Sri Lanka halts imports of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder pending asbestos tests

Sri Lanka has halted imports of Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder until the company proves its product is free from cancer-causing asbestos, two government officials and the product’s local distributor told Reuters.

Stocks of the product already in Sri Lanka can still be sold, but there will be no new imports of the talc, a popular healthcare product across Sri Lanka and much of Asia, until J&J India, from where Sri Lanka imports the product, provides fresh test results.

Gota’s case: Special HC to announce decision on jurisdiction

The decision of the Permanent High Court-at-Bar on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and six others over the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum will be announced on February 11.

Last week, the former Defence Secretary had raised preliminary objections through his counsel that the Colombo Permanent High Court-at-Bar does not have jurisdiction to hear the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum case.

Presidential polls on or before Dec. 07?

The presidential election will take place on December 07 or on a Saturday before that, ‘Divaina’ quotes sources in the Elections Commission as saying.

Excepting for an early announcement of the election by president Maithripala Sirisena, he will complete his full term and the election should take place between November 09 and December 09.

Sandya opposes presidential pardon to Gnanasara Thera

The wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda and activist, Sandya Ekneligoda has written a letter to the President Maithripala Sirisena requesting not to grant a presidential pardon to extremist Buddhist monk Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, who is serving a 6-year prison sentence for contempt of court.

I will resign if PC polls are not held before Prez poll - Deshapriya

The Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya says he will resign from his post if Provincials Council elections are not held before the Presidential election, this year.

He stated this at a press conference held in Colombo, today (28).

59 MPs held accountable for violence in Parliament

The report of the committee probing the clashes that took place during the recent Parliament sessions has accused fifty-nine parliamentarians regarding the incident.

The committee had handed over the relevant report to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on January 22.

Reporting the contents of the report, the BBC Sinhala Service said, 59 legislators have acted against the provisions of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act.

President considering to pardon Gnanasara Thera?

It is likely that Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera of the Bodu Bala Sena would receive presidential pardon soon, says SLFP CC member - MP Shantha Bandara.

Speaking to media yesterday (24), he said that the president is considering the request of the Buddhist clergies to grant Presidential Pardon to Gnanasara Thero.

Pricing formula for imported milk powder

The government has decided to introduce a pricing formula for imported milk powder within the next two weeks.

This was decided during a special discussion held with the representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Commerce on the prices of milk powder, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) said.

SLFP to support no-confidence motion against Azath Salley

A no-confidence motion against western province governor Azath Salley will be tabled at the PC’s meeting today (22), said its opposition leader Manju Sri Arangala.

There are seven counts of accusations against Salley, including financial misappropriation, Arangala said, adding that appointing such a person as the governor was an insult to the WPC.

Ashley backs Chrishantha’s candidacy with false documents

CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket - Ashley de Silva has reportedly submitted false documents of Chrishantha Kapuwatta to election committee, reports

According to the website, the documents submitted by the SLC CEO state that Mr. Kapuwaththa has played U-23 cricket during the eighties. However, sources say that he had never played cricket at any level and his club was not even part of the tournament mentioned.

Microorganism tests to curb fall army worm infestation

The Crop Research & Development Institute has commenced research on the use of microorganisms for the control of the fall army worm or "Sena Caterpillar" infestation which is destroying the local crops in many areas.

Accordingly, they plan on propagating the microorganisms that would destroy the fall army worms and releasing them to the affected areas.

US citizenship, a personal matter - Gota

Former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said his US citizenship status was a personal matter to him, which he can decide to keep or relinquish.

Mr. Rajapaksa was responding to a number of questions posed by journalists, after appearing before the Permanent High Court Trial at Bar yesterday (17).

Sri Lanka says has $300 million loan offer from Bank of China, may increase to $1 billion

Sri Lanka is considering an offer from Bank of China (601988.SS) for a loan of $300 million, which could be raised to $1 billion, to help it meet repayments in coming months, junior finance minister Eran Wickramaratne told Reuters on Tuesday.

He also confirmed that Sri Lanka had started negotiations to increase the amount of a swap deal with India’s central bank to $1 billion, up from a previously negotiated $400 million.

President to sign six MoUs in Manila today

Sri Lanka and the Philippines will sign six Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) enhancing bilateral ties in many fields including the economic, cultural and political during President Maithripala’s visit in Manila today.

The President will meet his Philipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte and their discussion will focus on enhancing decades long cooperation between the two nations

Cabinet approval to make Tripitaka a world heritage

President’s proposal to make the Tripitaka of Theravada Buddhism a world heritage has received the approval of the Cabinet, stated President’s Media Division.

Recently, on 5th January 2019, the Tripitaka was declared a national heritage. President Maithripala Sirisena, at the ceremony held to proclaim the Tripitaka a national heritage, stated that the next step would be to declare it a world heritage.

Presidential election most likely next – Akila

General Secretary of UNP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that the upcoming election would most probably be a presidential election.

Addressing a UNP meeting in Nikaweratiya area, he says that he is 500 percent sure that his party would win the presidential election.

Registration cancelled if vehicle licence not renewed!

Measures have been taken to cancel the registration of all vehicles where the revenue license has not been renewed for over three years, according to the Motor Traffic Commissioner General Jagath Chandrasiri.

Two non-Cabinet ministers, one deputy minister appointed

President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed two new non-Cabinet ministers and a deputy minister at his official residence, the President’s Media Division said.

Accordingly, MP Ravindra Samaraweera was appointed as the non-Cabinet Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations and MP V. Radhakrishnan was appointed as the non-Cabinet Minister of Special Area Development.

ICC announces amnesty to report corrupt conduct in Sri Lankan cricket

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced a 15-day amnesty to participants who have previously failed to report any information concerning corrupt conduct in Sri Lankan cricket.

The amnesty, which will run from 16-31 January, will apply to all participants under both the ICC and Sri Lankan Cricket Anti-Corruption codes.

CTSU objects to 3,850 PTI recruitments

The Ceylon Teachers Services Union objects to the cabinet approval given for the recruitment of 3,850 grade III physical training instructors from among those who have passed only six subjects at the GCE ordinary level examination.

The schools are having a severe shortage of PTIs.

Credit card balance exceeds Rs. 100 billion

The total outstanding balance of credit cards issued by licensed commercial banks in Sri Lanka exceeded Rs. 100 billion in 2018.

By November, the figure stood at Rs. 103,146 million.

The total number of credit cards issued and remained active was 1,633,009.

PAFFREL to take committee to courts

Local election monitor PAFFREL is planning to take the committee tasked with inquiring into the delay in the delimitation process.

Its executive director Rohana Hettiarachchi says the committee headed by the prime minister should have submitted a report within two months, although four months have elapsed now.

Around 18,000 candidates fail A/L examination

Of the candidates who sat the GCE Advanced Level Examination in 2018, eighteen thousand two hundred and three (18,203) candidates have failed to get through any of the subjects, according to the Examinations Commissioner General Sanath Pujitha.

The GCE A/L examination results were released recently and 321,462 candidates had sat for the examination. Of them, 167,972 candidates had gained university entrance.

Ministry Secretaries told to comply with circular on appointment of SOEs heads

President Maithripala Sirisena has informed the Secretaries to the Ministries that it is a must to act according to the circulars issued by the Secretary to the President when appointing Chairpersons and members to Boards of Directors of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) including the statutory boards and public corporations.

The circular numbered PS/PCMD/19/2018 signed by the Secretary to the President has been issued on December 31, 2018. Furthermore, the President took steps to appoint a Committee to submit recommendations after inquiring the qualifications of the individuals to be appointed as Chairpersons or members to Director Boards of State enterprises.

All organized criminals to Boossa Prison

All prison inmates who are known to be suspects in organized crime are to be transferred to Boosa Prison within the next few weeks, reports say.

The move follows information that these inmates are planning drug trafficking and other crime from their cells.

Stock of weapons dumped into sea

A large stock of weapons that were court productions of the Galle High Court in cases that had been completed, had been taken far out to sea and destroyed.

Among these weapons were swords, Rambo knives, daggers, T56 rifles, ammunition, guns, pistols, revolvers, hand grenades, explosives, machetes and other sharp objects.

Radio service for Welikada prison inmates

A radio service by prison inmates has been planned with the intention of improving their abilities and to disburse information, says superintendent of Welikada Prison T. Uduwara.

It will be broadcast for inmates of Welikada Prison and will include religious programmes to cultivate their lives and also a news broadcast.