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Editorial: Polygamy, again!

Aug 22 (Island) One may have thought that political polygamy which the country witnessed during the last seven months or so was a short-lived phenomenon and the country would have a separate Opposition after a general election. But, one is disappointed. Polygamy has come to stay if the unfolding political drama is anything to go by. UNP and the UPFA have opted for a political marriage of convenience again. The two parties inked an agreement yesterday expressing their desire more..

'There was not a lot you could throw at him'

Aug 22 (CI) Watching on TV you might feel that it was difficult to have a quiet game with Kumar Sangakkara, but having a quiet dinner with him was more difficult. If he was a great competitor on the field, he was immensely popular off it. I remember going out for a dinner with him in Melbourne in 2005 when we were on the same Asia XI side to take on the ICC World XI. I enjoyed the conversation, but I also remember more..

Will defeat shine in national governance?

Aug 22 (Island) Defeat is not a word associated with shine, glow or glitter. That is among those who are not familiar with the reality of Si Lankan politics. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was soundly defeated in the January 8 presidential poll, was given a new lustre as a person earmarked for victory, by those who made him believe he could be the next prime minister. The Brasso shine seen on him in the poll campaign for parliament has now faded away. more..

After General Elections

Aug 22 (Island) In my last article I wrote, On commonsensical grounds I expect the UNP to win by a comfortable margin. Given the ground realities of electoral politics no one expects any Party to win an outright majority of 113 seats. So the UNP’s 106 seats just 7 short of an outright majority seems a very creditable performance. The margin of 11 seats over the SLFP’s 95 seats seems a comfortable one. And the UNP seems assured of ruling in comfort either through a National Govt or more..

Mad room rush slashes SL hotel rates

Aug 22 (ST) Hoteliers in the Southern coastal belt and Colombo city hotels are feeling the pinch of trying to attract travellers and have resorted to undercutting at a time when there is a mad room rush. Slashing prices on room rates has become the norm in the five stars in Colombo and the Southern hotels of three and four stars who are trying to grab a share of the visitors holidaying during the off season. more..

Reducing sexual violence: President's pledge

Aug 22 (CT) In the run-up to his election in January 2015, the President announced an important set of pledges that contributed to his electoral success. They were titled a New Sri Lanka for Women. This is the third article by Verité Research in a series that evaluates the need and highlights opportunities, for implementing the core pledges made by the President to Sri Lankan women. Pledge: "Create an effective system of law enforcement that addresses the mounting sexual offences more..

Asian U-20 7s: SL in hard -fought win

Aug 22 (CT) Despite losing to UAE and China, determined Sri Lanka bounced back with a hard fought (31-14) victory against Malaysia to book their berth in the Cup quarter final in the second leg of the Asian under 20 sevens first round matches worked off here at Kings Park rugby ground, Kowloon, Hong Kong yesterday. Tuskers who played a pathetic level of rugby in the two previous games lost to UAE (17-12), China (33-14). SL finished third in group B and and now will take on Chinese Taipei in more..

SLC comes down hard on illegal bowlers

Aug 22 (NS) Stamping out on illegal bowling took a new turn with Sri Lanka Cricket’s Illegal Bowling Action Committee (IBAC) headed by former Sri Lanka double international Ishak Sahabdeen taking tangible steps to wipe out the menace from the country. Sahabdeen’s aim is to ensure that none of the bowlers they send for the upcoming ICC Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh from Jan 22-Feb 13 comes under scrutiny. more..

Cooray out looking for his pride

Aug 22 (CT) Marathoner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray will be out to make his statement here today at the 15th IAAF World Championship which will start with the men's Marathon final to begin at 05.05 early morning (Sri Lanka time) today. Cooray, 37 has been training in Kenya along with favourites to win this race as well as the world record holder Dennis Kimetto as well as the immediate past record holder Wilson Kipsang. He said he was feeling well after the Kenyan high altitude training. more..

Softlogic Finance starts the year with an impressive growth in profits

Aug 22 (Island) Softlogic Finance PLC’s new business model has paid rich dividends in the first quarter of the 2015/16 financial year, with the company achieving impressive improvements in a range of key indicators, a press release said. The release adds - Based on unaudited figures for the financial quarter ended 30th June 2015, released to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), on a year-on-year (YoY) basis Softlogic Finance recorded a more than 10-fold increase in more..

Why Chinese presence in Colombo Port worries India

Aug 22 (ENS) China’s firm foothold in Colombo Port, which it acquired during the nine-year Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa, continues to worry India even after the change of regime in Sri Lanka in January this year. Colombo port and India are inextricably linked, with Indian vessels using Colombo for transshipment in a major way, and Colombo port getting 70% of its business from India-related transshipment. more..

Heartbreaking news from Kekirilanthaya

Aug 22 (NS) Savannah the Vast, the delusional former head specialist has been seen out of her kumbaha (den) trying to convince a tired and turned-off audience to vote for her latest political gimmicks at the upcoming elections, confirming long-held suspicions that she has fallen off the kasiya wagon. Again. On a more promising note, the coming out and falling off does signal that the silly, silly political season is finally coming to an end and the people will get a break from the idiot brigade. more..

NDBS makes case for Banking Consolidation

Aug 22 (CT) High competition amongst Sri Lanka's smaller banks will threaten their return on equity in the long run, an equity research report warned. Releasing its recent banking sector equity research report, NDB Securities stresses the importance of banking sector consolidation. "We believe that banking consolidation will further strengthen the system and improve banks access to financing via international capital markets." It said. Five banks out of the 25 licensed commercial banks hold more..

Sri Lanka aggressively running away from being aggressive

Aug 22 (CI) Transition is a funny thing in cricket. Teams playing badly sometimes pretend they are rebuilding, in order to manufacture some good will. Other times, players who are tipped to lead the side into a bold new age wither at the top level & unsuspected others bloom. SL are presently grappling with this whole process. Their XI contains a clump of cricketers who have sparkled in patches, without truly taking grip of their destiny. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism blitz on Sony Six for Sanga farewell

Aug 22 (DM) Sri Lanka Tourism will showcase the beauty of Sri Lanka on the theme 8 wonderful experiences in 8 wonderful days in the focussed markets of India, Middle East and UK apart from the other countries that Sony Six will relay its live broadcast which accounts for 40 percent of the arrivals into Sri Lanka as at end July 2015, according to SLTBP Chairman Dr. Rohantha Athukorala. Kumar Sangakkara is believed to be an impactful tourism brand ambassador more..

New tech ideas by Lankan startups

Aug 22 (CT) After seven weeks of intense brainstorming guided by international and local trainers and mentors, seven prospective Sri Lankan startups pitched their ideas and business plans to a panel of investors in Colombo recently, bringing to a close the 2015 MIT Global Startup Lab (GSL) Sri Lanka programme supported by top apparel exporter Brandix and enterprise middleware specialist WSO2. Innovative adaptation of Information and Communications Technology more..

Basil retires from politics

Aug 22 (FT) The decision taken by former Minister Basil Rajapaksa after the presidential elections to exit from active politics remains unchanged, a close associate of his said. During the past few months he stayed away from politics, but he extended his support during the general election because of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, he was not allowed to even fulfil the tasks that he is known to be good at. more..

Bangladesh Premier congratulates Ranil

Aug 22 (BDN) Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina has congratulated her new Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe and hoped to work together for strengthening bilateral ties and promoting “peace, progress and prosperity” in the region. In a message, she also invited the Sri Lankan prime minister to Bangladesh at his convenience, her office said. Wickremesinghe was sworn in on Friday following the victory of his alliance in the Aug 17 general election. more..

Suren Cooke partners Sumitomo Chemical

Aug 22 (FT) Suren Cooke Agencies has announced that it is one of the official distributors and strategic partners of Sumitomo Chemical Products in Sri Lanka. As a leading pest control service provider in the country, Suren Cooke Agencies launched one of the newest products of Sumitomo Chemical’s portfolio – Xterm Termite Baiting System, an innovative solution to eradicate termites. Termites cause more damage to homes in the US than tornadoes, fires and earthquakes combined more..

From perseverance to premiership!

Aug 22 (FT) Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the UNP which bagged the most seats in Monday’s Parliamentary race,took oaths as the 23rd PM of Sri Lanka and head of its newly-elected Govt yesterday. In a simple ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat, Wickremesinghe was sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at 10:20 a.m., officially kicking off a new cohabitation between the two old allies of more..

'Our process for National List is exemplary'

Aug 22 (FT) UNP said that it conducted itself in an exemplary manner when deciding on the final National List nominations. UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim said the party stuck with the policy of not using the National List to give access to Parliament to candidates who lost in the General Election despite many pressures. On the contrary many other parties have done so following the often criticised means. “UNP has lived up to the true spirit and promise of good governance,” more..

Ceylon Petroleum seeks Murban crude oil term cargoes for first time

Aug 22 (Reuters) Ceylon Petroleum Corp (Ceypetco) is seeking Murban crude oil term cargoes for the first time, after buying the oil in the spot market recently. Sri Lanka was a regular importer of Iranian oil until Western sanctions were imposed in 2012, when Colombo sharply reduced its purchases of crude from the country and later switched to spot imports of Oman light and Murban crude oil. "There has been a change in the refinery process and it's now more profitable for more..

Business leaders cautiously optimistic on new National Govt

Aug 22 (NS) Despite the General Elections being done away with, there continues to be a sense of uncertainty pertaining to the effective nature of a new National Unity Govt in terms of laying down a path for long-term economic direction. Post the Presidential Elections in January this year, economic experts and analysts pointed out that SL was in need of reforms in order to ensure a clear path for a long term economic growth. more..

Unique features of Aug 17 Lankan elections

Aug 22 (ENS) August 17 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections will go down in history for its many landmarks. It was for the first time that a former Lankan President had come down the political pecking order and contested a parliamentary election to become an MP and sit in the opposition to boot. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who did this, is now the subject of hilarious cartoons and barbed comment. He is also the first former President not to retire gracefully. more..

NFF in the Opposition

Aug 22 (CT) NFF has decided to sit in the Opposition in Parliament and not join the National Govt. Central Committee of the NFF met on the 20 August under the patronage of the Party Leader Wimal Weerawansa and held a discussion after which they decided not to join the National Govt but to sit in the Opposition. MEP under the leadership of Dinesh Gunawardena and the DLF Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara had also stated that they would not join the National Govt and more..

Economist-legislator warns on currency weakness

Aug 22 (EN) Rupee may be allowed to weaken further as the island’s exports performance is weak, a top govt policy maker has said as the rupee came under pressure from money printing and deficit spending. "I don’t know how long we can hold this currency as exports are falling," said Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva. Rupee closed at 134 per US dollar with the Central Bank intervening at 134 to keep the currency falling while printing money more..

'No objection to Premajayantha's involvement in preparing UPFA National List'

Aug 22 (DN) New UPFA General Secretary Prof. Vishwa Warnapala informed the Colombo District Court that he had no objection over former UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha getting involved in preparing the UPFA National List. District Court, issuing an enjoining order last week, prevented Premajayantha from functioning as General Secretary of UPFA. Premajayantha was involved in preparing the National List which was presented to the EC yesterday. more..

Cabinet to be limited to 35 ministers

Aug 22 (DN) Number of Cabinet of Ministers of the new National Govt will be limited to 35, political sources said. Out of them, 19 will be assigned to UNP, while 16 will be appointed from the SLFP. Six SLFP candidates, who were defeated, have been given the opportunity to enter Parliament from the National List. Out of them, Mahinda Samarasinghe, S.B. Dissanayake, Vijithamuni Zoysa and Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena are also likely to receive Cabinet Ministerial Portfolios. more..

Maithri loots UPFA

Aug 22 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena consolidated his position as leader of the SLFP by appointing known loyalists to the slots allocated to the UPFA. The list includes seven who had contested and lost at the recently concluded parliamentary elections. This comes in the aftermath of Sirisena’s pre-election moves to trump the so-called Mahinda (Rajapaksa) Faction by removing the General Secretaries of both the SLFP and more..

The pride of the past is pulsing

Aug 22 (DM) Yesterday Aug 21, 2015 will form another important chapter in Sri Lanka’s history with the newly elected PM Ranil Wickremesinghe being sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena, followed by the signing of a MoU for the two major parties to work together for the first time since Independence in 1948. On the opposite page today, we carry an article by one of the world’s most eminent jurists Justice C. G. Weeramantry who gives historical evidence that more..

The Rajapaksa factor made a difference

Aug 22 (DM) The 15th parliamentary election on Monday was clearly a referendum on deposed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political comeback. Everything ranging from President Maithripala Sirisena’s actions towards the election, behaviour of various ethnic groups and political parties to campaign themes seemed to have been centred on the possibility of Rajapaksa’s assumption of premiership after the election. It was the minority communities- Tamils, Muslims & Christians more..

Say NO to maladies with Public Health promotion

Aug 22 (DM) Sri Lanka must be a stalwart in promoting Public Health in order to establish a healthy and secure lifestyle for its people void of maladies. Representing the University of Toronto, Director of the Office of Global Health Education and Training Dr. Arun Chockalingam in partnership with the Rajarata University recently conducted an awareness programme focusing on Public Health Promotion to uni students & professionals more..

Youths band together to protect elusive fishing cat

Aug 22 (ST) On the heels of last week’s story of innocent animals dying in collisions with speeding vehicles is a positive report of young people erecting road signs to prevent Sri Lanka’s second-largest wild cat falling prey to careless motorists. The first signs went up last week at Gannoruwa and Haloluwa critical fishing cat death sites in the Kandy district. The fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), commonly known more..

UNFGG accounts for one fifth of govt MPs

Aug 22 (Island) Among the 106-member ruling UNFGG parliamentary group elected at this week’s general election were over 20 members belonging to constituent parties, political sources said. The parliamentary group comprises 93 elected and 13 appointed members. The group comprises both elected and appointed members. UNP polled 5,098,927 (45.66 %) votes at the polls to secure 13 National List slots. more..

Thajudeen mystery buried for 3 years

Aug 22 (SL) The exhumation of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen’s body is expected to provide answers to many questions that have remained unanswered since his death in 2012. Senior Attorney-at-Law Misbah Sathar, who appears for the Thajudeen family in the ongoing case before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court (Case No: B 849/12/03) said that he is surprised at how certain persons tried to prevent the remains of more..

Sobitha Thera slams appointment of defeated candidates to national list

Aug 22 (DM) While stating that it was wrong to appoint defeated candidates to the national list, leader of the NMSJ Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera said the only solution to prevent such moves was to enact a new constitution. Thera said the current constitution allowed for defeated candidates to enter parliament through the national list, and added that such loopholes should be amended and a new constitution introduced. more..

Rishad’s party suspends its General Secretary

Aug 22 (CG) The ACMC led by Rishad Bathiudeen has suspended its party General Secretary Y.L.S Hameed. Bathiudeen said that the Supreme Council of the party had decided today to suspend Hameed over allegations he had violated party discipline. Hameed has been suspended after he had reportedly ignored warnings by the party leadership to avoid making comments against the UNP. Hameed had been unhappy over more..

T.B. Ekanayake too sacked from UPFA ExCo

Aug 22 (AD) MP-elect T.B. Ekanayake says that he been removed from the UPFA Executive Committee and that he has received respective letter. Yesterday, S.M. Chandrasena, Pavithra Wanniarachchi and former MP Kumara Welgama were too removed from the UPFA Executive Committee. Welgama said that he received a letter signed by the Acting General Secretary of SLFP, Duminda Dissanayake, more..

South Africa and Japan to hold talks on SL

Aug 22 (CG) South Africa and Japan are to hold talks on peace-building efforts, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Sri Lanka. South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa left for Japan yesterday where he will meet Ambassador Yasushi Akashi to have talks on Sri Lanka. Cyril Ramaphosa is meeting Akashi in his role as South African President Jacob Zuma’s Special Envoy to Sri Lanka. more..

'No UPFA approval for MOU'

Aug 22 (DM) The UPFA yesterday disassociated itself from the MoU signed between its main constituent SLFP and the UNP, a party leader said. The the SLFP led UPFA is registered as a separate party political party with the MEP, SLMP, DVJP, EPDP and the NUA as its other constituents. MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardane said UPFA executive committee had not agreed to signing of MoU to form a national govt more..