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Hip deep in shit: A brisk & brusque verdict

Feb 12 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena has earned the verdict given in LG polls. He appointed candidates defeated at the parliamentary elections through the national list and made them cabinet ministers. In electoral democracy, failure is decisive. Overturning the people’s verdict has a price. The verdict rendered at the local govt polls is brisk and brusque. Brisk means quick and sudden. Brusque means blunt and rude. The people have quickly and suddenly decided to halt Maithri-Ranil circus. more..

The Bar, the AG and premature warnings

Feb 12 (ST) If the fury and the force of the past months is what Sri Lankan citizens had to face in an ordinarily pedestrian LG election, the imagination fails quite splendidly as to what the future portends with provincial and national elections scheduled to be held in the relatively near future. Amidst that wretched election rhetoric, one fact is clear. Irrespective of who wins or who loses on the 10th of February from among the competing actors jostling on the political stage, more..

Citizens caught in a debt trap of govt borrowings

Feb 12 (CT) Everyone is indebted to someone. Living in a customs driven culturally motivated society, we are citizens of debt to our predecessor generations. We owe our parents, grandparents and all those who came before for bringing us to life and granting us the gift (?) of the present. We are grateful to our schools, universities and the education system which taught (?) us that social values are important. more..

Yahapalana failure led to SLPP’s sweeping victory

Feb 12 (CT) Failure on the part of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to fulfil their election pledges and the shameful revelations of corruption under the present govt could be two of the most important factors that contributed to the sweeping victory of former president Rajapaksa’s proxy, SLPP. Humiliating second place was for PM’s UNP while President’s SLFP was even worse. Fed up and disgusted with the lawlessness of Rajapaksa govt, more..

Scholar monk’s erudite voice of Satyam Shivam Sundaram stilled

Feb 12 (ST) All life dances on a razor blade. And for Venerable Bellanwilla Wimalaratana Thera, death came from the most unexpected quarter last Friday: from his own Bellanwilla temple’s temperamental teenage tusker’s trunk. Seven years ago with the death of the then temple’s tusker which had majestically borne for long the sacred relics at the annual Bellanwilla perehera, Wimalaratana Thera embarked upon a search to find a suitable tusker to replace the fallen. more..

Election wrap up: Unprecedented voter turnout marks new system

Feb 12 (CT) First election under new mixed electoral system was concluded last evening with an unprecedented overall voter turnout of 65% at any LG Election. Some 15,760,852 registered voters were eligible to mark their choice from among the 57,252 candidates from 43 political parties and 222 independent groups for 340 LG bodies comprising 24 MCs, 41 UCs and 275 PSs making a total of 340 LG bodies made up of more..

Slitting our future

Feb 12 (Island) Lost in the melee of throat-slitting last week was statements by the President and high-profile members of the UNP. At an election rally in Jaffna, President is reported to have personally assured that no one who had been disappeared was kept in any secret location, camp or in the jungle. He had not mentioned a word about justice or holding those accountable for disappearances accountable. Separately, in an interview, President averred that former Foreign Minister Mangala more..

Corrupt politicians and public life

Feb 12 (SO) At the time of writing this column, the local govt elections are yet to be held, but when these words are read the outcome of the election will be known. Much has been said and many promises made in the lead up to the polls and the results will indicate which political party has been most convincing. To an extent, the election campaign was clouded by one major issue: the findings of the PCoI into the sale of CB Treasury Bonds. Another, equally or even more important issue emerged in more..

සිංහල සිනමාවේ එදා සහ අද

Editorial: The Bud Blooms

Feb 12 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa has made a comeback with a bang with the SLPP, better known as pohottu or bud party, scoring a landslide victory at Saturday’s polls. President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe may not have known what had hit them! Why their joint administration feared LG polls so much and kept on postponing them for nearly three years on some pretext or the other is now clear. All politicians ought to realise that holding elections is like repaying bank loans; more..

After the landslide: The bigger picture

Feb 12 (Island) It was the well-established, UNP and West-friendly website ECONOMYNEXT that broke the story using the ‘L’ Word—Landslide: "Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proxy was set for an unexpected landslide victory in Saturday’s local council elections…Unofficial results showed that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) was leading in almost all the districts outside the north and the east and was on its way to secure an unassailable 51 percent of the total votes polled. more..

SLC High Performance Manager quits

Feb 12 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) High Performance Manager Simon Willis has decided to call it quits, of his association with the island nation, with effect from June 30 this year – exactly two years after he took over, replacing the then Head of Coaching of SLC, Jerome Jayaratne. Englishman Willis is from Kent where he played 16 first class matches, mainly as a wicket-keeper. With the establishment of the High Performance more..

Faltering Bangladesh need a rethink

Feb 12 (CI) Bangladesh are left searching for answers after their chastening Test series defeat to Sri Lanka. A one-dimensional batting plan, the choice of pitch, team selection and the inability to find a permanent head coach are some of the issues being discussed in the immediate aftermath. Given that Bangladesh won a Test match in Sri Lanka last year, the loss to them at home suggests there is a need for something between a rethink and an overhaul of BCB's long-term cricket policies more..

Shakib to miss opening T20I against SL

Feb 12 (CB) Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan's comeback from a hand injury has been delayed further with the all-rounder set to miss the opening T20I of the two-match series against SL. While Bangladesh chief selector Minhajul Abedin was hopeful of his return for the second T20I, Shakib himself expressed doubts over his participation for the remainder of the series against SL. Shakib sustained an injury to his left hand during the tri-nation ODI series final and later had to more..

Govt grapples with pension payment irregularities

Feb 12 (ST) Govt is grappling to tackle pension payment irregularities at the Pensions Department with the increase in the number of pensioners at the rate of two thousand while paying Rs. 10 billion for around 580,000 retired senior citizens every month. The massive increase in public sector employees to over 1.27 million by 2016 from about 850,000 in 2005 along with govt pensioners has created a large voting bloc for major political more..

Subramanium spells out vision for Sri Lanka’s Olympic Committee

Feb 12 (ST) Have you ever seen a tree, physically growing – I mean, seen it actually happening or, a flower blooming? Yes, they are little secrets of nature. They may occur within a very short space of time, yet the process cannot be discerned through the naked eye. In reality, this is exactly what I thought of former Tennis Ace Suresh Subramanium, who has now taken up the challenge of conquering the NOCSL citadel. Yet, a few moons ago, Subramanium was purely a baseline player more..

Chandimal pleased with success on nightmare pitch

Feb 12 (ICC) Two half-centuries from Roshen Silva and eight wickets for the match on debut by Akila Dananjaya headlined Sri Lanka's comprehensive 215-run victory over Bangladesh in the second and final Test in Dhaka on Saturday. With the win, Sri Lanka took the two-match series 1-0. In what was a low-scoring affair, the Sri Lankan batsmen showed better application with the bat and more penetration with the ball on a pitch that was turning too much for the batsmen to be comfortable. more..

JVP press conference: LG Election

Video: Sri Lanka's bid to end child marriages

Feb 12 (TRT) The Sri Lankan govt has been working on a legislation to change the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act in an effort to prevent child marriages among its Muslim community. In the South Asian country, the marrying age for girls is 18, but for Muslims there is no minimum age under the current law. Human rights activists have long called for a reform and after nine years of evaluation, the committee responsible for the issue handed its report to the govt in late January. more..

RPCs teas to be tested from next week

Feb 12 (ST) Regional Plantation Companies’ (RPC) tea estates will be subject to checks from the SL Tea Board as authorities gear up to meet international standards on residue levels of pesticides with Japanese authorities asking Ceylon Tea to clean up its act. In the wake of the Japanese request for a reduction in the residue levels of pesticides, local authorities have been in consultation with the industry to work out a solution and ensure Ceylon Tea meets the required relevant standards. more..

Prof. Rajiva urges President Sirisena to sack Ranil immediately

Feb 12 (Island) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha urged Prez Sirisena to immediately remove Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM and replace him with someone acceptable to the JO. Following is the text of a statement titled A Way Forward issued by Prof. Wijesinha: The election results are a stunning repudiation by the people of both branches of the current govt. They also reveal a dislike, except in a few urban areas, of adherence to economic policies more..

Polls-related incidents: 8 candidates among 133 arrested

Feb 12 (CT) Police say 133 persons, including eight candidates, were arrested for violating polls laws on Election Day (10) and yesterday (11). Police Media said that Police stations island wide were instructed to produce those who were arrested during voting for the 2018 Local Authority Election, before Court. Police had received 126 election-related complaints and had arrested 14 suspects while 73 election law violations were reported resulting in the arrest of 119 suspects. more..

Excavator stuck? Call for tenders

Feb 12 (ST) Govt advertisements in newspapers are usually boring but not this one. An advertisement on Friday by the Provincial Road Development Authority in the Western Province called for public bids for a peculiar assignment – pulling out an excavator that is stuck in the mud! The bids will be opened on Feb 23, with the excavator continuing to be stuck in the mud till then for a job that would have taken a few hours with the right equipment or is it such a complicated exercise? more..

President, PM lose their electorates

Feb 12 (CT) Almost the entire Cabinet, including President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, have lost their home seats following yesterday's outcome of the LG Election, that was held on Saturday, Independent polls observers said. President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe both lost their seats in their respective bases in Polonnaruwa and Colombo that were won by the opposition, SLPP, more..

Red light warning to Govt. by people: Ranjan

Feb 12 (DM) People have shown the red light to the Govt for not taking appropriate action against those who plundered public funds, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. Mr. Ramanayake, who was voicing his opinion on the outcome of the 2018 LG elections, said the people had shown a red light as it did not keep its word on taking action against the corrupt personalities. “Govt did not arrest anyone who engaged in robbing public funds during the earlier regime, during the last 3 years and more..

Prepared to face any challenge: Rosy

Feb 12 (DM) Rosy Senanayake, who has become the first Mayoress of Colombo, yesterday said she is prepared to face any challenge that would come her way. "People talk about challenges when women were coming in for politics at this election but women also can take up any challenge a man can face, " Ms. Senanayake told Daily Mirror last afternoon. Accordingly, Ms. Senanayake said she would take up the challenge of eradicating corruption and making Colombo a smart city. more..

JVP warns masses must accept repercussions of LG polls result

Feb 12 (FT) The JVP warned that the public must be prepared to accept the repercussions of LG election but was upbeat of its own performance, insisting it had managed to increase support despite bagging fewer seats than last time. JVP leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the election had allowed a defeated evil force to rise again. “The results of this election have showed that the masses have rejected more..

Thonda snubs Sirisena, to work with MR says SLPP

Feb 12 (FT) The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) will govern 11 local govt bodies in the Nuwara-Eliya District together with the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), SLPP MP C.B. Rathnayake said yesterday. His comments came after attending a public meeting in Hatton with CWC General Secretary Arumugan Thondaman. He further said it would receive power in LG bodies secured by the UNP with a coalition of SLPP-elected members and the bonus seat receivers. more..

Election made history: Gammanpila

Feb 12 (CT) Leader of the PHU, Udaya Gammanpila said the people cannot be fooled all the time. "People have proved the saying you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time at the LG election," he said. This election result made history and has changed their future at the same time. This is the first time the people have given an opportunity to a political party that lost its governing power to win a LG poll," he added. more..

Video: Prez to make changes to govt soon

Feb 12 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena was expected to make a few changes to the Govt in the near future, UPFA Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. “President conveyed this at a special meeting held with SLFP members in Colombo today,” he said. Meanwhile, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said they, as the SLFP, allowed the President to decide whether the SLFP could continue in this manner. more..

Rajitha’s assessment of defeat

Feb 12 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne attributed the govt’s humiliating loss at Saturday’s local govt elections to ruling regime’s own candidates accusing each other of being rogues. "Where they failed was they didn’t point a finger at the rogue politicians who were in the opposing camp," he said. "On the other hand, the spiralling cost of living very much contributed towards the election results." "The masses have given us a warning and we have to take it seriously," he said, more..

Ruling coalition has to reform: Champika

Feb 12 (EN) Sri Lanka's vote shows that the ruling coalition has not implemented promises of good governance as expected by the electorate in 2015 and the govt has to make reforms, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. "A democratic, accountable govt should always receive the response from the people," he said in a statement, after SLPP, a proxy of ex-Prez Rajapaksa swept local bodies in a landslide. "As a result the policy and structural changes asked by the people more..

We accept the people's verdict: Kabir

Feb 12 (DN) UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim said the party accepts the verdict given by the people at the LG elections. “Through this verdict, the people have given us a warning signal, Minister Hashim said in a statement. “We hope to subject this verdict to deep rethinking and dedicate ourselves to perform our role expected from us more correctly and vigorously. “The services we have rendered in the past are many. more..

I take full responsibility: President

Feb 12 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has told SLFP ministers who met him yesterday that he would introduce far reaching changes to the government following the LG polls results in the days to come. “I take full responsibility for the SLFP’s electoral setback. The people of the country have voted for a change and I will respond positively to their message and introduce necessary changes accordingly as soon as possible,” President Sirisena has reportedly told the ministers. more..

It’s clear country needs a change: MR

Feb 12 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who led the new political party, the SLPP to the Local Govt election victory, today said it was clear that Sri Lanka needs a change. “Thank you to all who supported the vision of the SLPP at the LG election. Your voices have been heard. It’s clear that our country needs a change,” he said in a tweet. In a statement, Mr. Rajapaksa said the opposition has been able to achieve this victory amidst unprecedented persecution and harassment. more..

Pohottuwa paralyses UNP, SLFP

Feb 12 (FT) In an unexpected election upset, SLPP swept the LG polls, winning a significant majority and positioning itself ahead of the UNP, UPFA and SLFP. Colloquially referred to as the pohottuwa party backed by former President Rajapaksa, SLPP secured about 222 LG bodies including MCs, UCs and PSs. In-house calculations showed that the UNP won 41 LG bodies and ITAK bagged 34 LG bodies. more..

The hour for political maturity

Feb 12 (DM) The people have spoken, as they say. LG Elections, like any election, are a test of the regime’s popularity. Well, the people have delivered their verdict: Not up to mark by a big margin! A close look at the overall results and comparison with previous LG election as well as with the last Parliamentary and Presidential elections will no doubt lend towards a more nuanced reading of trends. As of now what is clear is that people have expressed a massive vote of no-confidence more..

Election analysis while results are being released

Feb 12 (DM) All those that bought crackers, can burst them justifiably, but it will not sound musical to the ears’ of any of the leaders,’ as the message is clear none will be elected through an election as President or PM. No one can go alone to polls, writing off two provinces from the slate. Those prejudices are going to harden before they soften. Rajapaksa, should not ignore the North in seeking votes, especially where UNP reveals a base from where votes are gathered from the north. more..

Top five ayurvedic plants of the dry zone

Feb 12 (Roar) Regardless of the dry zone’s inhospitable living conditions, the region hosts a plethora of life-giving and curative plants. To find out more, Roar Life, took a trip to the Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens, just outside Hambantota. Opened in 2013, the enormous 300 acre garden grows and studies plants from across the dry zone: the south east, east, north, and north west of the island. more..

SL bond yields spike after Rajapaksa win

Feb 12 (EN) Sri Lanka's bond yields spiked Monday after a shock defeat for the ruling coalition and a landslide for a party backed by ex-President Rajapaksa in a local council vote over the weekend, while stocks opened higher. Stocks were steady and the All Share Index was up 0.19% after the first half hour of trading but started to weaken later. Bonds were quoted 20 to 40 basis points higher on Monday, dealers said. more..