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Rights probe on SL: UNHRC suffers setback

Jun 6 (ST) The UNHRC’s move to set up a separate secretariat to enforce matters relating to the resolution it passed on Sri Lanka in March this year has suffered a setback. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said, “We have learnt that the UN Headquarters has cut down by more than 50% of the amount the Council sought.” He said, he was now awaiting a full report from the SL Permanent Mission in New York. more..

Pet dog leads rescuers to the family it lost

Jun 6 (ST) The heaviest thunderstorms of the year devastated most areas in Sri Lanka in the past few days with floods and landslides displacing tens of thousands of families. In one tragedy, a family pet dog is seen digging the area where four family members were buried in a landslide at Devanagala, Mawanella. Earlier, rescue workers looking for the victims had chased the pet dog away when it came to the scene, but it returned and started clearing the mud with its front paws. more..

Official on Pearl fire: loading conflicts on dangerous goods are usually detected

Jun 6 (EN) Terminals and vessels have checks to ensure that dangerous goods are safely stowed, an industry official said in response to questions whether a loading conflict could have triggered a fire on board the SL bound X-Press Pearl. Ships are loaded based on International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code requirements. “When stowage planning is done by each terminal, they have segregation requirements & separation requirement, if not it will show up (in the software)” more..

Colombo City beautification: UDA drawing 15-year plan

Jun 6 (TM) The city of Colombo will evolve as a new urban area within the next 10 to 15 years, as most of the current businesses and govt institutions will be moved out of the city to create space for the new urban plan. State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said that there are certain govt buildings in the Colombo Fort area which could be relocated as part of the masterplan. Relocation of the said buildings has also been mentioned more..

German Embassy hands over consignment of masks to Health Ministry through WHO

Jun 6 (Island) In an effort to combat and control the current surge of COVID-19 cases in SL, Germany recently handed over a consignment of protective surgical masks to the Ministry of Health through the World Health Organization country office for Sri Lanka (WHO SL). The consignment, which includes a total of 924,000 surgical face masks, was jointly handed over by Mrs Claudia Tietze, Head of Press and Culture of the German Embassy, and Dr. Olivia Nieveras, Public Health Administrator more..

Oxygen for Covid-19 patients: Direct supply needed for 500-odd patients

Jun 6 (TM) Around 500 Covid-19 patients presently being treated at hospitals across the country are in need of a direct oxygen supply. Ministry of Health Deputy Director General of Medical Services Dr. Lal Panapitiya said that as of last morning, a total of 318 patients being treated at high dependency units (HDUs) and 120 patients at ICUs are in need of a direct oxygen supply. Currently, 33,122 Covid-19 patients are being treated at hospitals while 31,466 suspected Covid patients too are in hospitals. more..

Apparel industry income to drop by 20% this year

Jun 6 (ST) The recent spike in COVID-19 cases at the apparel factories has resulted in an increase in testing in all zones with numbers reporting to work having seen a sharp drop. FTZ Manufacturers Association General Secretary Dhammika Fernando said that the attendance has been markedly reduced due to the restrictions on travel. At the moment the vaccination drive for factory workers has also stopped, more..

Tamim fined for showing dissent at umpire's decision

Jun 6 (CB) Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal has copped one demerit point and fined 15% of his match fees for breaching Level 1 of the ICC Code of Conduct. It was Tamim's first offence in a 24-month period. The incident occurred in the third and final ODI against SL. After an unsuccessful review against a caught-behind dismissal, Tamim was found guilty of breaching Article 2.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to "use of an audible obscenity more..

Rugby players treated as outcasts, languish in limbo

Jun 6 (SO) Rugby players in SL have taken to social media denouncing what they call the failure to recommence the once popular spectator sport that had ample breathing space in the first four months of the year. Their reaction comes barely a week after rugby officials took pride in installing themselves with media coverage for a second one-year term despite them not being able to witness a single match during their first one-year term. “Please give us the chance to play rugby for our country,” more..

Ample buffer stocks of salt: No need for panic buying

Jun 6 (Island) Sri Lanka has ample buffer stocks of salt to meet the local demand for the next one and a half years, industry players assured, while allaying fears of an imminent shortage following concerns over toxic chemicals from the fire-stricken X-Press Pearl feeder vessel seeping into salterns in the southern and north western parts of the country. People clamored to stock up on salt over the past week as word spread that more..

SriLankan operating limited flights based on passenger/cargo demand

Jun 6 (Island) SriLankan Airlines is operating limited flights to many global destinations depending on passenger and cargo demand, a senior official said. “No country has stopped aircraft from flying into their airports; the critical issue now is whether passengers from one country is accepted in the other because of stringent Covid-19 regulations”, he explained. For example, SL has debarred incoming passengers from India and Vietnam. Similarly, other countries have also prohibited arrivals more..

No impact on Sri Lanka cricketers traveling to England

Jun 6 (ST) The recent travel restrictions imposed by UK on travelers from SL due to the current spike in COVID 19 cases in the island, will have no impact on the SL cricketers traveling for their six-match limited over series in England, SLC official said. The national team is scheduled to travel on a charter flight to England on June 8. So far England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has not notified their counterparts in SL on any alterations that has to be made with travel arrangements. more..

MV X-Press Pearl disaster: Four options on the table for compensation

Jun 6 (Island) Sri Lankan govt can opt for at least four compensation claims from the fire-stricken, Singapore flagged MV X-Press Pearl’s owners/insurance agents, a senior govt official said. “Though some of the claims could take time due to technical issues, we have a strong case when it comes to damage caused to marine biodiversity, which can be considered the biggest environmental catastrophe”, she said. more..

Moody’s presence in England, expensive yet vital

Jun 6 (ST) Tom Moody’s involvement with the national team during the forthcoming England series will cost SLC around Rs. 10 million but Cricket Technical Advisory Committee head Aravinda de Silva believes his presence is vital to obtain first-hand information on players and support staff to determine what improvement are needed. Moody was enlisted on a three-year contract as Director of Cricket at a daily wage of US$ 1,900 (Rs 376,125) including a US$100 allowance. more..

Sri Lanka go down fighting 3-2 against Lebanon in FIFA World Cup qualifier

Jun 6 (ST) Lebanon kept the pressure firmly on South Korea at the Group ‘H’ summit after a 3-2 win over a spirited SL in the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 yesterday took them to the top of the standings. An entertaining opening half at Goyang Stadium saw Sri Lanka go in front through Waseem Razeek before Lebanon replied immediately after with goals from Joan Oumari and Mohamad Kdouh, and then took a 3-1 lead more..

West Container Terminal: Final agreement awaits AG’s nod

Jun 6 (TM) The Attorney General’s (AG) concurrence has been sought for the drafting of the Build, Operate, and Transfer (BOT) agreement for the West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Colombo Port between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and India’s Adani Ports. It is learnt that both parties have agreed to the draft agreement and once the AG’s concurrence is given, the parties are planning to sign the agreement. more..

Lessons from the X-Press Pearl disaster

Jun 6 (SO) SL had to face two maritime disasters within just one year. In the first incident, the very large crude carrier MT New Diamond caught fire on Sept 3, 2020 off the Eastern Coast of SL. A major maritime disaster was averted thanks to timely action by the SL Navy (SLN), SL Air Force (SLAF) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) which managed to extinguish the fire by Sept 11. There was an oil spill, though not a major one and the after effects were managed successfully by the above more..

Waiting for that second opinion

Jun 6 (ST) My dear Sudarshini, It is not often that I write to two doctors in two weeks, but I had to write to you this week, after writing to Doctor Padeniya last week. That is because these are difficult times when medical issues have brought the country a standstill, and you are one of the many medical experts in the govt. In fact, the govt should have been equipped to deal with the coronavirus because it has five medical men & women in its ranks: you, a community physician, Prof Tissa more..

MV X-Press Pearl inferno: Devastating blow to marine life

Jun 6 (TM) The MV X-Press Pearl catastrophe goes down as the biggest maritime disaster in SL’s history, and the magnitude of marine pollution as a result, is something the island has not witnessed before. Authorities are bracing for a major oil spill off the coast of Colombo, as the X-Press Pearl vessel is slowly being swallowed by the ocean, and the environmental devastation it has brought along may be irreversible. more..

Courting disaster, with no proper plan to handle it

Jun 6 (ST) In its desperate quest to chase after every possible dollar on offer, are the authorities inviting disaster after disaster into the country is the question on many a lip. A few months ago, in the midst of a pandemic it was inviting Ukrainian tourists. More recently, Indian workers transiting. Now, a stricken ship. An environmental and economic catastrophe, the worst of its kind as they say, has occurred by the fire and the consequent sinking of the X-Press Pearl outside more..

Veggie famers in quandary

Jun 6 (TM) Although many government officials claim that the country’s agriculture sector has so far been relatively less affected in the wake of the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, farmers and a key farmer association in the country are forecasting a significant drop in vegetable crops in the upcoming months. The farmers have been affected in many ways by the islandwide travel restrictions, which will be effective till 14 June, and the adverse impact on crops due to unavailability of organic fertiliser more..


How to prohibit unsafe consumer products: Lesson from electricity industry

Jun 6 (Island) The list gets longer by the day. glyphosate, asbestos, thin polythene, palm oil, coconut oil and now, chemical fertiliser and insecticides. I have no knowledge of whether the above-mentioned products should be prohibited or not. However, I can explain the process followed over four years starting 2015, to prohibit unsafe electrical plugs, sockets and converters. The experience revealed that still there are experts, academics and efficient state officers, more..

The extraordinary life, times and talent of Laki Senanayake

Jun 6 (GV) Laki is seated on a black, high-backed, padded executive swivel chair. He is bare-bodied, in a bright red sarong, dappled sunlight catching his white beard. On the table in front of him is a pair of binoculars, which he picks up frequently to look at the birds in the trees around the pond that he overlooks from a raised open-air platform. Esoteric avant garde music is playing from speakers hidden in the trees. And everywhere you look, art. Mostly sculpture. Bronze wild boar at water’s edge. more..

Sinking ship, B’day bashes put govt in a quandary

Jun 6 (CT) The Govt, despite its attempts to arrest the spread of third COVID-19 wave by extending travel restrictions and taking the vaccination drive to other parts of the country, has come under severe criticism over irregularities, biases and ignorance. With increasing incidence of unfair preferences in the vaccine drive, strong calls are made on the Govt to keep politicians away from the entire process. more..

Ecosystem restoration is not a choice but an imperative

Jun 6 (GV) The theme for the World Environment Day 2021 is Ecosystem Restoration. The main aim of the World Environment Day this year is to garner support for a global initiative that will be launched by UN termed Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. Ecosystem restoration can take many forms ranging from restoring degraded or destroyed natural ecosystems to greening cities as well as one’s own backyard. Therefore, every citizen has a role to play during the decade of ecosystem restoration more..

In memoriam Qadri Ismail: Limitations of Sri Lanka’s nationalisms

Jun 6 (CT) Qadri Ismail, Professor of English, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, passed away recently. His death was sudden and shocking. Yet another Sri Lankan scholar, writer and activist has been prematurely snatched away. Everyone who reads SL politics in English knows of Qadri Ismail. I hardly knew Qadri apart from his writings. I have met him only once, and that was in Minneapolis, in 2007. The backdrop to our meeting was the rather more..

‘Resources not sufficient to become maritime hub’

Jun 6 (TM) While enduring the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, SL has to battle another catastrophe – the worst-ever maritime disaster to occur in the country – due to the fire that broke out aboard the MV X-Press Pearl vessel. After dousing the fire on the vessel, Govt decided to tow it to deep sea, and when struggling to move it, the vessel carrying tonnes of chemicals started sinking on the western coast of the island, resulting in more..

The saga is just beginning

Jun 6 (TM) The X-Press Pearl saga that has been unravelling for the past two weeks has succeeded in exposing all that is wrong with SL’s quest to become a regional maritime hub. The destructive trail left in the wake of the sinking ship has raised many questions ranging from security lapses to infrastructure issues to foreign policy matters to legal inequities. For the record, this is the third serious maritime and shipping issue to surface in just the past nine months and is now the subject of more..

Has Gota fatigue set in?

Jun 6 (CT) The enthusiasm that yesteryear enveloped the president is much subdued, the mood at best is give him more time, it has been a bad year, let’s wait and see. On the other side detractors who feared repression, racism and family banditry seem mollified that events have hurled such heavy blows that he is unable to raise his head and cow down the masses, who in any case are so passive and need no cowing down. The sullen Sinhala-Buddhist mass broods but is resigned to more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

Govt is trying to silence those talking about Covid and X-Press Pearl: SJB

Jun 5 (TM) The govt is attempting to threaten and silence those who speak the truth about the plight of Sri Lanka after the calamities of the X-Press Pearl inferno and the Covid-19 spread, SJB MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar stated today. He accused the govt of trying to hide the real situation of both these tragedies. “When Interpol released the results of the breakdown of the events leading up to the X-Press Pearl catastrophe, it was revealed that three other countries refused to admit the vessel into more..

Plantation companies say helpless to stop large-scale land encroachment in estates

Jun 5 (ST) The exodus of workers from the Western Province to the safety of their homes in the plantation sector in the wake of the worst COVID-19 upsurge in the country has aggravated the land encroachment problem in estates managed by Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs). Regional Plantation Company (RPC) officials said the issue had become more acute after the arrival of these returnees who now grow vegetables and fruits in the encroached land to earn a living. more..

Sajith claims Sri Lanka now turned into a land for auction

Jun 5 (FT) Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa on Thursday claimed that Sri Lanka had now been turned into a land for auction and warned the whole country was in danger because of irresponsible rulers selling national resources to foreigners and close friends, destroying the heritage of future generations. In a special communiqué, he said details had been revealed about a proposal to hand over several historically-important more..

I phoned Sarath Weerasekara only once: Piumi Hansamali

Jun 5 (DM) Model Piumi Hansamali, who was under quarantine for violating quarantine laws, admitted calling Minister sarath Weerasekara over the phone and said it was the first time she spoke to him. She said in a live Facebook video that she had no personal contact with the Minister or his son. “I have never spoken to him before. I have two phone numbers, anyone can check my phone details, if I have ever spoken to him,” she said. She said she phoned the Minister after her lawyer asked more..

No labs to analyse harmful effects of organic fertiliser

Jun 5 (CT) There are no laboratory facilities in the country to analyse any organic fertiliser to determine whether it is harmful or not, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera revealed. Before any organic fertiliser is imported, the Govt and competent authority should take steps to make laboratory facilities accessible for testing organic fertiliser, he said. He stressed that only after this process is completed that organic fertiliser can be imported. The quarantine section of more..