v2025 (2)

v2025

News

Sri Lanka to probe human rights abuses ahead of UNHRC session

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a 3-member panel to probe the findings of the previous commissions appointed by the state to investigate human rights abuses committed during the last phase of the armed conflict with the LTTE in 2009.

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Former Speaker steps in to solve the human-elephant conflict

Former Speaker and the Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice, Karu Jayasuriya says that authorities need to pay attention to the devastating impact caused by the human-elephant conflict.
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CBSL warns the public to beware of online scams

Sri Lankans have been under threat of several types of financial frauds and scams being operated through social media, Internet-based applications and mobile payment applications, the Central Bank warned.  Most of these scams are conducted through web or mobile app based easy loan schemes that attract the public, the Central Bank revealed in a special announcement today (22).  

During such a loan application evaluation process, the fraudsters entice the public to share confidential personal customer information/data.

This data included Debit/Credit Card numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs), card verification digits commonly found at the back of the card and referred to as CVV, CVC or CVS numbers, card expiry date, transaction verification information such as One-Time-Passwords (OTPs)

These scammers are also requesting internet users for their internet banking – username, password, OTP etc.

People have been strongly advised to exercise due diligence and care to avoid becoming victims of the scams operating in the guise of money lending businesses and obtain full information of the financial transaction and the lending party before entering into an agreement and conduct financial transactions with regulated/authorised entities. They will have to be extremely vigilant when dealing with easy/instant loan schemes and  avoid entering into agreements that it is difficult to fully understand the implications of the contents of the terms and conditions.

The should also be cautious when applying to easy/instant loan schemes with characteristics such as attractive slogans which lure customers in such as zero interest for the first loan

The scammers are offering extremely high interest rates even though the initial interest rates may be low.

Further, the Central Bank wishes to request the public to obtain real-time notification services, such as SMS alerts, from their banks or non-bank financial institutions, so that they would become aware of any fraudulent activity that takes place using their accounts, instantly.

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Sri Lanka reopens for tourists after 10 months

 Sri Lanka reopened to foreign tourists Thursday after a nearly 10-month pandemic closure that cut deeply into the Indian Ocean island nation's lucrative travel industry.
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Veteran journalist Edwin Ariyadasa passes away at the age of 98

Senior journalist, film critic, environmentalist and educator Kala Keerthi Edwin Ariyadasa passed away at the age of 98 today (22).
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Leading trade union warns of impending threat for EPF

The Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) has repeated an earlier request that the government should not tamper with the EPF Act to bring about the proposed increase in the retirement age of the employed.
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Government under fire from Maha Sangha over ECT

Pro-government hardline nationalist monks have criticised the Gotabaya Rajapaksa led government over attempts to allow foreign entities to acquire Sri Lanka's most valuable resources.

Ven Medagama Dhammananda Thero said that Ports and Airports are valuable resources to a country and as such, Sri Lanka has to re-think about the ways in which it can manage these resources and declare our authority on it and go forward.

He said that when the Maha Sangha backed the present government at the presidential and parliamentary elections, they had their complete faith in the President that he will carry out the country’s affairs while safeguarding the country’s national resources.

Civic groups and trade unions have heavily criticized the government’s efforts to handover a 49% stake of the Colombo Port’s ECT to India’s Adani Group.

“We believe that the President is a person who loves the country,” Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thero. But since he was elected to power, various entities have been trying to manipulate him”.

Ven. Magalkande Sudantha Thero, the secretary of the Sinhala Ravaya Organization that supported the presidential bid of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, noted that the government that pledged to refrain from allowing the country’s resources to be sold to foreign entities before coming into power, is acting in a contrary manner.

 "What we had paraded around the country on our shoulders have turned out to be an empty mortar shell," the Ven. Thero said.

Meanwhile, Ven Elle Gunawansa Thero said that they will come forward to protect the ECT just as the Sacred Tooth Relic protects the Dalada Maligawa.

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Hingurana sugar factory revival begins to bear fruit

The revival of the Hingurana Sugar factory under Sri Lanka‘s first private partnership initiated during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime in 2007 ending a 15 year closure has now been turned around to a profitable joint venture with efficient management.
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Gen. Shavendra Silva calls for strict regulatory mechanisms at private hospitals

The head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO), General Shavendra Silva has requested private hospitals to look into implementing a common regulatory mechanism for conduct of antigen and PCR tests.

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SLSI Director General caught in a substandard act? (Video)

A video circulating on social media shows Dr. Siddhika G Senaratne, the Director General of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) engaging in a substandard act.

The video depicts Dr. Senaratne misusing her official powers to coerce a senior official of the SLSI, the Director of Marketing and Promotion, to brief the media as per her instructions.

The video shows the Director of Marketing and Promotion being pressured by the DG to state how ophthalmologists and dermatologists in the country have affirmed that the detergent 'sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate' (SDBS) found in Unilever soap bars is not harmful to the body.

However, the Director of Marketing and Promotion doesn't comply with her demands citing lack of written evidence.

 
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UNP clarifies its stance on the ECT

The United National Party has refuted claims made by the government alleging that the former government had agreed to sell the Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port.
 
In a statement on Thursday (21), the UNP said that the 2019 Government has not entered into any agreement to sell the ECT or any section of the Colombo Port to India, Japan or any other country, adding that the agreement pertained only to the company operating the terminal.

The Memorandum of Corporation was signed between the Sri Lankan, Indian and Japanese Governments to lease out the terminal to a Terminal Operating Company.

 Accordingly, a Terminal Operations Company was to be established with Sri Lanka retaining a 51% stake, while the remaining 49% stake would be distributed between a nominee company of India and a nominee company of Japan. On the 10th of September 2019 Cabinet approval was provided to proceed with the signing of the cooperation agreement between the three countries.

The Terminal Operations Company (TOC) was set up with the “exclusive and explicit purpose of providing the equipment and systems necessary for the development of the ECT and managing the ECT”.

 The TOC was to be provided with a set period of time to operate the ECT, thereafter the manner of operations of the ECT was a decision of the Government of Sri Lanka. There is no mention of a sale of the ECT.
 
Development under two phases

The development and operations of the ECT was to be carried out over two phases. Phase “A” was to consist of the operation of the existing 600 meter quay length with the necessary terminal handling equipment. Funding for this phase was to be provided via a US $190 million loan from JICA.

 Phase “B” would require a further funding of US $500 million and would result in the extension of the quay from 600 meters to 1,350 meters as well as creating new yard space. That is an additional 750 meters.

Furthermore, the Governments of Sri Lanka and Japan were undergoing negotiations to sign Exchange of Notes under highly concessionary conditions. Accordingly the loan provided by JICA would be done so at an interest rate of 0.1% for a period of 40 years, with a grace period of 12 years. Japan has continually funded the development of the Colombo Port since 1977.

The construction of phase “B” with a loan obtained by the Sri Lankan Government would ensure that ownership of the East Container Terminal would be retained. In the case of an investment in the terminal by other parties, the Government does not have exclusive ownership.

Other details were to be negotiated in accordance with clause 3 & 5 as stipulated in Memorandum of Corporation, by a Joint Working Group comprising representatives of the three Governments. None of these matters had been finalized.

The decision of the management of the TOC had to be taken jointly by the three Governments.

At the time of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assuming office, India had not formally informed us of the company which they would nominate. It was indicated that it would be the Adani Group.

 The Sri Lankan Government had the condition that the Indian partner should not operate any other port in India to the disadvantage of the Colombo Port.
 
This was to ensure that the Colombo Port would retain its status as the main container port for South Asia.

The agreement negotiated by the UNP while in Government was one that was beneficial and safeguarded the Colombo Port as the leading container port in South Asia.

Memorandum of Cooperation East Container Terminal 1

Memorandum of Cooperation East Container Terminal 2

Memorandum of Cooperation East Container Terminal 3

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From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: new report exposes massive militarisation

An internationally released report exposes the creeping take over of civil administration by security force commanders in Sri Lanka within just over a year of the second Rajapaksa rule.

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