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Showing posts from November, 2020

Sri Lankan public official brutally assaults a female subordinate officer (video)

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A video is going viral on social media in Sri Lanka that shows a person suspected to be an engineer of Udugampola office of Provincial Road Development Authority assaulting a female officer. The incident is suspected happened on 23 November 2020.  Social media posts say the perpetrator of violence against women in this video is a man with political backing. A few weeks ago, a lady doctor in Karapitiya hospital complained against a senior surgeon in her ward regarding mentally and physically torturing her. 

Government will go to history as a rule that taxed menstruation - Rohini Kavirathna

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"Although the previous government reduced the taxes on sanitary towels by 40%, the present government has increased it by 15%," Sri Lanka opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya Matale district MP Rohini Kavirathna said in the parliament today participating in the budget debate.  She said that the government would go into history as a rule that taxed even the menstruation of women.  An article on Praja.lk pointed out that it is estimated an average woman spends 2,500 - 3,000 days in her life for menstruation.  Period poverty is common among Sri Lanka's women and girls among the low-income groups.  There is a public outcry in social media these days demanding the removal of this tax.  (Photo: A stock of sanitary towels in a wholesale shop in Panadura - by Nishan Perera)

School re-opening in Sri Lanka is problematic - Ceylon Teachers Union

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Ceylon Teachers' Union secretary Joseph Stalin said that four students of Thalawakele Tamil School who were undergoing quarantine had attended school today.  He said that the government's unplanned re-opening of government schools had put the teachers in trouble.  Stalin pointed out that when re-opening schools after the first corona wave, the government issued a circular for the safety of the teachers allowing them to stay in the school only when they are required for teaching. However, although the government has no plan to re-open primary classes yet, the teachers of the primary sections have also been summoned to duty putting them in unnecessary risk. Those teachers have no work in the school but have to stay until school is over.  "The government's claims of successful re-opening and high percentages of attendance are fabrications," Joseph Stalin pointed out citing figures from some schools in Kandy town. "Today's attendance in some of the leading sc

Sri Lankan student collapses in the school; teachers do not attend

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An incident of teachers not attending to a student who collapsed in the school was reported from a leading school in Embilipitiya in Sri Lanka on November 23. The teachers were afraid due to COVID-19 and the incident took place on the first day after the school re-opening. The teachers said they had not been informed about the actions to take in such situations and no protective equipment had been supplied to schools.   The relevant 14-year-old grade-nine girl fell due to a difficulty in breathing. Fellow students helped her. However, no teacher came to help her.  Ordered by the teachers, the state-owned Suwaseriya ambulance service took the girl intoEmbilipitiya hospital and admitted her to the Emergency Treatment Unit.   Ceylon Teachers' Union spokesman Joseph Stalin said that the Ministry of Education had failed to send guidelines to the principals to handle such situations. "The Ministry sent a letter dated on 19th November advising to set up advisory committees comprised

Do not arrest and remand people for offences that can be severely warned for the first time - Journalists for Rights

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Journalists for Rights  organization urges the government not to  arrest and remand people for offences that can be severely warned for the first time.  Journalists for Rights issued this statement while a number of social media users have been arrested by police for the alleged spread of fake news. Meanwhile, the opposition MP Imitiaz Bakir Markar accused the government of compiling a list of 200 journalists and social media users who criticize the government. Following is the full statement of the Journalists for Rights:   Journalists for Rights thoroughly believe that even ordinary citizens who use social media must act wisely and responsibly. However, we request the authorities not to manipulate errors committed by some of the social media users to terrify social media users, journalists and citizens in society.   We extend our fullest corporation to act against fake news and hate speech. However, we emphasize the need for being unbiased and unselective. We re-emphasize that the

Ranil Wickramasinghe rejects national list seat

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Sri Lanka opposition United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickramasinghe has declined the offer to elect to the parliament through the national list, UNP sources say.  UNP management committee members have demanded the leader in writing to accept this offer.  Ranil Wickramasinghe first elected to the parliament in 1977 and failed to elect in the last election due to the party split. He became the leader of the party in 1994 and recently announced that he would retire after the party selected a new leader. Meanwhile, UNP sources say that party secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has offered to resign if necessary for the party reforms. However, he has not resigned, as media reported. 

Sri Lanka's school re-opening not successful today

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The school re-opening in Sri Lanka appeared unsuccessful on the first day due to lack of trust by parents on the manoeuvres of the authorities, our study indicates.  The attendance of students was very poor in the majority of the leading schools. However, attendance was comparatively better in rural schools.  Many of the parents expressed a lack of trust regarding the safety of the students.  However, many schools had provided handwashing and temperature checking facilities.    Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris said that as reported to the Ministry, six schools in the Eastern Province, 14 schools in the Central Province, 14 schools in the North Central Province, 12 schools in the Sabaragamuwa Province, 48 schools in the North-Western Province and one school in the Southern Province had not been re-opened.  Ceylon Teachers' Union Chairman Joseph Stalin accused that the government had not provided facilities for disinfection and sanitization.  Chairman of Lanka Teacher Service

Died prisoner diagnosed with COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

An elderly prisoner died in a hospital was diagnosed with COVID-19. The 82-year-old prisoner of Mahara prison in Gampaha district died in Ragama hospital. He was a cancer patient but a PCR conducted after his death was reported positive, prison sources said.  The number of COVID-19 persons in Sri Lanka's overcrowded prisons is around 700 now.

United National Party appoints the leader to the parliament

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United National Party (UNP) of Sri Lanka has decided to appoint party leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe from the national list to the parliament.  UNP won only one seat in the parliament at the election held in August. The party did not nominate any name for this national list seat.  The latest decision has been taken at the management committee held yesterday (November 22). The members of the management committee had requested in writing from the leader to accept the position, UNP former MP Arjuna Ranathunga said.  Meanwhile, reports say that former Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has resigned from the post of UNP general secretary.  The party is yet to appoint a new secretary. Ranil Wickramasinghe first elected to the parliament in 1977 and failed to elect in the last election due to the party split. He became the leader of the party in 1994 and recently announced that he would retire after the party selected a new leader. He did not show interest to be

Doctor shoots and injures a playing child in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Maharagama police station arrested a doctor for shooting at a child who entered into his garden to pick a ball.  The 17-year-old boy was shot with an air rifle on his chest as he was playing with friends in the playground of Dharmapala Vidyalaya school ground in Erewwala. The boy sustained minor injuries and he was admitted to Colombo South Teaching Hospital. The doctor works in Cancer Hospital, Maharagama. 

Half of Sri Lanka's schools re-open today for students from grade 6 to 13

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Out of Sri Lanka's over 10,100 public schools, around 5,100 will open today for students from grade 6 to 13. All schools sans few in the Provinces other than the Western Province will start today. The schools in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts will remain closed.  Few schools in the Eastern Province, Sabaragamuwa Province and Kurunegala district will also remain closed.  Secretary to the Ministry of Education Prof. Kapila Perera said that the school authorities have been given powers to take decisions on emergency situations.  The Ministry says that over 90% of the public schools have less than 1,000 students and it is not difficult to maintain social distancing. 

Sarath Weerasekara slated to be promoted as new cabinet Minister of Public Security

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Arch Sinhala nationalist politician, former naval officer Sarath Weerasekara is slated to be promoted as the cabinet Minister of  Public Security, Sri Lanka government sources speculate.  Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara, RSP, VSV, USP, MP is current State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government.  Under an extraordinary Gazette notification dated November 20, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa established two new cabinet Ministries and Public Security is one of them. The other is the Ministry of Technology.  Ministry of Public Security will be responsible for four institutions, namely, Police department, Civil Security department, Police Training College and the Multi-Purpose Development Task Force. Police were previously trusted to the state Ministry of Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management held by President's elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa.  Sarath Weerasekara was a leader of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's think tank Viyath Maga (The way of the Intelle

Sri Lanka's areas under isolation since 23 November 2020

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Sri Lanka's National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 has issued an announcement regarding quarantine measures since tomorrow (November 23).  Following police areas which are isolated now will not be isolated since 5 a.m. November 23, 2020.  Colombo District Borella (sans Wanathamulla Grama Niladhari Division) Wellampitiya Colombo Fort Slave Island (Sans Wekanda Grama Niladhari Division) Gampaha district Jaela Kadawatha Following police areas will remain isolated:  Colombo district Mattakkuliya Modara Bloehmandahl Kotahena Grandpass Beach Aduruppu Street Maligawatta Dematagoda Keselwatta Maradana Pettah Dam Street Gampaha District Negambo Ragama Wattala Peliyagoda Kelaniya Kalutara district Following Grama Niladhari divisions in Kalutara district Bogahawatta Bamunumulla (Muslim) Bamunumulla Korawala Atulugama  Galagahamandiya

Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu expected heavy showers

India Meteorological Department (IMD) says a well-marked but inconsequential low-pressure area over the South-West Arabian Sea is expected to become a depression by Sunday, November 22.  This depression is forecast to move in a typical West-North-West direction towards the coast of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu during the subsequent days, the IMD outlook said. Meanwhile, Met Department of Sri Lanka issued the following forecast.  "A low-pressure area has formed over southeast Bay of Bengal(2N-10N,83E-93E) and it is expected to intensify further into a depression during next 24-48 hours. It is likely to move west-northwestwards towards Eastern and Northern coast of Srilanka on 24th of November. Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in Eastern, Northern, North-central and Uva provinces and in Hambanthota district. Showers or thundershowers will occur at few places in the Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Kaluthara, Galle and Mathara districts after 2.00 p.m. Fairly heavy

COVID-19 woman who fled IDH found from Eheliyagoda jungle

Sri Lanka police found a COVID-19 infected woman who had escaped the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (IDH). Police are investigating the woman's associations.   The woman was hiding in a thicket in Eheliyagoda and police found her with the help of the villagers. She is suspected of being a drug addict and a peddler. She was identified as 26-year-old Ruwani Nisansala who had been transferred to the IDH from the Kuruwita prison. The woman fled the hospital on November 19 breaking a window. She escaped with her two-year-old baby. The baby was found on November 20th from Eheliyagoda, the woman's home town, and admitted to hospital.  The baby and the caretakers have been subjected to quarantine. 

Nine deaths yesterday in Sri Lanka; highest number so far

Sri Lanka's highest number of COVID-19 deaths were reported on November 21 as nine people died increasing the number of deaths to 83.  The deceased include five women of the ages 48, 69, 75, 76 and five men of the ages 57, 65, 89, 72 and 76.  Seven deaths were from the Colombo city while one was from Wellampitiya in the city outskirts. The announcement by the Government Information Department did not mention the residence of the other deceased.    The number of COVID-19 persons diagnosed yesterday was 487. The total number of cases recorded in Sri Lanka by November 21 was 19,771.    Over 5,000 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed from Colombo city and the majority of them are from Colombo North and Central Colombo. 

Fishermen in Ramanathapuram want their boats back from Sri Lanka

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Fishermen in Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu staged a protest on 21 November 2020, demanding the Union government to immediately intervene with the Sri Lankan government and take steps to bring back the boats seized from the fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy.  The Ramanathapuram fishermen staged the demonstration on the Pamban seashore. They said that from 2013 to 2019, Sri Lanka seized 19 boats. These boats were arrested with fishermen for poaching. The fishermen were later released.  The number of Indian boats arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities is around 100 and the court ordered some of them destroyed. 

Take refugees in Papua New Guinea and Nauru - Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka urges Biden

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The Australian Advocacy for Good Governance in Sri Lanka and the Voice for Democracy in Sri Lanka Collective President-elect Joe Biden, and Senator Kamala Harris as Vice President-elect, to revive the 2016 deal with Australia and give the refugees languishing in offshore detention centres an opportunity to start their life anew. Most of them have been languishing in offshore detention centres for far too long under extremely inhumane conditions. In a deal made in 2016 between President Barak Obama and then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the USA publicly agreed to take up to 1,500 refugees, predominantly from Iran, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. However, President Trump who replaced his great predecessor months after branded this deal ‘dumb’ and was very selective in allowing only a few to immigrate as an act of calculated grandstanding. Many refugees – including those certified by the IOM as genuine refugees – are still held in the Australian offshore island-camps in Papua New

After imposing heavy taxes on Maldive fish, Sri Lanka says the Maldives there is no ban on imports

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Following discussions with Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid said that there would be no restrictions in importing fish and fish products from the Maldives to Lanka. However, Sri Lanka recently imposed a heavy tax of Rs. 302 on a kilogramme of imported Maldive fish saying it would encourage local producers. The previous tax was Rs. 102 and it was increased by Rs. 200 since this month.  Import taxes on fish and dried fish also have been increased. The Maldivian fisheries industry has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with several major exporters reporting lower sales. The majority of Maldives' export revenue is sourced from exports of fish products, with raw fish shipments accounting for as much as 70 per cent. (Photo from The Edition ) 

Only one PCR machine in Sri Lanka's Nuwaraeliya district - MP Velu Kumar

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Sri Lanka major opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya Kandy district MP M. Velu Mumar said that entire Nuwaraeliya district has only one PCR testing machine.  He expressed these views addressing a press conference held by the opposition today. He accused that the government had not allocated money to increase health facilities of the poor people like estate workers despite their vulnerability.   He pointed out that the 2021 budget proposal does not allocate money to buy even the COVID-19 vaccine.   He said that the government had not provided any solutions to the burning issues of the estate population hiding behind the proposal to increase the estate workers' salary up to Rs. 1,000 per day. Nuwaraeliya district has a high density of Upcountry Tamils who are mostly low-income plantation workers.

Tuition and nursery education not allowed in Sri Lanka although schools reopen next week

The Secretary to the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka Prof. Kapila Perera said that the tuition and the nursery education was not allowed in the country although shools outside Western Province would be open from November 23.   However, some of the tuition is conducted online. 

No trains in Sri Lanka during the weekend

Sri Lanka Railway will suspend all train travels in the island during the weekend of November 21 and 22 to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Sri Lankan travelers no need to self-isolate on arrival in England

Sri Lanka was added to England's safe travel list on Thursday, November 19th.  Travellers from Sri Lanka will no longer have to self-isolate on arrival in England from Saturday November 21st. The other countries that were newly included to this facility are Namibia, Rwanda, Bonaire, St Eustatius & Saba, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Sri Lanka does not provide this facility to any country. 

Budget deficit figures in 2021 budget proposals in Sri Lanka wrong - FactCheck

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Fact Check Sri Lanka stated that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement on the budget deficit for 2019 increased to 9.6% of GDP was wrong.  Quoting annual reports from the Ministry of Finance, Fact Check Sri Lanka said, "It is incorrect to compare a value of 5.7% in 2014, which does not account for unpaid claims, against a figure of 8.4% in 2019, which accounts for unpaid claims. It is also inaccurate to calculate the budget deficit by considering unpaid claims in expenditure without applying the same basis to revenue". Rajapaksa said in the budget speech, "…the budget deficit which my government brought down to 5.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2014, has increased to over 9.6 percent of the GDP by 2019… outstanding unpaid bills amounted to Rs. 243 billion, while the foreign debt financed expenditure amounted to Rs. 212 billion remained unaccounted […which] resulted in the reported budget deficit for 2019." Opposion MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said

Will Sri Lanka lose GSP+ again?

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(Opinion by Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe, Editor)  European Union (EU) indicated today that the special Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) offered by the EU to Sri Lanka hung in the balance.  GSP+ is the system of preferential trading arrangements through which the European Union extends preferential access to its markets to developing countries. GSP+ provides Sri Lanka competitive, predominantly duty and quota-free access to the EU market. The countries not receiving the benefit question the integrity of the agreement.  GSP+ is based on the continued implementation of 27 international conventions on human rights, labour, environment, climate change and good governance, the joint statement issued by the Delegation of the European Union (EU) and the Embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Romania declared.  "Not least due to these unilateral trade preferences, the EU is the second-biggest export market for Sri Lanka worldwide, with a positive trade balance of more th

Nuwan Zoysa to be punished by ICC for match-fixing

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International Cricket Council (ICC) announced today that former Sri Lanka paceman Nuwan Zoysa had been found guilty of match-fixing by an independent anti-corruption tribunal. Accordingly, he would be sanctioned, ICC said.  Nuwan Zoysa was provisionally suspended in October 2018 and charged with three offences under the ICC's anti-corruption code, including "being party to an agreement or effort to fix" a match. Zoysa has also been charged with breaching four counts of the Emirates Cricket Board's anti-corruption code for players who participated in a T10 league in the United Arab Emirates in 2017 and the proceedings are ongoing, the ICC said.  Left-arm paceman Nuwan Zoysa played 30 tests and 95 one-day internationals from 1997-2007. He worked time to time as coach of Sri Lanka women's team and the men's A squad.

Sri Lanka's schools outside of the Western Province to start since November 23

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Sri Lanka Ministry of Education decided to open the schools outside of Western Province and the isolated areas since next Monday, 23rd of November. The schools were to start for the third term on November 09 but it was postponed for two weeks due to spread of COVID-19.  Meanwhile, teachers from the Western Province have no permission to work in schools outside the Province. There are many such teachers who work reside in Western Province and work in other districts. Some of them travel daily while others stay in temporary residences.  The Ministry did not announce any plan for re-starting the paralyzed education in the Western Province.  Meanwhile, some teachers have started online teaching but many students complain about the lack of internet coverage, equipment like computers and smartphones and money for data.  These photos shared on the social media show how some students in Baduraliya in Kalutara district of the Western Province difficultly catch signal to participate in an online

Public officials need to move slightly out of the books of law - senior adviser to the President of Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka's Court of Appeal acquitted two former senior public officials loyal to the present government from a case on misappropriating state funds for a presidential election campaign of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Addressing media after the judgement, Lalith Weerathunga, the present senior adviser to the President, said to media that the public officials need to move slightly out of the books of law to serve people.   "I think the judgement relieved the public service from unfair bonds. I urge my public servant colleagues not to fear to do the right thing. Many public officials were discouraged by this judgement. I think that time is over. Do the right thing. No problem will occur. I think public officials need to move slightly out of the books of law. I don't see any error there if the decisions are not self-benefitting and benefiting only the people," Weerathunga said.  He thanked his wife, children, close relatives and senior counsel Kanchana Ratwatte for their support.

Sri Lanka police after dozens of persons who posted fake news on COVID-19 deaths

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Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said to media that the police had already remanded two persons and looking for another 29 to arrest for saying in social media that people fell on the roads and died due to COVID-19.  He said that two persons had been arrested and remanded from Kadugannawa and Hanthana. Twenty-seven more are identified locally and are to be arrested.  The other two persons live in Australia and Japan. The Police Media Spokesman did not say what action would be taken to arrest these two persons. Police pointed out previously that only one COVID-19 positive person had died on a road and the person was a beggar.  Meanwhile, Sri Lanka police is affected by the creation of a COVID-19 cluster. Over 800 police personnel including around 200 Police Special Task Force officials are COVID-19 positive by now. 

Sri Lanka government approves Rapid Antigen Test

Sri Lanka Health sector started the use of Rapid Antigen Test since today (November 18). The Ministry of Health gave permission to use the test, Dr. Sudath Samaraweera, the Director of the Epidemiology Unit said.  The test is available in several selected hospitals.  The report of the Rapid Antigen Test can be obtained within 30 minutes. 

COVID-19 immune cells fend off the virus and prevent illness - study

Eight months after infection, most people who have recovered still have enough immune cells to fend off the COVID-19 virus and prevent illness, reported New York Times, quoting recent research. “That amount of memory would likely prevent the vast majority of people from getting hospitalized disease, severe disease, for many years,” said Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology who co-led the new study. And the research squares with another recent finding: that survivors of SARS, caused by another coronavirus, still carry certain important immune cells 17 years after recovering. Another study published last week also found that people who have recovered from Covid-19 have powerful and protective killer immune cells even when antibodies are not detectable.  ( Read the full report>> )

Sri Lanka intensifies surveillance via drones; Many arrested

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Sri Lanka Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said a special operation would be conducted by the intelligence units to nab the violators of quarantine regulations.  He said that stern action would be taken against such culprits.  He pointed out that the use of drone cameras for surveillance was successful. Ninety-five persons had been taken into custody for violating travel restrictions, he said. The drone operations have taken place in the Kotahena, Ja-Ela, Keselwatta and Wattala areas. "The beggars who are begging at colour lights will also be taken into custody," the police media spokesman said. Sri Lanka police arrested around 300 persons since October 30th for violating quarantine regulations. 

Prisoner in quarantine dies in escape attempt at Kandy Bogambara prison

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One prisoner was killed in Bogambara prison in Kandy last night. Five prisoners tried to escape and another prisoner was injured while one escaped, Prisons Commissioner-General Thushara Upuldeniya said. Prison officers have arrested two escapees, he said. The deceased is identified as 30-year-old Abdul Raheem of Anuradhapura. He had succumbed to the injuries sustained due to the fall from the top of the prison wall, the Prisons Commissioner-General said. The other prisoner also sustained injuries due to fall, the official said.  However, our studies on Sri Lanka's prisons indicate the prevalence of torture and brutality especially against the prisoners who attempt to escape. The incidents of prisoner deaths must be fairly investigated. Update: The escaped prisoner was later arrested Bogambara prison has been converted to a quarantine centre for the prisoners and over 400 prisoners undergo quarantine there.  Over 500 prisoners in Sri Lanka are COVID-19 positive now.  Bogambara priso

Budget 2021: Less money for health; more for roads. Fraudsters invited to pump hidden money

Opinion by Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe, Editor In 2021 budget proposals, the Sri Lanka government invited the fraudulent businessmen to pump their hidden money to boost the ailing economy.   "For the benefit of the country, I request all entrepreneurs to utilize the funds hidden locally or internationally in order to evade laws relating to taxes and foreign exchange. It is expected to make legal provisions to provide a tax pardon to entrepreneurs thus utilizing funds for any investment facilitated by this budget under the payment of taxes amounting to 1 per cent," Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said in the parliament today presenting the budget proposals in his capacity as the Minister of Finance.  Early December 2019, after introducing sweeping tax reforms, cabinet spokesman Kaheliya Rambukwella expressed confidence on growth and fiscal management despite the Rs. 550 stimulus impact on the economy. “As promised, we have initiated some actions immediately after the election, w

Wrong facts in budget speech checked

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FactCheck (@factchecklka) pointed out that Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's budget speech included wrong facts about tax collection.  The Prime Minister said, "Tax in place of the various goods and service taxes and levies, imposed under multiple laws and institutions on alcohol, cigarettes, Telecommunication, betting and gaming and vehicles, which accounts for 50 percent of the income from taxes and levies . It is expected through this reform to direct Institutions under special legislation such as the Excise Ordinance to have a more focused regulatory engagement in facilitating the government to secure its revenues otherwise lost through sale of illicit alcohol and cigarettes." FactCheck pointed out "50% of total tax revenue would amount to Rs 867 billion in 2019; based on figures available to us, taxes collected on these goods and services amounted to less than Rs 500 billion, which is less than 30% of total tax revenue." The Prime Mini

Sri Lanka's fisher community leader, MP Wedaarachchi encourages people to eat fish

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Sri Lanka's major opposition MP Dilip Wedaarachchi ate raw fish today before media and urged people to eat fish to save fishermen. He said fish is safe despite COVID-19 and people must eat it at this difficult moment of the industry. Wedaarachchi said that he hailed from a family of fisher community leaders and knew how safe this nutritious food was. "There are about 35-40 types of small fishing industries and 300,000 fishermen in the country. About 1.2 million people depend from this industry," Wedaarachchi pointed out highlighting they had lost their livelihood because the product could not be sold.  "In Sri Lanka, there are 3500 multi-day vessels. About 1,650 of them catch tuna for exports. Around the country, there are about 900 Madel (big fish net) venues and 3,000 people depend on that industry alone. Sri Lanka has 1,200 million kilo capacity of cool rooms but they have not been properly maintained. The previous government allocated money but the then Minister

A photo published by an MOH office in Sri Lanka

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This photo was published by a Facebook Page named as MOH Office Pelmadulla of Sri Lanka's Rathnapura district. The description in the photo says that the covered corpse belongs to a man who arrived in a house in Sandasilugama, Ketethenna on November 16.  He came on a bus from Peliyagoda, an area under the risk of COVID-19. The report said he had fallen in the compound of the house a few hours later and died.  The text says that the body was sent to Rathnapural Teaching Hospital for PCR testing after a 'massive effort' with the support of the officials of Kahawatta police station.  A wheelbarrow and few planks, probably a makeshift stretcher, are seen in the picture. 

Police officer's daughter crashes into Nanda Motors; son killed a police officer in 2019

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An SUV vehicle that crashed into Nanda motors building in Colombo yesterday damaging the building and several vehicles in the showroom had been driven by a daughter of a senior police officer, reports say.  The same police officer's son reportedly drove a Defender over the traffic OIC of Borella police station, Ananda Sagara Sarathchandra in February 2019 and fled. The severely injured police officer died later in March.  The police officer's son was with politician Mahindananda Aluthgamage's son. The accident took place in wee hours while the group of young men were returning from a night club. The driver was remanded later.  The relevant police officer Pradeep Ratnayake was Superintendent of Police of President's Security Division when his son was arrested suspected for killing a police officer. Reportedly, he is nos promoted as Senior Superintendent of Police and presently in charge of Nugegoda division. (Photo from social media)

At least five students got all 200 marks for grade 5 scholarship

Sri Lanka's grade 5 scholarship examination results are out. The practical pass mark of this examination is around 85% in most districts of the country.  In Sinhala medium, the cut off mark is 169 in Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale, Galle and Matara districts. At least five students have reportedly achieved all 200 marks in the examination.   The highly competitive grade 5 scholarship examination provides an opportunity for the students who have not been privileged to enter into high-class public schools to be selected to those schools on merit basis.  

Second highest number of COVID-19 reported from Sri Lanka

The number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Sri Lanka yesterday is the second-highest number of cases reported in Sri Lanka within a single day.  The number of cases of COVID-19 recorded on 15 November 2020 was 704 ( Health Promotion Bureau COVID-19 dashboard ).  However, 866 cases were reported on October 24 ( WHO statistics ) Five deaths were reported on 15 November. All of them were from Colombo city.

Let the Sri Lankan expatriate workers return and quarantine at home - Ethera Api

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Janaka Adhikari, Attorney-at-Law, Financial Secretary of Ethera Api organization said that the government was not attending the burning problems of the Sri Lankan expatriate workers. "Many Sri Lankan workers in the Middle East cannot return home because the government has no proper plan for repatriation," he charged.   Ethera Api organization pointed out that contracts of some of these expatriate workers have ended. They have no social security and even food and lodging in some situations. They will be fined for overstaying because of the fault of the government of Sri Lanka.  "Some housemaids have to work in homes under dire conditions without legal contracts. They are subjected to exploitation as a result of the situation. Some have no place to live and they sleep in public parks and roadsides," Adhikari said. "In Dubai, there are over 7,000 Sri Lankan workers waiting to return to Sri Lanka. There are thousands of similar Sri Lankans in countries like Saudi A

Neoliberal tax concessions boomeranged on Sri Lankan economy; minus growth now - Champika Ranawaka

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Sri Lanka Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya MP Champika Ranawaka said that the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had failed to deliver the promise of making a prosperous economy. "On December 1st 2019, the government introduced a neoliberal tax concession to the wealthy businessmen. They expected fast economic growth through this action. But the stimulus boomeranged and economy recorded minus growth even before COVID-19," MP Ranawaka said.   "Deposits declined while fiscal state collapsed and economic statistics are contradictory. Census and Statistics Department announced the growth rate in the first quarter by 31 March as minus 1.6. They have failed to present the growth rates in the second and third quarters. Central Bank of Sri Lanka anticipates a minus 1.7 growth. But Ministry of Finance tries to show growth," the former Minister added.  "Fraudulent statistics cannot cover the fiscal and debt crisis and the economic crisis. All sectors of the econ

Present government connected to culprits of Central Bank fraud and Easter Sunday attack - Champika Ranawaka

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Sri Lanka Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya MP Champika Ranawaka said that the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had failed to bring the culprits of financial fraud of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and to investigate the forces behind the Easter Sunday attack. He alleged the government was not taking action to bring former Governor of Central Bank Arjun Mahendran from Singapore because the fraudsters who had engaged in this kind of theft since 2008 are now partners of the present government. The opposition MP made these allegations at a press conference held by the People's Opposition today in Colombo  Ranawaka thanked former President Maithripala Sirisena for investigating the incident, arresting the suspects, freezing the accounts of the fraudsters, conducting forensic audit and discussing with Singapore government to bring back Mahendran.  Champika Ranawaka said that the political coup on October 26, 2018 affected the country's security and other sectors due to the

Cypress Social Security Fund benefits of 150,000 Sri Lankan workers unpaid

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The secretary of Ethera Api organization of Sri Lanka, Lakshman Nipunaarachchi said that about 150,000 Sri Lankans had not received the benefits of Cypress Social Security Fund.  He pointed out that 7.5% of the workers' salary and 7.5% from the employer are contributed to this fund. Thus, 15% of the workers' monthly salary was deposited in this fund but the employees have not received any benefit.  "No Sri Lankan employee has received the benefits of this fund when they left the job. Some employees had worked about 15 years in Cypress. For example, one employee has calculated that she must receive three million rupees. This is big money for them who mostly live in poverty after returning from service abroad. Some people struggled many years to get this money and died in desperation," Nipunaarachchi said.  No government has attended the issue of Cypress Social Security Fund of the Sri Lankan expatriate workers. The issue was cited by Sri Lankan workers in Cypress to th

New areas under isolation; many areas relieved; travel restrictions removed in Sri Lanka

Chief of Sri Lanka National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) Army Commander Shavendra Silva said that Maradana, Fort, Pettah, Slave Island and Dam Street police divisions in Colombo city would be isolated since 5 a.m. Monday, 16 November.  Seventeen police areas in Colombo district are now isolated. The other areas are  Mattakkuliya, Modara, Bloemandahl, Kotahena, Grandpass, Coastal, Aduruppu Weediya, Maligawatta, Dematogoda, Wellampitiya, Borella and Keselwatta . Seven police areas in Colombo, Kalutara, Kegalle and Kurunegala districts were withdrawn since tomorrow, the Army Commander said.  Kelaniya police area will be under isolation since 5.a.m. on Monday, November 16. Ja-ela, Negambo, Ragama, Wattala, Peliyagoda and Kadawatha areas of Gampaha district will remain isolated.    Peliyagoda, Pamunuwa and Sapugaskanda police areas in Gampaha district which are isolated now will be freed since 5 a.m. Monday, 16 November.  Horana, Ingiriya (police division

Sri Lankan arrested for fake news on roadside deaths due to COVID-19

Sri Lanka police say that a 35 years old man has been remanded until 18th November after producing before the Kandy Magistrate for posting fake content that says the Sri Lankans are dying on roadsides due to COVID-19. The person has been arrested from Egodawatta in Kadugannawa in Kandy district and police media spokesman Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana says that four more persons who shared this post are to be arrested. The police media spokesman said that only one person had died on a roadside due to COVID-19 and he was a homeless person.   The investigations are carried out by the Cyber Crime Unit of Criminal Investigation Department.

Sri Lanka bans vehicle imports for one more year; saves 1 billion dollars

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Sri Lanka Ministry of Finance has increased the ban on import of vehicles for another year.  The Ministry says that the country can save one billion US dollars per annum through this ban.  However, the vehicle importers urge the government to import vehicles.  To control foreign currency outflow, the government strictly imposed a complete ban on motor vehicles since March 2020. Government sources say that Sri Lanka has sufficient stocks of vehicles for up to two-and-a-half years. However, industry sources say that around 100,000 direct and indirect employees will lose livelihood due to the import ban.   (Photo: imported vehicles at Hambanthota port - via Daily News)

Travel restrictions removed tomorrow midnight

The police media spokesman of Sri Lanka, Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Rohana said to Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation that the travel restrictions on the Western Province would be withdrawn since midnight November 15. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed to impose travel restrictions on the Western Province at the daily meeting of the COVID-19 Task Force held in the Presidential Secretariat on November 11. The travel restriction was imposed since midnight of November 11. All the trains, buses and private vehicles were stopped at the boundaries of the Western Province. 

Maruti Suzuki Espresso achieves zero in crash test

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Maruti Suzuki S-presso, a small hatchback car sold by AMW in Sri Lanka targeting youth has achieved a zero star rating in Global NCAP’s new round of #SaferCarsForIndia crash tests.  The S-Presso is fitted with a driver-only airbag, achieved zero stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.  There is no place for zero-rated cars in the Indian market but the car is marketed in Sri Lanka flagged as a mini-SUV. (Source: Yahoo! Sports ) 

Sri Lanka government and opposition lock horns over the renovation of Deegavapi stupa

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Sri Lanka major opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) accused today to the government that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has removed a foundation stone laid by the previous government and laid a new foundation stone ceremoniously.  Addressing press conference held in the Opposition Leader's office today, Opposition SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna said that present Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa as the Minister of Cultural Affairs had started the renovation of historic Deegavapi stupa in Ampara district on 31 August 2019. He further pointed out that the then Minister allocated Rs. 853 million for the project.   The MP said that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ceremoniously started the same renovation project of Deegawapi stupa on November 11, 2020.  In April 2019, the cabinet approved a proposal presented by Minister of Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Sajith Premadasa to procure the special type of bricks required to re-construct the Deegavapi stupa.  Deegavapi is a

Private sector removed; Sri Lanka Army to start printing driving license since January

Sri Lanka Minister of Transport Gamini Lokuge said that Sri Lanka Army would start the printing of driving licenses in Sri Lanka since January 2021. The cabinet of Sri Lanka decided on 01 July 2020 to hand over the contract to Army under the direction of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.  Sri Lanka Army has established a Centre for National IT Solutions to cater to the future national-level IT projects in the country. The Minister stated that the purpose was saving money. He said that a large sum of money was spent by the Ministry for printing driving licenses from the private sector.  Audit reports revealed that Sri Lanka Motor Traffic Department had paid over Rs. 9 billion to a private company from 2009 to 2017.

Five COVID-19 deaths today; four without hospitalization

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Three of the five COVID-19 deaths reported today (November 13) so far occurred at home while another person died before hospitalization.  An 83 years old woman from Colombo-14, a 78 years old male from Colombo-13 and a 64 years old man from Colombo-13 died at home. Another 69 years old male from Rathmalana died before hospitalization.  High blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and heart attacks have been cited as the causes of death. Meanwhile, a 68-year-old male resident of Chilaw died at Mulleriyawa hospital due to high blood pressure and stroke.  The total of COVID-19 deaths in Sri Lanka is 53 now. 

Sri Lankan family in Australia fight against deportation to stay

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A Sri Lankan family whose temporary protection visas have since been rejected and appealed hit headlines of some of the Australian media due to the protests of their neighbours demanding let them stay. Mechanic Rajitha Udawatta, the family's primary visa holder, passed away in September, leaving his wife Florence and three of their four children in a precarious position, Daily Mail Australia reported. Udawatta died due to bowel cancer the day after his 50th birthday. Rajitha Udawatta belonged Sinhala majority community of Sri Lanka and the family have not sought political asylum.  The family do not want to return to Sri Lanka and their neighbours in Kempsey in New South Wales have rallied around their desperate fight to stay. Udawatta's eldest daughter Hirushi, who is training to become a chef, is able to stay in Australia on a student visa. But Ms Udawatta will have to return to Sri Lanka with her other children Ruvish, 17,  Jeniffer, 8, and Duane, 7, if the family lose their

Sri Lankans in South Korea to be brought back since next week

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Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) says that repatriation of Sri Lankan expatriate workers from South Korea will start next week. The media spokesman of SLFEB, Mangala Randeniya said that the chief of National Operation Center for the Prevention of COVID-19, Army Commander Shavendra Silva had granted permission for this.  Randeniya further said that some Sri Lankans who had signed agreements with the employers were waiting to go to South Korea. The Sri Lankan expatriate workers in South Korea whose job agreements are expired now must be brought to Sri Lanka to facilitate the others to go there.  Over 1,000 Sri Lankan workers whose contracts have expired are waiting for flights to return to Sri Lanka, sources say. Twenty-three thousand Sri Lankans work in South Korea now.