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Face the Nation

LG elections: Structure, functions, issues and reforms

Feb 13 (DN) In Sri Lanka, local govt has been an essential component of the administrative systems even before the colonial period. However, present form of local govt structure was introduced during the colonial rule of British with the establishment of Colombo and Kandy Municipal Councils (MCs) by Ordinance No.17 of 1865. Since then there had been several changes and improvements in the form structure and functions of Local Authorities (Las). At the time of independence in 1948, systems of more..

Rapid population growth constrains economic performance

Feb 13 (ST) The two previous columns dealt with the under performance of the economy (Jan 31st) and the social and economic achievements during the 70 years of independence (Feb 4th). Today’s column focuses on two of the extenuating factors that impinged on the country’s economic performance: rapid population growth and adverse terms of trade. Ethnic violence was the most serious setback to economic development. Among the other constraints were the rapid population growth more..

Herath returns home with a world record under his belt

Feb 13 (DN) It was business as usual for Sri Lanka’s leading spinner Rangana Herath who arrived home after helping his team win the two-Test series in Bangladesh 1-0 and with it also achieving a personal milestone of becoming the most successful left-arm bowler in Test history. “When you play cricket you don’t expect those kinds of success but to reach the milestone is a big achievement,” said Herath on his arrival. more..

‘Precautions in place to prevent laundered money from entering CSE’

Feb 13 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has a well secured mechanism to prevent ill gotten money from entering the stock market by way of money laundering and funds that are coming from nefarious activities, Head, Marketing Development at CSE Niroshan Wijesundera said. "SL's addition as a money laundering destination to an EU list has caused some concern that people involved in money laundering businesses will invest in the CSE. But it will not happen because all funds more..

Ups and downs of SL politics and Looming political uncertainty

Feb 13 (Island) Last Saturday’s LG Election dealt a stunning blow to President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe and the two respective political parties, UPFA and UNP, that they lead and paved the way for the major political comeback of former president Rajapaksa. SLPP that Mahinda Rajapaksa leads literally swept the polls conducted to elect members for 341 LG bodies. At the time of this writing the party had won about 75% of the 304 LG bodies for which results had been declared. more..

Mandate was to rectify Jan 8 mistake: PHU

Feb 13 (DM) The PHU said the people have voted for the SLPP at the LG election to rectify the mistakes they have made on Jan 8 Presidential election. PHU Leader MP Udaya Gammanpila said the people’s mandate, which was given to the SLPP, was not a mandate given to deliver the promises made on Jan 8 when President Sirisena assumed duties. He said if the people wanted to get the Jan 8 promises fulfilled, more..

Can SL take ODI, Test momentum into T-20s?

Feb 13 (Island) After the troubles of 2017, where the national cricket team hit new lows, SL have had a decent start to 2018 winning both the tri-nation tournament and the two match Test series against Bangladesh. Now they will be hoping to put up a good show in T-20s as well with the first game of the two match series scheduled for Thursday in Dhaka. SL’s T-20 specialists arrived in Dhaka on Sunday. The tourists are handicapped due to the absence of their white ball captain Angelo Mathews, more..

Wheelchair Tennis: Dharmasena wins singles crown for Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (DN) Emerging Sri Lankan wheelchair tennis star D S R Dharmasena clinched the men’s singles title beating his Korean opponent Sang-Ho OH in the final 6/3, 3/6, 6/1 at the Negombo Open Int'l Wheelchair Tennis Championship concluded in Negombo yesterday. Dharmasena who is ranked among the world top 100 displayed a superb performance on clay courts during the four-day tournament beating experienced Lankan ace cum present national singles champion Gamini more..

Resolving SAITM issue: GMOA to prepare common document

Feb 13 (DM) A majority of anti-SAITM forces have agreed to a proposal by the GMOA which is in the process of preparing a common document to resolve this longstanding matter. GMOA is said to have held several rounds of discussions during the past two weeks with all the anti-AITM groups and had received positive feedback for its proposals. Secretary Haitha Aluthge said that apart from anti-SAITM groups, majority of SAITM graduates more..

Mixed first nine months for Hemas

Feb 13 (FT) Hemas Holdings PLC has seen a mixed first nine months with group revenue up but a dip in the bottom line. HHL yesterday reported consolidated revenue of Rs. 35.6 billion; a year-on-year (YoY) growth of 11.4%; and profit attributable to equity holders of Rs. 2.1 billion, a decline of 12.7% for the nine months ending 31 December 2017. Cumulative operating profit for the first nine months of the FY18 stood at Rs. 2.9 billion; a YoY decline of 10.8%. more..

Editorial: A painful divorce?

Feb 13 (Island) The outcome of the just concluded LG polls is bound to have a domino effect on the political front. It has already taken its toll on the unity of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt, which is showing early signs of disintegration. The constitution-making process is also in jeopardy. Now, it is reported that the UNP is going to jettison the SLFP, which has become a liability and form a govt of its own. Their political marriage of convenience has cost both UNP & SLFP dear more..

Is it the end of the road for Mathews?

Feb 13 (CT) It seems that the hamstring injury to Angelo Mathews will put an end to his cricketing career. An injury to the hamstring does not heal that easily. The only solution is to rest for as long as possible and gradually tune the muscle to the rigours and demands. Most athletes who suffered from this injury struggled to get back to their regular running activities. This is because the injury keeps recurring when the athlete strains to more..

Hayleys sees strong 9-month top line growth

Feb 13 (FT) Strong top line performances across the Hayleys Group and the addition of recent strategic acquisitions resulted in a 37% YoY increase in turnover up to Rs. 112.3 billion during the nine months to 31 Dec 2017 while gross profits expanded by 29% YoY up to Rs. 24 billion. Increases in raw material prices and adverse weather conditions impacted the operating profits of Hayleys Group’s manufacturing and agriculture sectors, while the higher borrowing costs resulting from more..

AASL to take stern action against Himasha

Feb 13 (CT) South Asian record holder in the 100m, Himasha Eashan has withdrawn from the relay team citing injury concerns at the 'Road to Asian Games 2018' invitational test event which is ongoing at Jakarta. As per AASL President Gen. Palitha Fernando, Eashan had not turned up for baton change practice recently, while neither he nor his coach Chaminda Perera had reported any injury concern before the tour. Fernando further said he is going to conduct an inquiry into the incident more..

'ACMC surges to a new high in local polls'

Feb 13 (FT) All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) has captured a new crop of local govt seats with resounding wins –along with a dramatic surge in its local govt presence in the just concluded polls. With the latest wins, number of ACMC seats in LG bodies rise greatly to a grand total of 159 - a 137% increase in local seats from ACMC’s previous 67 LG seats. “Our strategy of forming the UPA has worked. more..

'Brain drain in ICT sector on the decline'

Feb 13 (DN) The brain drain in the ICT sector is now reversing and this is very evident among Sri Lankans who are based overseas for 10 to 15 years, said chief Information Officer, Virtusa, Madhu Ratnayake. He said that today even the students who embark on higher education return to Sri Lanka to work. “This clearly shows that the ICT sector is becoming very lucrative in Sri Lanka,” he said. Ratnayake added that they are happy about the attention the govt is paying for the ICT sector more..

Nilani seals Silver with personal best

Feb 13 (CT) Middle distance runner Nilani Ratnayake clocked a personal best in the 1500m to finish second at the Road to Asian Games 2018 Invitational test event continued at Jakarta yesterday. Nilani clocked 4 minutes 19.25 seconds and finished only behind Chithra Palakeezh of India, while Champika Dilrukshi finished fourth in the same race. In the long jump, seasoned jumper Janaka Wimalasiri leapt 7.82m to finish third. Asian Indoor Bronze medallist finished behind more..

Gota returns: Says not eligible to be PM

Feb 13 (CT) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he is not eligible to be the PM because he is a US citizen. He was speaking to journalists at the BIA after returning to the country from the US, following the victory of the SLPP at the LG Elections. With regard to accepting an offer from the SLFP to be sworn in as the Prime Minister, Rajapaksa said, "I have not decided to come into the political arena thus far. more..

LG polls relatively peaceful: Police

Feb 13 (NR) The Police states the 2018 Local Authority Election period was and has been relatively peaceful. Speaking at a media briefing, Police Media Spokesman Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekara said the conduct of raids by Police prevented the possibility of any damaging incidents. Police media spokesman stressed there were no major complaints among the reported incidents adding the Police ensured peace and calm during the election period. more..

Post-election clashes leave several injured

Feb 13 (Island) Several clashes have occurred between the SLPP and UNP supporters in the post-election period, elections monitors say. SLPP and UNP supporters clashed at Kanugolla, Meegahakiwla in Uva Province on Sunday night and five persons were hospitalised. "A father and son were seriously injured in this clash. However, no one has been arrested so far," Election Monitor CaFFE said adding that they had received 21 complaints of post-election violations. more..

Big guns turn biggest losers in LG poll

Feb 13 (FT) Leading national political figures performed miserably in the LG polls, failing to secure victory even in their electorates, resulting in an embarrassing defeat for both mainstream parties. Senior Advisor of SLFP and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga lost her electorate, Attanagalla, a party stronghold. Party General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake was unable to secure victory in his electorate, Kalawawa, more..

President makes observation on new bridge built instead of Gini Petti Palama

Feb 13 (PSL) President Sirisena had made the observation on the new bridge built across Kubukkan Oya, which flows to the Mahaweli River passing Somawathiya area from Laksha Uyana, Polonnaruwa. This new bridge has been built as an alteration to the decayed Gini Petti Palama constructed by foreign and local engineering experts to allow water flow. Since the dilapidation of the Gini petti palama which was built in the beginning of the Govi Janapada agriculture settlement more..

MR’s demand for Parliament dissolution: Not even Prez can dissolve Parliament: Dilan

Feb 13 (CT) State Minister Dilan Perera said that former President Rajapaksa should be aware that not even the President has the authority to dissolve Parliament until after four and a half years. Commenting on the former President's claim that the current Parliament should be dissolved, he further added that Rajapaksa with his legal knowledge should be aware of the fact that Parliament cannot be dissolved until its due course has run. However, according to Article 70(1) of the Constitution, more..

MR calls for early general election

Feb 13 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa called on Prez Sirisena to ensure that Parliament was dissolved immediately and a general election held to end the current political instability. Addressing a special media briefing, former President said the present govt had no moral right to be in power as it was clear that people were no longer with it and they had rejected its economic policies as well. more..

PMD refutes media statements

Feb 13 (NR) President’s Media Division (PMD) says Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe have not reached an agreement pertaining to establishing power in Local Authorities or future political activities. PMD refuted statements in media over President & PM discussing future political matters following the election. Meanwhile, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says the SLFP or the UPFA have not arrived at a decision pertaining to the establishment of power within Local Authorities. more..

Cabinet reshuffle imminent

Feb 13 (CT) SLPP's sweeping win at the Local Govt Polls is causing turmoil in the Unity Govt. President Sirisena will be reshuffling the Cabinet later this week, making radical changes, highly placed sources confirmed. One of the changes that have been proposed is to appoint a new Minister for Foreign Affairs and to rationalize some of the portfolio bundles. Meanwhile, various discussions were held among the Ministers and MPs of the UNP, with one group strongly advocating that more..

Cohabitation at crossroads after polls defeat

Feb 13 (FT) Confusion reigned yesterday after reports surfaced that the UNP, the main stakeholder in the ruling coalition was exploring options to govern independently and show a majority in Parliament, drawing a swift denial from Prez Sirisena that agreements to this effect had been reached with his PM. Reports about the UNP moves to go solo following the LG election results, claimed that Prez had approved the party’s plan and more..

UNP-SLFP must turn searclight inwards

Feb 13 (DM) The outcome of last Saturday’s LG elections has naturally prompted the ruling UNP and the SLFP to look back and ponder about what went wrong. Already President Maithripala Sirisena and UNP’s General Secretary Kabir Hashim have publicly accepted that something had gone badly wrong. President said he would take full responsibility for the humiliating defeat suffered by SLFP and UPFA while UNP General Secretary said his party accepted the people’s verdict. more..

Post-mortem of an election disaster

Feb 13 (DM) It was a spectacularly crushing defeat. Mind boggling as it might have felt at the beginning, now in retrospect, the genesis of this debacle is all too clear. This govt, which assumed with a public mandate to govern, simply failed to govern. Some have put the blame on the delay in the constitutional reforms, non-revoking of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, bond scam, and even the reinstating of the defence attache’ in London who, it is alleged, had harmed sensitivities was of diaspora Tamils. more..

'An unstable Maldives will lead to an unstable Indian Ocean'

Feb 13 (ST) Former President of Maldives, currently in exile and stationed in Colombo, Mohamed Nasheed insisted that the current President must step down in order to resolve the ongoing political turmoil the country is engulfed in. Q: President Nasheed, to start off with, in Dec 2011 there was a political crisis in which the former Chief Justice was arrested under your leadership. How do you see today’s crisis more..

We did our best to save the Ven. Bellanwila prelate, says doctor

Feb 13 (ST) As the nation bid farewell to one of the country’s erudite prelates the Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera, questions over the death of the scholarly monk are clarified by the team of doctors who attended on him and fought hard to save his life. Dr. D. M. Sumana Handagala, Thoracic Surgeon of the National Hospital for Respiratory Disease, Welisara rushed to the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital on Feb 2 more..

Colombo: Beyond concrete and asphalt

Feb 13 (WB) In 2014, the island was listed as one of the least urbanized countries in the World Urbanization Prospects (WUP), with less than 20% of the population in urban areas. By 2050, WUP projected that number would rise to only 30%. Does this mean we still have to worry about the country’s urbanization? The short answer is yes. This is, after all, an island nation with one of the highest population densities, complex and more..

'Form a caretaker govt; dissolve parliament'

Feb 13 (DM) While claiming that Parliament should be dissolved immediately, DLF Leader and MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said yesterday they were ready to discuss with other political parties to gain two-third majority to do so. He said that a caretaker govt should be formed after dissolving Parliament and added that it should take steps to hold a general election. “There should be a two-third majority to dissolve parliament. more..

'Sri Lanka keen to sign FTA with China'

Feb 13 (GT) Since the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative was revealed to the world, Sri Lanka has been actively cooperating with China to ensure a win-win result. Global Times reporter Wang Bozun (GT) interviewed Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Karunasena Kodituwakku to discuss the dialogue between the two countries. GT: Foreign media reported that Sri Lanka is hesitant about signing a free trade agreement [FTA] more..

How a SL hero became a taxi driver in UAE

Feb 13 (KT) When I flagged down a cab in the mad morning rush to keep a medical appointment, little did I know it would be a journey into the plebeian life of a forgotten national hero. Buckling up in the front seat of the Emirates Taxi cab, my prowess to identify different races seems to have worked. "Which place in Sri Lanka are you from?" The driver, a middle-aged Sinhalese, was taken aback by the quick-shot query. more..

President and PM extend greetings for Maha Shiva Rathri

Feb 13 (AD) President Sirisena extended his heartiest greetings to all Hindu devotees around the world who celebrate the Maha Shiva Rathri with the desire for well-being of fellow human beings as well as to further consolidate the religious beliefs and the social wellbeing. Shivaratri fast will eliminate the dark evil thoughts emerge in the hearts of the humans and illuminate the wisdom and thoughtfulness. It will, invariably help to build more..

UNP will continue govt; parties that wish may join: Malik

Feb 13 (AD) The UNP says that it will continue the govt for the remainder of its term, amidst signs the SLFP is set to leave the unity govt following defeat at the LG polls. The UNP will continue the govt for the next two-and-a-half years, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema said. He added that whichever party that wishes may join the UNP in the govt. He stated that there is no need for a change in govt as there is another 2.5-yrs more..

'Drastic drop in MR’s vote, from 2015'

Feb 13 (DN) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who commanded 5.77 million votes (47.6%) at the 2015 Presidential polls was barely able to muster 4.95 million votes (44.7%) at the recently concluded LG Elections, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He noted that a resounding majority of citizens numbering 6.1 million (55.3%), marched to the polls last Saturday and voted against a return to Rajapaksa rule. more..

Pressure mounts on PM to quit

Feb 13 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is under renewed pressure to step down from the leadership of his UNP after its dismal performance at local council elections. UNP seniors said they wanted Wickremesinghe to step aside to clear the way for a major restructuring of the party after Saturday's drubbing at the LG election. Since the humiliating defeat, party stalwarts have begun blaming Wickremesinghe's style of leadership, more..