpila (PHU/Colombo), more..

SLC concerned over Technical Committee intervention?

Jun 16 (TM) One of the highly-placed officials of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has shown his concern, and agitation, over the present SLC Technical Committee’s (TC) alleged intervention on the national cricket affairs. The said official, who had been one of the main figures of SLC administration through the last two decades, has raised the issue when the SLC top-brass met last, after the national cricket team left to England for their more..

The kid who came to Colombo to study law

Jun 16 (Island) In late 1990s, there was a kid from Kandy who came to Colombo to pursue his studies in law. In 1980s, the universities had been closed due to the JVP insurrection and as a result there was a backlog in enrolling students to complete their degrees. The kid from Kandy had to wait for two years for his chance to enter university in a bid to become a lawyer going in the footsteps of his father. So with lot of spare time at his disposal, he decided to play some cricket and was employed by more..

ICTA spearheads AgTech Showcase

Jun 16 (FT) Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) is at the forefront of driving digital transformation to make Sri Lanka a digitally-inclusive nation. The AgTech Showcase held on 10 June virtually, is an initiative to increase awareness and adoption of technology in the agriculture industry. This initiative focuses on creating collaboration among stakeholders in the agriculture sector, introducing new and advanced agri-technologies from local and int'l experts, more..


Jun 16 (Island) Meng Ke (also known as Mencius), the Chinese philosopher, who lived between 372 BC and 289 BC, has been in my mind lately for what he said on shame and shamelessness all those years ago. According to him, a man must not be without shame, for the shame of being without shame is shamelessness indeed. Feeling shameful for doing something wrong is necessarily a core foundation for emotional and ethical more..

When shamelessness becomes a virtue

Jun 16 (Island) Prof. Sasanka Perera has, in a hard-hitting column published in The Island, castigates all political potentates who do not have an iota of shame and are ready to stoop to anything morally reprehensible to further their own interests. His consternation is understandable, and his astringent criticism will surely strike a responsive chord with the discerning public outraged at widespread bribery and corruption, the plunder of state funds, the abuse of power and the culture of impunity. more..

Israel-Palestine conflict and regime change in Israel

Jun 16 (DM) On May 14, 1948, the UN recognized Israel as an independent state. However it was only on Dec 15, 1988, the State of Palestine’s declaration of independence of Nov 1988 was acknowledged in the General Assembly in Resolution 43/177. Meanwhile, 73 years after Israel was accepted as a member of the UN, Palestine continues to be a non-member observer state In the days prior to its independence May 14, 1948, Israel captured substantial tracts of land from the state of more..

Ajith P. Perera & Ashok Abesingha

Supreme Court on Port City Bill: Implications for fundamental rights and devolution

Jun 16 (Island) The determination of the Supreme Court on the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill was that as many as 26 provisions of the Bill were inconsistent with the Constitution and required to be passed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Court further determined that nine provisions of the Bill also required the approval of the people at a referendum. Among the grounds of challenge was that the Bill effectively undermined the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SL more..

Echoes of Dr. N.M. Perera’s dismissal in present crisis

Jun 16 (TM) Dr. Nanayakkarapathirage Martin Perera, popularly known as Dr. N.M. Perera, one of the greatest politicians and statesmen produced by our country, was born on 6 June 1905. In recognition of his stature as a freedom fighter, a trade union leader, an authority who consolidated parliamentary democracy in the country, an economist who defended the rights of the developing world, and a politician who sacrificed political power to defend minority rights, he remains in the hearts of more..

Development and beautification: Transforming Colombo

Jun 16 (TM) Over the past year, the Govt has placed special focus on the development and beautification of Colombo. These development projects are being done as a part of a bigger plan to transform the city within the next 10 to 15 years. State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa stated that all the projects currently being done and those to be initiated, are a part of a plan that goes back to 2014. He explained that during his time as more..

The agricultural Issue: Ban or Balance – Organic or Mineral?

Jun 16 (CT) A recent announcement by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, at some public meeting, it is reported, announced that all imports of agrochemicals/ fertilizers(?) will be banned and implemented with immediate effect, despite any protests from whatever quarter, come what may. Whether this would be applied to all agrochemicals or to chemical fertilizers, only or was to include pesticides and weed – killers as well, was not clear to me. But from the logic and spirit (tenor) of the speech, more..

Sri Lanka’s steady sliding towards a military dictatorship

Jun 16 (CT) Prez Rajapaksa’s compelling necessity to install a military dictator rule is due to many reasons, some of which can be listed as follows: The military mindset of the Prez is also an underlying factor propelling and influencing his thinking. 1. He has to put an end to the accusations of UNHRC, UN and other civil groups, namely the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity etc. He has to avoid the principle of command responsibility for those alleged commission of crimes, more..

Alleged police brutality and custodial deaths: Rising numbers cause concern

Jun 16 (TM) Alleged cases of police brutality have come to light with three incidents being reported within a two-week period. According to reports, the Police have been accused in connection with three recent deaths. Talk of police brutality resurfaced following the death of a 47-year-old on 21 May in the Midigama area in Weligama, Matara. According to the CCTV footage, the individual was assaulted by a helper while two police officers more..

Crisis on all fronts: Govt on the back foot

Jun 16 (ST) Facing controversies on multiple fronts, SLPP-led Govt would surely have been glad that this week’s Parliament sittings were limited to just Tuesday (8) owing to COVID-19 concerns. Nevertheless, for much of the day, the Govt was forced to defend itself against attacks by the Opposition over its handling of key issues such as the pandemic, vaccination, the fertiliser crisis and the X-Press Pearl disaster. Making a statement at the beginning of proceedings, more..

The MV X-Press Pearl fiasco

Jun 16 (CT) US based The Maritime Magazine, in an article published online on Sunday, said that salvors, Sri Lankan officials and satellite imaging providers have identified a gray sheen emanating from the recent half-sunk wreck of the MV X-Press Pearl container carrier, partially submerged off Sri Lanka’s Western Coast. However, X-Press Feeders noted Saturday that there are no confirmed reports of fuel oil pollution from the vessel, the Magazine said. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

UNOPS hands over 100 Oxygen Concentrators out of 2100 funded by WB

Jun 15 (Island) United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), an operational arm of the world body, last week handed over 100 Oxygen Concentrators worth US$110,000 as the initial consignment out of a total of 2100 oxygen concentrators to be provided to the Ministry of Health. A press release issued by the UNOPS said: UNOPS SL has been procuring emergency medical equipment for the Ministry of Health in accordance with the requirements outlined by Ministry more..

Amaraweera orders CEA to develop recycling scheme

Jun 15 (CT) Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera has directed manufacturing firms and the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to develop a recycling programme for 750 ml plastic bottles. Ministry of Environment is currently concentrating on setting up a cooperative recycling factory with these plastic bottle manufacturing firms, as SL’s Local Govt Authorities lack such facilities. Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Environment is working on an alternative scheme to prevent more..