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SLFP likely to break-up with UPFA

Aug 24 (DM) SLFP headed by President Maitripala Sirisena and its newly appointed officials are contemplating the termination of its political affiliation with the UPFA, informed sources said. The SLFP is the main constituent of the UPFA which was formed in 2004. Its other constituent parties are the MEP, SLMP, DJP, EPDP and the NUA. The CP, LSSP and NFF had aligned with UPFA though not being members of alliance more..

SL to auction Rs40bn in 5 to 10 year bonds

Aug 24 (EN) Sri Lanka has called offers to sell 40 billion rupees of 5, 6, 8 and 10 year bonds ahead of a bond maturity with yields moving up slightly over the past week. The debt office is offering 4 billion rupees of 5-year bonds maturing on 01.05.2020, which is not liquid in the secondary market. Bonds maturing on 01.07.2019 were quoted around 8.18/28 percent Friday, up from 8.20 levels on August 18. Ten billion rupees of 8-year bonds maturing on 01.09.2023 is also offered. more..

SB strong contender for Opposition Leader

Aug 24 (CT) National List nominee of the UPFA S.B. Dissanayake is likely to be appointed as the Opposition Leader, political sources revealed. There were suggestions to appoint a supporter of the President Maithripala Sirisena faction as the Opposition Leader, if a fraction of the UPFA is also going to be in the Opposition and thus Dissanayake's name was suggested for this. Meanwhile, another suggestion was made to appoint Susil Premajayantha as Opposition Leader if more..

UPFA constituents to move SC against mega NL robbery

Aug 24 (Island) UPFA constituents yesterday said they would move the Supreme Court against their coalition’s National List appointments. Deputy Chairman of MEP Somaweera Chandrasiri said that according to the agreement between the SLFP and the other constituents of the UPFA, 50% of National List slots should go to SLFP and 50% to others. He said that UPFA General Secretary more..

Hisbullah accuses SLMC of instigating people with eye on local govt. polls

Aug 24 (Island) Former Deputy Minister MLAM Hisbullah said that he had been nominated a UPFA National List MP according to an agreement he had signed with UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha. Addressing the media, Hisbullah said that the UFPA had agreed to allocate a seat from its National List for the person who would obtain the highest number of preferential votes from the Batticaloa and Jaffna Districts even if the candidate failed to get returned. more..

Nepal Premier looks forward to work closely with Wickremesinghe

Aug 24 (GDI) Nepal's PM Sushil Koirala has congratulated the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka's Ranil Wickremesinghe and expressed his desire to work closely with his Sri Lankan counterpart to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. "I on behalf of the government and people of Nepal as well as on my own extend my warmest congratulations to Your Excellency and the friendly people of Sri Lanka," Koirala said today in a congratulatory message. more..

Ranil hopeful of political solution to Tamil question

Aug 24 (Hindu) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is confident and hopeful that the political situation in Sri Lanka following the general election, although complex, is favourable for forging an enduring political solution to the Tamil question. Noting that the two main national parties, his UNP and SLFP, and TNA were the three key players in formulating the proposals for an enduring solution, he said he had “tried to keep more..

'Several Chinese projects still under review'

Aug 24 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says Chinese projects launched by the previous regime are being reviewed but some projects have already been cleared. The PM was responding to a question raised by a foreign journalist while having a chat after the Prime Minister met the media briefly last week after winning the Parliamentary election. “We are reviewing it and we have already started some of them. We will decide on the other projects as well. The process is on,” he said. more..

President and PM at Sanga’s last match

Aug 24 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe are likely to be present at P Sara Oval Stadium in Colombo today to pay tribute to retiring cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara. "After eight relaxed days of entering the Sri Lankan stadiums, suddenly we went through a massive security drill - like Indian-style frisking and checking," Sharda Ugra, reported. Kumar Sangakkara, who got out for 18 in his final Test innings, retires as the fifth-highest run-getter in Test Cricket format. more..

SL to ink trade promotion MoUs with Hong Kong, Thailand and Korea today

Aug 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka will sign three MoUs with Hong Kong, Thailand and Korea on Monday to boost regional trade, the Export Processing Board said. The board said Sri Lanka-Hong Kong’s HKTDC, Sri Lanka-Korea’s KOTRA and Sri Lanka-Thailand’s DITP are the three MoUs scheduled to be sign today. The signing ceremony is part of the 28th CEO meeting of the Asian Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) which will be held more..

New PM brings good tidings: Malwatte Mahanayake Thera

Aug 24 (DN) The election of Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM of the country heralds a much better future for the country and the people, Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Mahanayake Thera of Malwatte Chapter said. The govt led by the UNP in collaboration with President Maithripala Sirisena during the past six months, could now be led on a very strong footing and the country taken on the right path, Mahanayake Thera said. Prelate made these observations after invoking blessings more..

President gives SLFP members freedom to choose

Aug 24 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to allow SLFP members to choose if they want to join the National Govt or sit in the opposition. SLFP member Namal Rajapaksa said that the SLFP Central Committee had informed the party members that they can choose between sitting in the opposition or being part of the National Govt with the UNP. “I choose to sit in the opposition as a part of the SLFP representing Hambantota,” he tweeted. SLFP & UNP had last week signed a MoU more..

UNP to share portfolios with partners before SLFP joins in Sept 1

Aug 24 (Island) Discussions are on at two different levels to decide on Cabinet portfolios as well as posts of deputy ministers in the UNP-led ruling coalition in the next parliament. Political sources said that at one level the UNP leadership had been having talks with its partners, namely SLMC, ACMC, United Good Governance National Front (formerly JHU), NUW and rebel SLFP group accommodated on UNP lists at Aug 17 polls. more..

Protect, promote and celebrate diversity

Aug 24 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena and newly elected PM Ranil Wickremesinghe are working closely together with a similar vision and goals to form a national govt comprising the UNP-led alliance and the SLFP. Reports say the cabinet is to be sworn in tomorrow, with 33 ministers from the UNP led alliance and 18 from the SLFP. The number of deputy ministers or ministers of state is likely to be 40 -- made up of 20 from the UNP, 18 from the SLFP and two from smaller parties. more..

New opportunities for Sri Lanka

Aug 24 (DM) I have just returned to Sri Lanka after some weeks of travel in Europe. Wherever I went there was a great deal of interest in the democratic procedures that were being followed in Sri Lanka in relation to the Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. Much appreciation was expressed of the orderly and peaceful manner in which these elections were conducted and of the way in which Sri Lanka was able by democratic procedures to install in power a govt based on more..

Govt to get Geneva report 48 hrs in advance

Aug 24 (SL) With the parliamentary election now done, the spotlight will be on Geneva where the highly controversial report on Sri Lanka will be made public. Sources close to the Govt and the OHCHR said that the report will come down hard, both on the LTTE and the former Mahinda Rajapaksa administration. “Govt of SL will get the report 48 hours before it is made public. It is not expected to be leaked before the launch,” more..

Sir Desmond’s mandate was not extended

Aug 24 (CG) The Govt has not extended the mandate given to the Advisory Council headed by Sir Desmond de Silva which was appointed to give legal advice to the Presidential commission of inquiry on missing persons head by former judge Maxwell Paranagama. Sir Desmond de Silva said that the appointment of the Advisory Council of international lawyers was only until the 15th August and the term has not been extended. more..

'Give greater autonomy to SL’s Provinces'

Aug 24 (Hindu) The new govt in Sri Lanka should take up, as its immediate priority, the full implementation of the 13 Constitutional Amendment and recommendations of the LLRC, Vickramabahu Karunarathne, general secretary of the Nava Sama Samaj Party, has said. Apart from these measures, he favoured the setting up of a credible domestic investigation mechanism to probe alleged war crimes by adhering to more..

'Enact election laws urgently to make campaign funding accountable'

Aug 24 (ST) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says election laws need to be amended urgently, so as to make election funding a more transparent process. “In future, political parties and candidates must be made to declare how much money they spend on election related activities, while there should be an audit of such funds as well,” said Commissioner Deshapriya. He said the law should also make it mandatory more..

Decision on new Opposition Leader after horse trading to form new govt ends

Aug 24 (Island) The UPFA has not yet decided who should be appointed the Leader of the Opposition. Sources predicted that the final decision would most likely be made on Sept 1 when the first session of the new parliament begins. A UPFA member said no finaly decision had been made as regards the number of MPs joining the govt to form a national govt. TNA which has secured 16 seats has already demanded the position of more..

Sampanthan wants solution through talks

Aug 24 (CT) TNA leader, R. Sampanthan pledged to work with President Maithripala Sirisena to solve the national question within a united Sri Lanka and as equal citizens of the country. TNA Leader as well as the President made these statements on Saturday as the President handed over licences of resettlement to the residents of Sampur. Around 825 families in total were displaced in 2006 from Sampur and more..

India beat Sri Lanka to level Test series 1-1

Aug 24 (CI) It had been more than a year since India last won a Test match, at Lord's in 2014, but the final lap of their long wait zipped past quicker than anyone would have expected. Seven balls after lunch on the fifth day, Dushmantha Chameera padded up to an Amit Mishra googly. Mishra spun around in appeal; Rod Tucker's finger went up immediately. With that, the series was level. SL had lost their last 8 wickets for 62 runs. more..

Kumar Sangakkara offered post of Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to UK

Aug 24 (NDTV) Kumar Sangakkara officially ended his career as an international cricketer to rapturous applause from fans, family and well-wishers on Monday. The cheer was led by President Maithripala Sirisena, who offered the iconic cricketer the post of Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to United Kingdom. In a special ceremony to bid Sangakkara farewell after India won second Test to level the 3-Test series 1-1, more..

'Present SLFP leadership out to incapacitate UPFA'

Aug 24 (Island) Colombo District MP elect Udaya Gammanpila said that the present SLFP leaders wanted to incapacitate the UPFA as they could not dissolve the alliance immediately. Rumours that the UPFA would be dissolved shortly were not true, Gammanpila said. At the moment, the UPFA could not be dissolved as it had 95 MPs and around 350 provincial council members, Gammanpila said, adding that they could not dissolve more..

Three Cabinet Ministers take oath

Aug 24 (AD) Three Cabinet Ministers took oath before the President a short while ago. Mangala Samaraweera took oath as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe as Minister of Justice and D. M. Swaminathan as Minister of Rehabilitation. The swearing-in ceremony of the other Ministers will likely be held tomorrow, a source said. Oath ceremony will be held before President more..

TNA: Victim or Victor?

Aug 24 (CT) Can a party which commands the second largest number of MPs in Parliament, by entering into an agreement with the party which commands the largest number of MPs, form a National Govt, while at the same time be considered as the country's main Opposition party? This is the seeming dilemma with reference to Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament for which general elections were held last Monday. The UNP headed UNFGG won the largest number of seats in 225-member Parliament, more..

Scandalous abuse of National List provision

Aug 24 (CT) The constitutional provision for appointing members to the parliament through the national list is based on a very sound democratic and ethical principle. It is a measure to rectify an unfortunate shortcoming arising from the way parliamentary democracy functions. Party-based parliamentary elections do not always produce the most desirable results. The candidates who contest the elections and win, either under a party ticket or as independents, may be popular with more..

Sangakkara's farewell speech

Aug 24 (CI) Your excellency, the President of Sri Lanka, the honourable PM, MPs, all the well wishers and the invitees, fans, all my friends, my family - who are all here, which is a rare occasion that all of us are together - Virat Kohli and the Indian team, Angelo and my team, I have got so many people to thank here. I will start off with my school - Trinity College, Kandy. Trinity College gave me a fantastic ground there in Kandy. more..

Sri Lanka shares hit near 3-wk low, rupee trades weaker

Aug 24 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell about 2% to a near three-week low in early trade on Monday, following global markets lower and selling by foreign investors looking to exit risky assets, brokers said. The main stock index was down 1.69%, or 126.21 points, at 7,344.96 at 0607 GMT, on track for its worst single-day percentage loss since Feb. 2 and off its highest close since Jan. 16 hit last Wednesday. Turnover stood at 2.38 billion rupees ($17.75 million). more..

Don’t participate organized protest on my behalf: Rosy

Aug 24 (CT) Defeated UNP candidate Rosy Senanayake has urged her supporters not to participate in tomorrow’s scheduled protest organized by certain womens’ organizations. Issuing a statement today, Rosy Senanayake stated the the UNP is a disciplined political party and that there is a policy not to appoint defeated candidates through the national list. Senanayake said that there is a legal way forward to ensure that a recount could be obtained and confirmed that more..

Umpires ask papare band to stop playing

Aug 24 (CI) Umpires asked a papare (brass) band at the P Sara Oval to stop playing during overs, for the second Colombo Test match in a row. The band set up in the Sanga Fan Zone were also asked to lower their volume, but continued to play during the match. On Sunday, the fourth umpire was seen directing a papare band in the stand near the tennis court to first lower their volume, then stop playing altogether. more..

Ashwin - 12, Gupte - 11

Aug 24 (CI) 12 Number of five-wicket hauls by R Ashwin in just 27 Tests. Only five other bowlers had more five-fors in their first 27 Tests - Sydney Barnes (24), Waqar Younis (16), Ian Botham (14), Clarrie Grimmett (14) and Hugh Tayfield (13). Fazal Mahmood too took 12 five-fors in his first 27 Tests. For India, Subhash Gupte's 11 hauls were the highest before Ashwin's 12. 17: Wickets by Ashwin in the series - with one more Test to go this is already the most taken by an India more..

'More Police stations in the North'

Aug 24 (CT) The Govt intends to have more Police Stations posted in the islands in the Northern Province, Governor Northern Province H.M.G.S. Palihakkara told Ceylon Today. When Ceylon Today visited his office in Jaffna, the Governor said there are several projects that have been undertaken to address water and sanitation issues in the North. He said that already land has been allocated for two new Police stations in the Delft Island and in Karainagar. more..

Wrong Scholarship paper: Inquiry initiated

Aug 24 (DM) An inquiry would be carried out into an incident at the Presbyterian Girls’ National School, Dehiwela, in which an invigilator of the Examination Department had distributed the 2nd paper of the Grade Five Scholarship Examination instead of the 1st paper, the Examinations Department said today. Examinations Commissioner W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said the carelessness of the invigilator had caused the incident. more..

Two drug dealers caught with 401 packets of heroin

Aug 24 (Island) The Nuwara Eliya police nabbed two persons along with 401 packets of heroin in their possession on Saturday. The arrest was made following a tip-off received by the Nuwara Eliya police. The suspects were nabbed inside the Nuwara Eliya Central market. They allegedly confessed to the police that they had bought the banned substance from a wholesale dealer in Kandy and they were planning to sell the packets of heroin to schoolchildren. more..

National Accounts give 7.4% economic growth last year

Aug 24 (Island) Agriculture, industry and services sectors of the local economy contributed increased percentages for Sri Lanka to register a 7.4% growth rate last year, according to the Dept of Census and Statistics. GDP for the year 2014 at constant (2002) prices was estimated at 3506.7 billion rupees against 3,266.0 billion rupees in the previous year of which the growth rate was 7.2%, according to National Accounts of Sri Lanka 2014 report released by the Department recently. more..

Sri Lanka govt should retain friendship with China: State media

Aug 24 (PTI) China's state media today said Sri Lanka should retain friendship with cash-rich China as India is "not capable of providing large investment and loans", in the first commentary following the defeat of pro-Beijing Mahinda Rajapaksa in the recent parliamentary elections. As the new Sri Lankan govt seeks to reverse the pro-China policy pursued by Rajapaksa, an article by a state- run thinktank said the former president more..

Sri Lanka's new foreign policy presents opportunities for India

Aug 24 (TD) One of the election platforms of the recently sworn-in PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been to revise Sri Lankan foreign policy, which has been excessively oriented toward China in recent years, instead favoring a more balanced posture. Under the previous regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa, both India and the West were increasingly alienated while the Chinese had free play in the country, crystallized in terms of investment in infrastructure or financing offers. more..

Chief Minister post-Western Province: Somawansa to replace Prasanna

Aug 24 (CT) Western Provincial Councillor Ranjith Somawansa who represents Kalutara District is to be appointed as the Chief Minister of Western Province. Reliable source said that Somawansa who is the Minister of Indigenous Medicine of the Western Province would replace Prasanna Ranatunga who has been elected to Parliament. Accordingly, Gamini Tilakasiri, Sunil Wijeratne, Sunil Jayamini and Hector Bethmage were eyeing the post of Chief Minister vacated due to more..

Video: Gotabaya quizzed by PCoI for five hours

Aug 24 (DM) Former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was today questioned by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) over allegations of misusing state funds and using personnel of the state-owned security firm, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (RALL) for the presidential election campaign. The former top state official, arrived at the PCoI housed at the BMICH around 10.30 a.m. more..