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Tea crop hits new record highs but industry worried over fertiliser crisis

Jun 21 (FT) The country’s tea crop in January to May has hit a three-year peak whilst select elevations have reached new recent highs, but the industry is concerned over future production owing to the fertiliser crisis. The tea crop in the first 5 months of 2021 was 134.7 million kgs, up 30.7% from the corresponding period of last year. Asia said High Grown production for the first five months was at 30.1 million kgs, the best since 2018, more..

SL Embassy in Doha supplies 125 oxygen cylinders to Sri Lanka

Jun 21 (TM) Embassy of SL in Doha facilitated the second air shipment of 125 Oxygen Cylinders and 10 Oxygen Regulators to the Govt of SL, in a view of strengthening the capacity of the health sector to overcome from the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon the request made by Ambassador of SL to Qatar Mafaz Mohideen, regarding the country’s critical situation, the SL expatriate community, well-wishers and Watad Group Enterprises in Doha donated these medical equipment. more..

Urban Council chairman arrested for holding event during lockdown: police

Jun 21 (EN) SL police have arrested Chairman of the Talawakelle-Lindula Urban Council and six others for organising an event in Talawakelle yesterday violating a COVID-19 lockdown, police said. SDIG Ajith Rohana said a total of have been arrested over a 24-hour period ending at 6 am June 21 morning for violating quarantine laws such as wearing face masks and social distancing in public. Total arrests made by police since October 30, 2020 on such charges have increased to 41,580. more..

X-Press Pearl disaster: SJB demands inquiry to establish accountability

Jun 21 (Island) SJB spokesperson Mujibur Rahman, MP, says the govt ought to explain why specific investigation have not been launched to identify the failure on the part of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and others to ward off the threat posed by X-Press Pearl carrying a leaky container of nitric acid. Referring to the recent Justice Ministry statement regarding the formation of four committees to inquire into specific issues more..

SJB should have moved no-faith motion against Finance Minister: Dayasiri

Jun 21 (Island) State Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera says the SJB should have moved its no-faith motion against Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the PM. over the recent fuel price increase. He said that SJB could not be unaware that in terms of the Constitution, Finance Ministry was responsible for the revision of fuel prices. The SLFP General Secretary questioned the motives behind the SJB planning to hand over a no-faith motion against PHU leader & Minister Udaya Gammanpila. more..

Cabinet Sub-Committee decides not to increase gas prices

Jun 21 (AD) Cabinet Sub-Committee has decided not to increase the prices of LG gas, according to Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. The Cabinet Sub-Committee appointed to look into the revision of gas prices had convened a meeting this morning to decide on the request made by gas companies to increase the price of domestic LP gas cylinders. Accordingly, a decision was taken by the Cabinet Sub-Committee that the price of gas should not be increased at this point, the minister said. more..

Wimal unfazed by loss of profit-making Lanka Phospate Co.

Jun 21 (Island) NFF leader and Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that he hoped Lanka Phosphate Company would continue to achieve success under the purview of any other ministry. A spokesperson for NFF quoted Minister Weerawansa as having said that he wished Phosphate deposit at Eppawela would be utilised in a way beneficial to the country for generations to come. more..

Anusha Palpita appointed Chairman of Development Lotteries Board

Jun 21 (TM) Anusha Palpita has been appointed as the Chairman of the Development Lotteries Board. Anusha Palpita, who served as the Secretary to the Ministry of Industries, had recently sent a letter to President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa seeking his permission to retire. He has previously served as the Director of Government Information in a number of government agencies as well. After the current govt came to power, he was appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of Industries. more..

SLPP-linked trade union demands urgent vaccine for bank employees

Jun 21 (FT) An SLPP-linked trade union is demanding immediate vaccination of all bank employees and warned failure would lead to protest. Prez Rajapaksa, PM Rajapaksa, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, and several State Ministers in early May informed the COVID Task Force and the Director-General of Health Services on the need to vaccinate banking sector employees. However, the failure so far has caused immense dissatisfaction with the Govt, more..

UN rights chief voices concern over Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism laws

Jun 21 (AD) The UN human rights chief on Monday expressed concern regarding the recent appointments to SL’s Office of Missing Persons and Office for Reparations as well as the country’s recent counter-terrorism regulations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made these remarks during the opening of the UNHRC’s 47th session in Geneva. “In Sri Lanka, I am concerned by further Govt measures more..

Guidelines for govt and private sector on calling employees to work

Jun 21 (AD) Director General of Health Services says that the heads of all govt ministries, institutions and semi-govt institutions that come under the category of essential services must only call the required number of officials and staff to work. Meanwhile each employee attached to ministries, govt and semi-govt institutions that are considered non-essential services must only be called to work for a maximum 2 days per week. However, that too is allowed only if the said official or more..

Small Claims Court to hear and determine disputes worth below Rs. 1.5 m

Jun 21 (FT) The proposed Small Claims Court is expected to hear and determine disputes below the sum of Rs. 1.5 million. Cabinet of Ministers this week in principle approved the concept of a Small Claims Court which has been proposed by Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC. It is a novel court, proposed to be set up and expanded throughout the country. The Committee appointed in October last year, by the Minister of Justice to explore the possibility of establishing a Small Claims Court in SL, more..

MP Ranjan Ramanayake to formally seek presidential pardon for

Jun 21 (EN) SJB has prepared legal documents required to secure a presidential pardon for SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake who is serving a four-prison sentence, a spokesman said. SJB national organiser Tissa Attanayake said that there are reasonable grounds for a presidential pardon for Ramanayake as he was imprisoned on charges of contempt of court rather than fraud or corruption. Ramanayake signed the documents seeking more..

SriLankan Airlines counting on India for travel and tourism revival: Pathirage

Jun 21 (FT) SriLankan Airlines is counting on India for a revival in travel and tourism, its Chairman Ashoka Pathirage has emphasised. “We all are waiting for Indian traffic because it’s very critical for us. If you ask my personal perspective, we are actually counting on India. Eventually, we are going to come out of this and people are just waiting to start travelling,” Pathirage said. It said SriLankan Airlines was fighting to get the air bubble agreement with India going before the second wave more..

China SL Association for Trade and Economic Cooperation (CSLATE) was inaugurated

Jun 21 (MFA) China SL Association for Trade and Economic Cooperation (CSLATE) was inaugurated on 15 June, 2021 at the Embassy of SL. The objective of establishing CSLATE is to enhance the trade and investment cooperation between the two countries and ease the barriers faced by the SL exporters. Two MoUs were signed between CSLATE, China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) and the China Association of Int'l Engineering Consultants more..

හිටපු අග්‍රාමාත්‍ය රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ චමුදිත සමරවික්‍රම සමග

Lessons from lockdown: The need for able leadership and effective systems

Jun 21 (FT) Recent concerns expressed in diverse fora and media indicate that SL is facing serious economic woes. This article examines the fundamentals of why this is so. How do we achieve economic development? To do this we need answers to the why, what, who and how. The why is understanding the objective of economic development. The what is the course of action taken to achieve the why. The who is the leadership to do the what. The how is the means through more..

Fertiliser fiasco: Shouldn’t the govt listen to expert advice?

Jun 21 (FT) According to a front page report in Daily FT on 17 June, 30 leading scientists in the field of agriculture had warned Prez Rajapaksa of the catastrophic results in agriculture if the Govt continued to deny the farmers of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in this Yala season. The scientists included all the bigwigs in the state sector like the present Chair of the National Science Foundation, Directors General of Agriculture, and Directors of all the state-owned research institutions. more..

Non-essential travel permitted countrywide with several restrictions still in place

Jun 21 (FT) Countrywide travel restrictions on non-essential travel were lifted at 4 a.m., but non-essential travel and services will only be permitted with several restrictions still in place, as per the guidelines issued by Director General of Health Services (DGHS). DGHS Dr. Asela Gunawardena on Sunday issued several movement restrictions that will be enforced between 21 June and 5 July, stating that districts will be more..

42,496 persons receive COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday

Jun 21 (FT) The COVID-19 immunisation program in the country vaccinated 42,496 persons on Saturday, bringing the country’s fully vaccinated population to 806,252. The first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to 2,455,180 persons. On Saturday, 9,577 persons received the first dose of Sinopharm and 16,534 persons received the second dose of the vaccine. In total, the first dose has been administered to 1,434,468 persons and the second dose to 434,083 persons. more..

Humans don’t get Covid-19 from pets, assure vets

Jun 21 (Island) There was no evidence that Covid-19 was transmitted from domestic animals to humans, SL Veterinarians’ Association (SLVA) said. Chairman of the SLVA Dr. Urandika Gunawardena said that rumours were being circulated about the possibility of coronavirus jumping from domestic animals to humans. “Since it was revealed that a lion at the Dehiwala Zoological Garden had contracted COVID-19, it has been claimed that people might contract the disease from domestic animals, more..

Deadly delta: Sri Lanka Medical Association urges president to continue lockdown

Jun 21 (EN) Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) has urged Prez Rajapaksa to continue the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown that is scheduled to be relaxed at 4am June 21. “Lifting the lockdown even for few days is likely to take us back to the major epidemic situation which prevailed in April and the gains that have been made during the lockdown of the last three weeks will then be sacrificed,” a letter written to Prez Rajapaksa more..

Country reopens under strict guidelines

Jun 21 (Island) Public must follow health guidelines properly to prevent the spread of the pandemic when travel restrictions are lifted today, says Director-General of Health Services Dr. Asela Gunawardena. All districts will be categorised according to the case loads reported therefrom, and based on such information, travel restrictions will be relaxed or imposed, he has said. Dr. Gunawardana has urged the public to maintain physical distancing, wear masks & sanitise their hands besides more..

COVID-19 outbreak: 24 GN Divisions Isolated

Jun 21 (CT) A total of 24 Grama Niladhari divisions, in 12 districts, were isolated from 4 a.m. today, Gen. Shavendra Silva said. This would include 66 Tenement Gardens in Aramaya Place, Dematagoda, in Colombo, where the Delta variant of COVID-19 was detected last week. They would also include; Yatihena Grama Niladhari Division (GND) in Biyagama Siyambalapewatta GND in the Meegahawatta area and Nahena GND in Kiribathgoda from the Gampaha District, more..

Probe reveals Army bought spirits through Excise Dept

Jun 21 (Island) An investigation by the Excise Department has revealed that the Anuradapura Sathosa outlet has violated a govt ban by selling liquor to the Army––the Gajaba Regimental Centre, Saliyapura, Anuradhapura. Excise Dept, Police & CWE had found that the Army bought 89 bottles of locally produced spirits, a senior official who supervised the investigations said. A senior Excise official had personally accompanied Army more..

Proposal to take over Northern Hospitals triggers political storm

Jun 21 (Island) Former Chairman of the NPC C.V. K. Sivagnanam on Saturday wrote to the Governor of the Province P.M.S. Charles requesting her to prevent the govt from taking over four main hospitals under the Northern Provincial Council. The govt is planning to take over Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu Hospitals to upgrade them as national hospitals. District base hospitals of Matale, Nawalapitiya, Embilipitiya, Avissawella, Gampaha, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu more..

CSE continues regional awareness drive in Negombo

Jun 21 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) successfully concluded yet another virtual forum organized as part of an awareness drive for island-wide Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). The second event of the series which was held for SMEs in Negombo, drew strong interest among the entrepreneurial community based in the region. The series of virtual forums is hosted by CSE with the objective of promoting the advantages of listing on the Empower Board. more..

Energy Ministry to borrow USD 1 bn to pay local loans

Jun 21 (ST) The Govt has decided to obtain a loan of USD 1 billion from international private lending agencies to set off interest payments for loans obtained from two state banks to purchase fuel, a senior official of the Ministry of Energy said. Ministry Secretary K.D.R. Olga said the funds would be used to pay part of the interest in respect of USD 2.081 billion owed by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to more..

New post-Covid disease seen in children

Jun 21 (FT) A new disease which affects children who recover from Covid-19, known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children Temporally Associated With Covid-19 (MIS-C), is displaying signs of growing in Sri Lanka, with six children currently undergoing treatment at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH). LRH Consultant Paediatric Intensivist Dr. Nalin Kithulwatta said that there have been 15 recorded cases of the disease in the country since more..

SLC release LPL player draft details

Jun 21 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced the commencement of the Overseas Player Registration Process for the 2nd Edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) starting from Monday 21 June. The players can register their names via the registration portal established at www. on or before 12 p.m. on 27 June. All registered players will be included in the LPL Player Draft based on eligibility. Draft Eligibility Overseas Players Overseas Players entering the LPL Player Draft should more..

World-famous angel investor Conny enters Sri Lanka

Jun 21 (FT) One of the world’s well-known serial entrepreneurs and business angel Dr. Cornelius Boersch is venturing into SL to strike magic in his global forte – invest in future-relevant startups, for which he is convinced the strategically located South Asian island nation is primed for. Conny is regarded as the most active European investor in startups, with a portfolio of over 400 since 1995 with his own money and is considered more..

Dialog Axiata launches latest data centre built to global standards in Piliyandala

Jun 21 (DM) Dialog Axiata PLC, the first in SL to launch an uptime Tier III-certified data centre, announced the launch of its latest fully-owned data centre in Piliyandala, built to the latest ISO and global data centre standards with the highest level of reliability. The facility was inaugurated by Technology Ministry Secretary Jayantha De Silva and TRC Director General Oshada Senanayake. This state-of-the-art data centre facilitating advanced technologies, including 5G, will extend more..

Losing GSP+ a double whammy to the economy: Economists

Jun 21 (SO) Losing the GSP+ trade concessions at this crucial time is a double whammy to the economy which is in perilous state, said top economists who also noted that it is hilarious to want other countries to open their markets for our exports and even give us concessions when we have shut doors for their exports. Former CB Deputy Governor Dr. W.A. Wijewardena said the EU is the second largest export destination for SL and the country has a trade surplus with them, like the trade surplus with our biggest export destination, USA. more..

4,276 persons test positive for COVID-19 over the weekend

Jun 21 (FT) The country’s COVID-19 detections rose to 239,689 with 4,276 persons testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. A total of 2,028 persons tested positive for the virus yesterday, including 2,008 persons from the New Year cluster. With 2,155 persons from the New Year cluster and 14 persons from the Prisons cluster testing positive on Saturday, the cumulative patient count of the Divulapitiya, Peliyagoda, Prisons and New Year clusters has risen to 232,578. more..

Beware of certain officials, GMOA tells Govt

Jun 21 (SO) The Government should beware of certain officials in certain State Ministries who recommend things that harm the people and make the Government unpopular, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) General Committee Member Dr. Prasad Kolambage said. Addressing the media, he said that such officials had told the Government to sell liquor online and also for the Government to use agro chemicals. The Govt should be aware of such officials all the time. more..

Blind obedience or informed self-discipline?

Jun 21 (TM) The Govt last week announced much-awaited news: the end of the month-long lockdown – or travel restrictions, as the Govt prefers to call it – and most people are excited to be able to finally step out of their homes without having to produce a letter from their employers. But did the lockdown really help manage the pandemic? Just going by the raw statistics, one would have to say the answer is a resounding no. However, one could argue that things could have been far worse more..