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UPFA break-up

Aug 23 (SO) Following Rajapaksa’s instructions, their resistance died down and they withdrew their decision to present a separate national list, countering new UPFA General Secretary Professor Vishwa Warnapala. SLFP Central Committee too was scheduled to meet on Thursday under the auspices of President Sirisena at the party headquarters. Although the Colombo District Court earlier issued an enjoining order preventing the Central Committee from meeting before more..

Budget 2016 in November as usual

Aug 23 (ST) Among the first tasks of the new govt is to kick-start preparations for Budget 2016 soon and legislate at least 25 revenue proposals from the 2015 budget after the new parliament opens next month. The new budget will be for 2016 and it will be presented at the regular time, Dr. Harsha de Silva, MP-elect who is tipped to get a powerful ministerial portfolio in the govt, said. Meanwhile the immediate priority of the govt is to enact these revenue proposals including more..

Kelani fears dumping of Chinese tyres here

Aug 23 (Island) The Chairman of Kelani Tyres had warned that the global outlook for tyres originating from manufactures like Sri Lanka looks bleak due to supply being substantially over demand. "This situation has been further aggravated with the US Govt imposing prohibitive duties on Chinese tyre imports which has forced Chinese manufactures to start dumping in alternate markets in Africa, Middle East & Asia including SL," more..

Action-man Kohli squeezes Sri Lanka's fight

Aug 23 (CI) Cricket matches, it is widely believed, can turn towards teams on individual pieces of outstanding skill, slices of magic and freak happenstance. India's turnaround moment on day three of the P Sara Test is a little difficult to put a finger on. Was the fall of the last seven Sri Lanka wickets for 65 set about with the end of the Angelo Mathews-Lahiru Thirimanne partnership in the 85th over? With Ishant Sharma's He Man and the Master of the Universe Snarl? more..

Liberals Congratulate PM and New Govt

Aug 23 (Island) Secretary General of Liberal Party Kamal Nissanka issuing a press statement welcomed the final result of the 2015 general election held in a comparatively peaceful environment and congratulated Ranil Wickremesinghe on assuming duties as the PM. The statement welcomed the desire of President Sirisena to fulfill significant provisions of his own manifesto that was published during the presidential election period through the newly elected govt. more..

Rosy tipped to be SL’s HC in London?

Aug 23 (Island) Former State Minister Rosy Senanayake, who failed in her re-election bid in the parliamentary poll, is tipped to be appointed Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to London. The Sri Lankan mission in the British capital has remained headless since the resignation of Dr. Chris Nonis in Oct 2014 following the incident of alleged assault involving then External Affairs monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardane. more..

Sri Lankan swimmers exiled in Russia

Aug 23 (SO) Sri Lankan swimmers, who took part at the 16th FINA World Championships held in Kazan, Russia were treated as virtual exiles or independent athletes to the organisers thereby creating a slur in the country's aquatic sports history. Following the suspension of the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) by the world governing body FINA over a Constitutional issue in the island, the swimming quartet of Matthew Abeysinghe, Kimiko Raheem, Machiko Raheem and Cherantha de Silva more..

Sanath Kumara wins maiden marathon title, Anuradhi regains women’s title

Aug 23 (Island) SL Police athlete Amila Sanath Kumara won his maiden national title in the men’s category and Anuradhi Bogahawatta regained the women’s title as the national marathon of the 41st National Sports Festival concluded amidst a sparse crowd at Bulathsinhala on Saturday. While many-time champion Ajith Bandara stopped half way through the race, defending champion Pradeep Dhammika Arunasiri who led the race until the 40th kilometer could not finish due to injury. more..

Corporate chiefs, economists urge tough decisions

Aug 23 (ST) Even as a new govt takes office with the promise of economic reforms that would last the next five years, SL economists and corporate leaders are urging tough economic decisions, overhauling the bureaucracy and trimming the fat at state enterprises to take the country forward. Economist and Lecturer, Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne, noted that hard & difficult changes need to be implemented to reach 10% growth, more..

Heat the spoiler at Beijing

Aug 23 (CT) Unfavourable weather in Beijing turned to be the spoiler in the men's Marathon final of the 15th IAAF World Championship in its starting day where SL marathoner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray finished in 29th position with a time of 2 hours 25 minutes 03 seconds. The race was won by little known teenager from Eritrea Ghirmay Ghebresalassie, 19 with a time of 2 hours 12 minutes and 27 seconds. Ghebresalassie successfully kept his lead after beating more..

Unions confident of wage hike legislation

Aug 23 (ST) Labour unions were positive that the new UNP-led regime would bring about legislation to grant the Rs. 2500 pay hike for private sector workers with retrospective effect from May 2015 in addition to other demands. Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union General Secretary Anton Marcus said that they were confident the govt would bring in the required legislation and ensure that in future it would be the govt’s prerogative to increase salaries and more..

Sirisena begins Tamil resettlement in Sampoor

Aug 23 (Hindu) Ponkala and Viayalatha, women in thirties, are a happy lot. In 2006, they had to leave their village Sampoor at the height of an armed conflict between a militant group and the govt. About a month ago, they returned to their native place. On Saturday, the two women were present at an event to mark the commencement of resettlement in the village. President Sirisena and his predecessor, Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

Reverse Swing: Lanka lessons for Modi

Aug 23 (IE) India has reason to be riveted to Sri Lanka, and not merely because of the beguiling Test series currently underway. The beautiful island with a cruel modern history has just voted in its parliamentary elections — and voted with impressive sophistication. Citizens have handed a second consecutive spanking to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the uncouth and undemocratic strongman who was for so long the country’s president. Having tasted a stunning defeat in the presidential elections more..

Many SLFP MPs unhappy about MOU

Aug 23 (Island) Political circles were buzzing yesterday about unhappiness among a sizable section of the SLFP about the national govt MOU between the UNP and the SLFP. But there was no clear indication of whether this would lead to a breakaway. "It was done with little or no consultation," one politician said. "While making National List appointments of several defeated candidates is not illegal, the morality of such appointments is questionable." more..

Biswal here for key talks

Aug 23 (SL) US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka this week for key talks with the Govt on the war crimes report on Sri Lanka which is to be made public in Geneva next month. Biswal is to be accompanied by a group of US officials. Sunday Leader attempted to contact the spokesperson of the US Embassy in Colombo with regards to the visit, but the spokesperson could not be reached. more..

SLFP to decide on opp. leader

Aug 23 (ST) SLFP will decide on who should be the Opposition Leader in Parliament. The SLFP’s Senior Vice President, John Seneviratne, said that he had handed over a report with recommendations to President Sirisena, in his capacity as party leader. Mr. Sirisena took full control of the SLFP and the UPFA after the elections last Monday. Mr. Seneviratne heads an SLFP committee which has been asked to consult the UPFA Executive Committee and decide on more..

Who’s on the National list

Aug 23 (ST) Most of the 29 National List MPs appointed to Parliament are experienced politicians with a few newcomers. New entrants from the UNP include ex-Chairman of the UNP Malik Samarawickrema, IT Prof Ashubodha Marasinghe, Dr A.R.A. Hafees, Constitutional lawyer Jayampathi Wickremaratne, Attorney-at-Law M.H.M. Salman, ex-minister of NorthWestern Provincial Council M.H.M. Navavi and trade unionist Srinal De Mel. The UPFA National List mostly comprises senior more..

Power struggle within SLFP, UPFA; split on the cards

Aug 23 (ST) The SLFP faces an inevitable split, with a section set to support former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and sit as an opposition group in Parliament while the UPFA will take a decision today whether the alliance should continue or function as a separate group. This is while some 20 SLFP MPs will accept portfolios plus an equal number will support a National Govt. more..

Investors cautious as they await signals from new govt: Acuity

Aug 23 (Island) Investors remain cautious, as they await clarity on the economic policies of the newly formed govt and any new developments on this front is likely to determine market movement in the weeks to come, Acuity Stockbrokers said in a market report covering the post-election week. "Market activity was subdued during the first half of the week as there were no major surprises with regard to the General Elections held on Monday," it said. "Backed by some profit taking by the retail sector, and more..

Eighth Parliament to convene on Sept 1

Aug 23 (SO) The 8th Parliament of Sri Lanka will convene on September 1 under the new national govt formed by the UNP- led UNFGG and the SLFP. The main business of the new Parliament during its inaugural session will be to appoint a Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of Committees for the House. The presidential proclamation convening the inaugural session of the Parliament has already been been issued by President Sirisena, sources said. more..

Another Jumbo Cabinet with National Govt

Aug 23 (ST) A nation watched Friday as the victor and the vanquished at Monday’s parliamentary elections pledged to form a National Govt just after a historic ceremony, televised live, where Ranil Wickremesinghe took his oaths as the 21st PM of Sri Lanka. President Sirisena is due to swear in on Tuesday a Cabinet of Ministers representing UNP and SLFP. Both the sides are engaged in talks on how the ministerial team which will be large more..

Post-election colours, prospects & casualties

Aug 23 (Island) Sri Lanka’s electoral map the morning after its 16th general election was a fascinating picture of political colours. The middle of the island was all (UNP) green, spreading from west to east and covering the hill country and most of the country’s wet zone. The southern base and much of the dry zone was shot in (SLFP) blue. The north stood out in (TNA) yellow. This broad brush display of colours obviously concealed the many local variations of political loyalties and conflicts. more..

Falling with Mahinda

Aug 23 (Island) Let’s Arise with Mahinda was the theme of the well-organised and well-funded comeback campaign of the Rajapaksa raj. The truth turned out to be polar opposite. On August 18th, the UPFA collapsed into a crushing defeat with Mahinda, again. Not only did Mr. Rajapaksa fail to add a single new vote to the UPFA’s January 8th tally; he also failed to retain 19% of the votes he got at the presidential election. Under Rajapaksa aegis the UPFA’s electoral base eroded by more..

No Identity Card, no vote, Mayor told

Aug 23 (ST) It was two trips to the Polling Station for Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil at Monday’s elections. On the first occasion he accompanied then caretaker PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to the polling station at College House, part of the Colombo University along Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha, the former Thurstan Road. Mr. Muzammil produced his Mayor’s identity card issued by the council. more..

Probe shifts to Thajudeen’s car

Aug 23 (SL) Information has been sought on the vehicle used by former Havelock’s Rugby captain Wasim Thajudeen at the time of his death. CID said that details regarding the vehicle have been sought from the Toyota Company in SL since Thajudeen’s body was found in a Toyota car. CID investigation into Wasim Thajudeen’s death had taken a back seat during the period of the election but has now resumed. more..

CID tells Army to produce suspects

Aug 23 (SL) The CID has requested the army to hand over suspects believed to have been involved in the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. CID sources said that a request had been put forward to the army, but the army has yet to hand the suspects over. However, army spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera has said the army will never deviate from its responsibilities. He has insisted that if a formal request more..

TNA says it overcame challenges

Aug 23 (SL) TNA says it achieved a resounding victory at the 2015 General Election, successfully overcoming the challenges and fierce opposition it faced. For the second time this year, the Tamil People have shown a clear intention to strengthen the hand of the TNA, TNA member M.A. Sumanthiran said. “They have done so keeping intact the goal of their long term political struggle, and with hope that their lives will be restored. more..

Kattankudy violence: Police arrest 6 suspects

Aug 23 (Island) Six persons have been arrested in connection with Friday evening’s violence in Kattankudy, where activists of a defeated UPFA candidate, later nominated on the National List, ran berserk attacking supporters of a rival political party and causing damage to property. Those targeted in the spate of attacks were supporters of the SLMC and NFGG, a regional-based party aligned to it, an activist in more..

Racket deepens; Italy suspends job visas for Lankans

Aug 23 (SO) Italian Embassy has put on hold job visas for Sri Lankans after it was revealed that applicants had been selected in questionable circumstances where large sums of money are alleged to have changed hands. They said that between 40 to 75 job visas in the domestic category were in limbo at the embassy at present since the applicants approved by the local authorities failed to meet the required criteria but had apparently more..

Local monitors question move to include losers

Aug 23 (CG) Local election monitors have questioned the decision taken by the main political parties to name candidates who lost the Parliamentary election on the national list. The Campaign for a Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) said that while the move is not illegal it is unethical. The Executive Director of CaFFE, Keerthi Tenakoon noted that UPFA has included seven members who lost the election in the national list. more..

Arrest of top politicians, Govt officials imminent

Aug 23 (SO) The Financial Crime Investigations Division (FCID) is tipped to arrest several politicians and top govt officials in the next few days, for alleged financial frauds. The FCID, on the request of the Commissioner of Elections temporarily halted its process of summoning politicians, who were candidates at the election, to record statements as it would have proved disadvantageous in the run up to an election. more..

Constitution needs to be changed: EC

Aug 23 (CT) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that if there is opposition from the public to sending candidates defeated at the election through the National List back to Parliament, the Constitution should be changed. "According to Article No. 99(A) of the Constitution, the National List can be filled with those who have contested the election and those whose names were not included in the National List originally." more..

517,123 votes rejected; 3.3 m no show

Aug 23 (ST) More than half a million votes were rejected at Monday’s parliamentary elections mainly due to the lack of awareness among voters on the complicated voting process and a large number of candidates, most of whom were from independent groups, an official said. He said 517,123 or 4.42% of the votes cast were rejected. In addition, 3.3 million voters of the registered 15 million did not cast their votes. more..

New govt’s development plans in line with 2015 ESCAP projections

Aug 23 (Island) The Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) report 2015 said the private sector would make growth more inclusive. Without a vibrant and strong private sector tackling poverty and rising levels of inequality, creating jobs would not be possible. The private sector is the driving force behind economic growth, exports, employment, and the generation of tax revenue, among other such aspects, it noted. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said at Friday’s more..

Cautious engagement not euphoria the safe bet

Aug 23 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), his posse of crooks and gangsters and the cohorts of racist rabble rousers incited by Wimal, Gammanpila, Dinesh and heaven knows why Vasu, have been seen off. MR energised the UPFA campaign but his presence steeled an opposition that ensured its downfall. Every Muslim in Lanka voted him down; the Negombo, Colombo North and West and Nuwara Eliya results illustrate total consolidation of anti-MR sentiment in the Catholic and more..

UK says its interest is for a stable Sri Lanka

Aug 23 (CG) British Govt says its interest is for Sri Lanka to be stable, united and prosperous. Laura Davies, the Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in a blog posting said that last week’s general election was very tight. “It was also remarkably peaceful. From the President and Elections Commissioner down, all involved have commented positively on the conduct of the election, many describing it as SL’s best in decades. more..

Nestlé Lanka delivers another strong quarter

Aug 23 (Island) Nestlé Lanka delivered revenue of LKR 9 billion with year-on-year growth of 11.2% in the second quarter of the year. Company announced a net profit of LKR 1.3 billion for the quarter. For the first half of the year 2015, Company announced revenue of LKR 18.3 billion with a year-on-year growth of 9.2% and net profit of LKR 2.5 billion. "Our strong results are a reflection of the passion and capabilities of our people, coupled with trust our brands enjoy amongst consumers. more..

'Imagine what we can do in 60 months'

Aug 23 (Island) My title is a quote from PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was repeated in advertisements as: "We made a change in 100 days. Imagine what we can do in 60 months." Our imagination moves forward not extravagantly nor building airy castles but realistically, believing that the change for the better wrought by Maithripala Sirisena winning the presidency on Jan 8 is consolidated and will be continued by the UNF for GG winning more seats in the new Parliament under the leadership of more..

'Jail for corrupt ministers'

Aug 23 (EN) SL’s newly elected govt will complete major reforms to make the economy more competitive within the first six months in office and put behind bars any Cabinet minister who becomes corrupt. Former Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said the island’s competitiveness had fallen in recent years but the new govt aims to make it the most competitive economy in the region. "Amending legislation will happen at the speed of more..

Safety of Lankans visiting Thailand assured despite blast: Envoy

Aug 23 (ST) Thailand’s Ambassador Nopporn Adchariyavanich has assured the safety of Sri Lankans wishing to travel to the country, following this week’s blast. Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Envoy stated that Thai Police had secured the area and are taking every measure to apprehend the perpetrators. He added that the Thailand’s Prime Minister had offered his condolences to the related families and will provide every care to them in these troubled times. more..