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Maithripala Sirisena on a slippery slope

Nov 28 (CT) I was in Sri Lanka and just returned after having my eyes and ears closer to the sights and sound of ground politics over there. Ever since Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in the revolution of January 8th, the political scenario had been volatile. Bitten by the desperate existential need to save themselves from jail, the Rajapaksa family and cabal went on a campaign of destabilising the new yahapalanaya government. With court investigations into serious allegations being held up more..

Petrol in the buzz, again

Nov 28 (SO) Two weeks after the crippling petrol shortage witnessed by Sri Lankans, the speculation of a petrol shortage raised its nefarious head once again, in Kandy. However, this time it failed to wreak havoc nationwide, due to the quick response by the authorities who claimed the speculations to be false. Now, questions remain as to the origin of these speculations, both, the SMS informing of an impending petrol strike more..

And now a snake in the house

Nov 28 (ST) Most of us have heard of that English idiom snake in the grass. You don’t have to go back to 37 BC and be a reader of the Roman poet Virgil to be acquainted with this metaphor. Surely there are more snakes in the grass today than Virgil could have imagined. It is not because there is more grass or more people. It is simply that treachery is more widely practised today than in the days when Julius Caesar’s friends turned round on him one fine afternoon and stabbed Caesar in the back more..

Editorial: Polls and arrests

Nov 28 (Island) An electoral contest is the last thing the present govt wants. If the National Election Commission (NEC) makes good on its promise to hold elections at least to some of the local councils which have been in the bardo for more than two years, the govt will go to any extent to weaken the Joint Opposition (JO); it may even resort to mass arrests in a bid to cover up its failure to substantiate damning allegations they have been levelling against their opponents. more..

'We will not have a place in politics'

Nov 28 (CT) President of CWC and Nuwara Eliya MP Muthu Sivalingam said minority parties and small political parties will be affected by the new electoral reforms. Votes cannot be shared among the candidates. If they bring this system to the Local Govt, Provincial Councils and Parliament, minority parties will be badly affected. "New electoral reforms will corner the minority political parties and we will not have a place in politics," more..

Corruption compounded

Nov 28 (CT) Some years back, when I thought Ranil was honest, I said he would have been an admirable politician had he entered politics under Dudley Senanayake rather than J.R. Jayewardene. Though I had welcomed Jayewardene's opening up of the economy, I was increasingly worried about the authoritarianism he sought to entrench, using violence for the purpose. The treatment of the July 1980 strikers, the violence in Jaffna and then countrywide in connection with District more..

The STEM phenomenon

Nov 28 (DN) The diminishing interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects seems to have become a major concern in the education system in Sri Lanka. At present, SL graduate enrolments, especially in science faculties, have declined. We are offering the same subjects throughout the years when the world is ahead of us. Same thing happened in the United States about 20 years ago, but it has now turned around. The reason for the increase of interest in the STEM more..

Face the Nation

Difficulties, constraints, opposition and obstacles to implementing Budget

Nov 28 (ST) Despite the overwhelming two thirds majority that the budget received in parliament, its implementation is not likely to be smooth. Achieving the budget’s fiscal outcomes, as well as its developmental objectives, will face many difficulties, obstacles, opposition and obstructions. These difficulties and obstacles must be overcome to achieve a healthier fiscal outcome and to implement the comprehensive and multifaceted development program outlined in the 2018 Budget. more..

Too much at stake for govt to split

Nov 28 (Island) In the run-up to LG elections, JO has called for the withdrawal of Sri Lanka from the commitments it made to the UNHRC in 2015 in Geneva. On that occasion it co-signed a resolution on post-war reconciliation to which it had contributed and which was approved unanimously by the Council. This opposition demand has also come at a time when Sri Lanka has demonstrated its positive relationship with the international community on two occasions this month before the UN. more..

2 failed leaders: Pickpocketing public purse

Nov 28 (Island) The title captures the essence of 3 wasted years since 8th Jan 2015. The kick off point of the Maithripala Sirisena Presidency and administration of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. On his assumption, new Prez publicly declared that his was a one-term presidency. Reform was its singular purpose. Having said that, he made his brother the boss of Telecom and assured us that he would end nepotism. He promised to end cronyism. more..

Mississauga Board of Trade honours Esa Para Esananda

Nov 28 (LR) At the recently held Mississauga Board of Trade – 2017 Awards of Excellence – Sri Lankan born Esa Para was honoured with Sam McCallion Community Award for his dedication and tireless efforts in giving back to the community. This annual award, named after the late husband of Mississauga’s Mayor Hazel McCallion, award recognizes an outstanding volunteer in Mississauga who personifies the late Sam McCallion’s philosophy of community service, humility, compassion, more..

Set aside differences and improve motor sports: Dayasiri Jayasekera

Nov 28 (DN) “Please set aside any differences and unite to develop motor racing in Sri Lanka. Life is too short to fight each other. So, get together with all the lovers of motor racing and improve the sport,” requested Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera addressing members of affiliated clubs of Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS) at the launch of the National Motor Racing Championship 2018 and National Championship Award Ceremony for 2016 held at the Grand Monarch Hotel last Tuesday. more..

Mystery Man fixing tenders at Sports Ministry

Nov 28 (CT) A mysterious man who always hangs around the Sports Ministry Engineering Dept is said to be getting inside information and actively involved in fixing tenders in violation of the existing procedure in recent times. Mystery man is neither an official nor in any way attached to Sports Ministry in any capacity, but most of the time can be seen hanging around the Ministry at Race Course in the waiting area, canteen or inside more..

Contrasting year for Sri Lanka and India

Nov 28 (CI) Sri Lanka have made sure that their 100th Test defeat will be remembered for a long time to come, and for all the wrong reasons. Their loss by an innings and 239 runs is their heaviest in Test history (in terms of innings defeats). Ironically, they won the toss in each of their five heaviest losses. Two of their top six losses, and three of their top ten, have come in 2017, which is again an illustration of the sort of year they have had. Right through the Nagpur Test, more..

CEA to raid polythene factories

Nov 28 (FT) Central Environmental Authority (CEA) plans to conduct a series of raids from 1 Dec to check whether polythene manufacturers are following the guidelines announced in the Gazette for manufacturing shopping bags, rigifoam boxes and lunch sheets. There were 500 polythene manufacturers, including those who produce polythene, lunch sheets and shopping bags, and these polythene manufacturing plants would be under surveillance from next month. more..

'Very sad to suffer heaviest defeat ever'

Nov 28 (Island) Test captain Dinesh Chandimal said that he was extremely saddened to have led the side that suffered Sri Lanka’s heaviest Test defeat in the history. Sri Lanka were thrashed by an innings and 239 runs well inside four days in the second Test match here in Nagpur. "Very sad. As captain, I came to India with big hopes. I was hopeful we will be competitive given the team we have. Very disappointing with more..

Pathfinder Foundation and Heritage Foundation discuss US-SL relations 

Nov 28 (FT) The second round of Pathfinder Foundation tele-conference with the Washington DC based Heritage Foundation for the current year was held recently. The focus of the tele-conference was aimed at discussing the current political situation in Sri Lanka, recent trends concerning human rights, on-going discourse relating to constitutional reforms and the potential for widening economic relations between the two countries, particularly in the context of views exchanged during the recent visit by more..

Best Corporate Citizen Award 2017: Who will win tonight?

Nov 28 (Island) The awards ceremony of the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2017, (BCCS 2017) will take place at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo this evening amidst a gathering of 350 high profile corporate executives. The event will be attended by the Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Kenichi Suganuma as chief guest, while David Bent, a global expert on Corporate Sustainability will deliver the Keynote address at the event. Held for the 14th Consecutive year, more..

September hits triple export crown

Nov 28 (FT) September exports grew 12.6%, surpassing the $ 1 billion mark for the third consecutive month, but the month also saw the trade deficit increase on higher fuel and rice imports as well as a dip in tourism and remittance earnings. Despite the mixed performance, releasing the external sector report, Central Bank pointed out reflecting continuous investor confidence, the financial account of Balance of Payments more..

Minister to meet clubs to sort-out issues

Nov 28 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera is scheduled to have a meeting with Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) and officials of 'A' Division Clubs to discuss the future progress of national rugby. There were a few obstacles between SLR and Clubs despite the newly introduced national contracts for Sevens players. A few clubs were reluctant to release players during the Inter-Club League Tournament. SLR picked 20 men and 16 female players who will be given a one-year contract till the next more..

World Bank report urges mitigation of risks, hunt for opportunities

Nov 28 (DN) “Sri Lanka is on the verge of becoming an upper-income country. To ensure sustainable development, a viable growth model that maintains macro-fiscal stability and increases resilience to natural disasters should be formed,” said Senior World Bank Country Economist for SL, Ralph Van Doorn, at SL development update seminar organized by the World Bank in collaboration with Uni of Colombo’s Dept of Economics, with emphasis on “Managing risks & creating opportunities more..

When an arm-twisted LTTE leaned on a sympathetic MGR

Nov 28 (Hindu) The refusal of the LTTE to accept the Indo-SL accord of 1987 led to a war between India and the Tigers, but the militant group claimed that the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran unequivocally supported its stand on the issue. Details of a tense conversation between LTTE leader V. Prabakaran and Indian diplomat J.N. Dixit give an idea about how the LTTE viewed the accord and the enmity it induced between more..

LTL clinches 1,000 MW power project in Bangladesh

Nov 28 (DN) Renowned SL power sector leader LTL Global is planning to commission a 1,000 MW plant in Bangladesh by 2020. LTL will be completing commissioning a total of 536 MW thermal power plants by 2018 in Bangladesh alone since its entry there in 2012. With Bangladesh, striving towards achieving its 2020 goals by increasing the installed power capacity according to its national policy, SL power industry giant had excelled its role with world class technologies. more..

NNA Director, Ambassador of Sri Lanka broach means of media cooperation

Nov 28 (NNA) National News Agency Director, Laure Sleiman Saab, welcomed on Monday SL Ambassador to Lebanon, Wijeratne Mendis, with whom she discussed the best means to bolster cooperation between the two countries, especially within the media and cultural fields. On emerging, Mendis said that talks mainly focused on the celebrations that would be held by SL marking its 70th anniversary, in addition to celebrating twenty years since the establishment of diplomatic more..

Defying govt ban, Tamil leaders celebrate Prabhakaran's Birthday in his home town

Nov 28 (PTI) Defying govt ban,  leaders of a pro-Tamil party celebrated 63rd birth anniversary of the slain LTTE chief V Prabakaran in his home town Velvettiturai. Member of NPC, M K Shivajilingam of TNA led the commemoration event, where LTTE leader's house was originally located prior to the end of the civil war in 2009. Participants cut a cake at a function which was attended by some TNA leaders & public, more..

Over 550 Army deserters arrested following raids

Nov 28 (AD) 556 Army personnel who are Absent Without Leave (AWOL) have been apprehended by the law enforcement authorities. 555 army officers, 23 female officers and one Cadet Officer are among the arrested. Army Headquarters on Nov 23 announced that with the end of the General Amnesty, law enforcement authorities will begin island-wide operations to apprehend absconding deserters. General Amnesty extended to Army absentees ended on Nov 22 midnight. more..

Sri Lanka notes China is a dependable friend

Nov 28 (SAMN) Govt of Sri Lanka has noted that China is a dependable friend and has been there during good times and bad. State Minister Vasantha Senanayake noted that Sri Lanka’s relations with China grew stronger during former PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s tenure and when former President Rajapaksa was in office. He said China helped defeat terrorism in Sri Lanka both economically and in the form of military assistance and by crucial support at international fora. more..

SLFP dissidents in JO going it alone as SLPP

Nov 28 (Island) Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) made deposits at Kalutara, Galle and Gampaha kachcheris, signalling that it was going it alone at the forthcoming LG polls in spite of the SLFP’s efforts to forge an alliance with its dissidents to contest the mini polls together. SLPP made its move close on the heels of President Sirisena assuring a group of civil society representatives on Sunday that he wouldn’t more..

What made Prabakaran change his mind

Nov 28 (Hindu) J.N. Dixit in his book, Assignment Colombo, had recalled the lengthy exchange he had with Prabakaran on all the details of the agreement in the presence of MGR and Panruti Ramachandran. “But Prabakaran remained indecisive and demanded that he be sent back to Jaffna. “MGR told him to be patient and stay back in Delhi for further discussions,” he had said. “Prabakaran also said he could not endorse any agreement which kept the merger of the N & E provinces temporary. more..

SL opens honorary consulate in Kurdistan

Nov 28 (BN) Sri Lanka opened on Monday its honorary consulate in Kurdistan Region’s capital, Erbil. The establishment of the consulate office was announced in a meeting between Falah Mustafa, Kurdistan Region’s Foreign Minister, and Niranjan Ranasinghe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Iraq. Ahmed Jalaladdin was assigned as the first SL envoy to the Kurdistan Region. Ranasinghe hoped that the opening of his country’s diplomatic mission would be the beginning of strong relations more..

LG delimitation petition: Party Leaders’ Committee to meet petitioners

Nov 28 (DN) Party Leaders yesterday decided to appoint a three member committee to negotiate with six petitioners who filed petitions in Court of Appeal seeking an order to make Delimitation Gazzette inoperative. The committee comprises of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. These six petitioners obtained an Interim Injunction preventing the holding of LG elections. more..

Wasantha Senayake to give evidence in Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera trial

Nov 28 (FT) The Colombo High Court yesterday re-fixed for 11 Nov the case against Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera over his alleged possession of a baby elephant without a valid license. When the case came up before High Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne, the first witness, State Minister Wasantha Senanayake, was not present in court to give evidence as he had to attend an official function. Consequently, the hearing was postponed to 30 November. more..

Ex-EP CM urges govt to hold PC polls under existing PR system

Nov 28 (Island) Former Chief of Eastern Province Naseer Ahamed has requested President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe to seriously consider conducting the Provincial and LG polls under the existing Proportional Representation system and give the voters the earliest opportunity to exercise their right to vote. Ahamed has written to both President and PM that the govt can’t simply disregard the allegation that it has failed to safeguard the people’s right to franchise. more..

Delay in LG polls: Faiszer denies involvement

Nov 28 (CT) Minister Faiszer Musthapha, denied allegations that he is responsible for the delay of the LG elections and said that the Gazette Notification regarding delimitation had no errors. "I do not have any involvement in the petition at the Court of Appeal against the Gazette Notification. The Gazette is flawless and I did my best to do justice for all political parties with the delimitation process," Musthapha asserted more..

81st Birth Anniv. of Lalith Athulathmudali

Nov 28 (DM) The debate on the motion which began at 5.35 pm in the House of Representatives on Feb 24, 1959 under PM SWRD Bandaranaike’s govt, ran for 42 minutes.  Dr. W. Dahanayake,  SWRD, and Federal Party members made lengthy submissions in favour of granting Financial assistance to a third-year student at Oxford, Lalith Athulathmudali at the latter’s request. LSSP leader Dr. N. M. Perera and a few others spoke against it.  Then it was put to vote - Deputy Speaker, Having collected the voices, more..

When the State Fails...

Nov 28 (DM) In a democracy, people vote out govts that become unpopular but the one that comes in may not be any better. The result is the continuation of the same conditions of poor governance, making the life of many as miserable as ever.  Managing even a household is not easy. It involves planning, sound collective decision making with respect to whole range of issues such as managing available resources, mobilizing additional resources when necessary, making sound expenditure and more..

‘We will take the hard road’

Nov 28 (DM) State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne, spoke about the future economic vision of the Govt.  Q: The Govt presented a Budget thinking long-term. Some proposals are to be implemented over a period running up to 2025. How challenging is it for the Govt to sustain the implementation for such a long period?  A: I think this is the first time that a Budget has focused on the economic and social future of the country. more..

Why should public care about the bondgate?

Nov 28 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has referred to the Parliamentary Privileges Committee, a complaint about an alleged breach of privileges due to the disclosure of telephone conversations among  some govt members of the COPE and the Perpetual Treasuries PLC owner Arjun Aloysius. Why not also investigate the ethical aspect of those clandestine phone conversations that took place while Mr. Aloysius’s company more..

Veggie prices set to stay high until January

Nov 28 (ST) Vegetable prices are set to remain high until at least mid-January due to low production. Farmers say inferior quality seed have contributed to low yields while erratic weather patterns too have affected the output of vegetable farmers. Farmer B G Victor Yasarathna, 50, from Devahuwa, Anuradhapura said he gave up vegetable farming in September and is ready to grow rice in the coming months. more..