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SLPP's jubilant mood marred by 150 hung LG bodies

Feb 18 (SO) The LG election – the first election in Sri Lanka after the Parliamentary election in August, 2015 – was a wake-up call for the incumbent govt in more ways than one. The large majority of Local Govt bodies – 249 out of 340 – was won by the SLPP, the party supported by members of the Rajapaksa family. While the UNP won 42 LG bodies with a percentage of 32.61, the UPFA, led by President Sirisena, managed to secure only 11 LG bodies, with a percentage over 13%. more..

Damned if I do, damned if I don’t

Feb 18 (ST) Was it loud, friendly voices or an argument? Just beyond the garden on this bright sunny morning, six days after one of Sri Lanka’s most challenging LG elections, Kussi Amma Sera and her comrade-in-arms, Serapina, are engaged in a heated debate. Kussi Amma Sera seemed to think it was the increased cost of fertiliser that caused the coalition govt a serious setback at the poll. Serapina, not to be outdone, argued that it was the cost of living and a severe drought, more..

Political uncertainty to prevail

Feb 18 (CT) A week after the releasing of the results of the LG Elections under new mixed electoral system, governance of the country has come to a deadlock with President Maithripala Sirisena looking for a replacement for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the latter being determined to continue in office. In less than 24 hours of issuing of the results of the LG Elections indicating a sweeping victory for former Prez Rajapaksa-led SLPP, more..

LPL has five-year window in Aug-Sept

Feb 18 (ST) Though the dates of the proposed Lanka Premier League (LPL) clashes with similar leagues being played around the world during the same period, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is confident of attracting top international cricketers for the tournament. LPL is scheduled for August 18 to Sept 16, a period during which Sri Lanka has no international commitments. But the dates clash with the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and England’s T20 Blast. more..

Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb on Feb.25

Feb 18 (ST) 22nd Southern Eliyakanda Hill Climb conducted by the Southern Motor Sports Club (SMSC) will be held at the Eliyakanda track in Browns Hill Matara, next Sunday (25). The SEHC 2018, is a Hill Climb race meet in the 2018 Sri Lanka Automobile Sports (SLAS) Calendar, and a round of the SLAS National Championship 2018. “This meet will be run in accordance with the SLAS’s National Sporting Code, and its appendices, Sporting Code of Federation of Motorcycle Sports in SL more..

Steady rise of magnanimous Suranga Lakmal

Feb 18 (Island) The lion-hearted Suranga Lakmal, the first Test cricketer from Hambantota last week became the seventh Sri Lankan to take 100 Test wickets. Lakmal, a skillful bowler is also a lovely team man and you would hope that he goes onto achieve much more. As of now, he is the second highest wicket taker among SL fast bowlers with 102 wickets while the undisputed king of fast bowlers in the country Chaminda Vaas more..

Well played Sri Lanka but what of the future?

Feb 18 (Island) Many notable playwrights/authors including William Shakespeare – in Much Ado About Nothing- used the expression comparisons are odious. Naturally, as there would be many variable circumstances when making comparisons, such as the era, culture, quality of the opposition and even the weather would be factors to contend with from time to time. So, Sri Lanka swamped Bangladesh in the second Test at Mirpur on a well-prepared spinners’ pitch. more..

Strategic plans worked well: Hathurusinghe

Feb 18 (CT) SL coach Chandika Hathurusinghe admitted that his experience with hosts Bangladesh helped him chalk out plans better as SL managed to edge ahead against them, across 3 series - tri-nation ODI series, Test series and now the ongoing two-match T20I series. Since, their arrival in Bangladesh, Hathurusinghe's presence in their camp had been a major point of discussion so as to if his 3+ years of experience with Bangladesh as head coach will have any impact. more..

Now the NOCSL elections have hit fever pitch

Feb 18 (ST) The most contentious election of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) in recent times has reached its homestretch. On Friday, the membership will gather at the NOCSL headquarters in Colombo to vote on who will lead the organisation for the next four years. Only certainty is that it won’t be current President Hemasiri Fernando who is stepping down after a 20-year-long reign. more..

RTC aiming to increase racedays

Feb 18 (ST) Royal Turf Club (RTC) is hoping to end its event drought which came to affect after April last year. RTC President Panduka Keerthinanda stated that it has intentions of bringing back its usual racedays which constantly got delayed due to various reasons. “We are planning to hold four racedays, one in March and three in April. Up to this point we had many setbacks including natural reasons, and lately it was the unavailability of the racecourse in Nuwara Eliya. more..

Mahinda can’t win at a straight election: Ranil

Feb 18 (Island) Results of the recent LG Election gave an indication as to how far the Leader of the Podujana Peramuna Mahinda Rajapaksa could go in a straight election, says PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Asked if the UNP fancied it’s chances at a future election, in the event the SLFP and Podujana Peramuna formed an alliance, Wickremesinghe said on Friday "There was a lot of cross voting at the Feb 10. Mahinda would not be able to secure victory in a straight contest." more..

10 containers of props for Sound of Music

Feb 18 (ST) There were oohs and aahs by Sri Lankans watching enthralled the Sound of Music theatre production at the Nelum Pokuna in Colombo which ends today after a five-day run bringing entertainment to a new level in Sri Lanka. But what was unsaid and unseen is the effort that went into organisation and the volume of equipment that was brought by ship in 10 containers, each 40 feet-long. more..

SriLankan stops Kunming flights next month

Feb 18 (ST) SriLankan Airlines will be pulling out its operations to Kunming as a result of a poor load factor on this route that has been highly dependent on Chinese travellers alone. “Since the inception, the Kunming route has been highly dependent on the Chinese tourist market with very less contribution from other network stations, therefore it has very little opportunity to improve its seat load factor,” the airline said in response to an email query. more..

Sampath sweetens forthcoming rights issue with one for 19.7 scrip issue

Feb 18 (Island) Sampath Bank PLC Friday sweetened its forthcoming rights issue of approx. 50.13 million new voting shares in the proportion of three new shares for every 13 already held shares at a price of Rs. 250 per share by announcing a scrip issue of approx. 13.55 million new shares in the proportion of one share for every 19.728 (approx) already held shares. Following the scrip issue announcement on the CSE, the Sampath share closed at Rs. 327.40 on Friday, Rs. 9.40 up more..

Tourism industry protests to PM on CNN campaign

Feb 18 (ST) SL’s most powerful tourism industry bodies have raised serious concerns with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe over irregularities in the planned CNN media blitz by SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). Tourist Hotels Association of SL (THASL) and the SL Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), on the other hand, jointly asked the PM to accelerate the process of implementing digital marketing campaign more..

High-tech vehicle number plates soon

Feb 18 (ST) Sri Lanka is rolling out new high tech security number plates for vehicles to help Police in the detection of vehicular movements, prevent counterfeiting, duplication and crimes, a senior Transport Ministry official said. These new number plates will be introduced to ensure the security of vehicles, assist police to keep tabs on vehicles, detect theft and digitise data, he said adding that the govt has given priority for digitalization all sectors of the economy. more..

Business sector calls for political stability

Feb 18 (ST) The current govt has a mandate to run for another two years and it is putting the economy on the right track with the right policies in place, market analysts said while stressing the need that people need to be patient. The vote against the govt at the recent election is a clear message to it to get back to the drawing board and bounce back to govern the country better. What people need, especially the farmers, is not the sun and the moon but basic needs, analysts said. more..

President pressed to find suitable PM: Political crisis continues

Feb 18 (CT) The political crisis surrounding the Govt stretched into its sixth day, yesterday, after the SLPP's sweep of the LG elections upended the country's governance on 10 Feb. As of last night, Govt was deadlocked with President Sirisena looking for a replacement for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe while the latter was determined to continue in office. As the crisis continues to deepen, it is posing a severe threat to the political more..

SLC keen on Indian player participation in Lankan Premier League

Feb 18 (CB) Sri Lanka Cricket will be looking at the possibility of getting the participation of Indian players for SL Premier League tournament to be played in August this year. SLC last week announced the plans to start a franchise based Twenty20 league of their own and on Friday (16) confirmed that the tournament comprising six teams will take place from the Aug 18 to Sept 10. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), that conducts the cash-rich Indian Premier League tournament, more..

Piyasena Fernando only JVPer to win a ward

Feb 18 (ST) 74-year old M. Piyasena Fernando became the only JVP member to win a ward at the Feb 10, LG elections. He was elected to the Wekada North ward of the Panadura Municipal Council with 566 votes with his closet rival K. Kandane of the UNP, a former Mayor of the Panadura MC coming in second with 472 votes. Pushpa Fonseka who contested from the SLFP obtained 322 votes. Mr. Fernando started politics as a member of the LSSP and joined the JVP in 2001. more..

'Govt now trying to postpone PC polls'

Feb 18 (CT) Although the final report of the Delimitation Committee, appointed by the Govt to determine electoral divisions for the Provincial Council elections, to be held according to the new mixed system, is ready, the Govt is not accepting it and is pointing out mistakes of the officials, in an attempt to further postpone these elections. Elections to six PCs are due to be held in September this year and elections for more..

25% of foreign workers on construction sites are Chinese

Feb 18 (Island) About 25% of the foreigners now working here on large construction projects are Chinese, Mr. Christopher Joshua of Access Engineering PLC, the largest construction company listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange said last week. Joshua, a Director of Access and Ms. Champika Dodanwela. CFO of Seylan Bank were the main speakers at an event organized by the CSE and the Colombo Brokers Association to make presentations on Access and Seylan. more..

More members than labourers in some councils

Feb 18 (ST) Some of the local councils will have more members than the number of labourers to maintain sanitation facilities and cleaning up roads in the council areas. In most Pradeshiya Sabha areas of the Matara District, the number of labourers is less than the council members. The Devinuwara PS area will have 21 members, but only 18 labourers to serve the people, while in Akuressa 25 members have been elected to the council which has 24 workers. more..

President has not consulted me yet: AG

Feb 18 (CT) President Sirisena has not consulted Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, even by last night, on whether there was a possibility of replacing PM with a member of the SLFP. This is a sequel to news reports in all media yesterday that Prez Sirisena had assured the JO Parliamentary Group on Friday morning that he would consult the AG on the possibility of appointing an SLFP PM on the assurance that more..

PM skips India trip

Feb 18 (GT) Beleaguered PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he has cancelled a planned visit to India due to the ongoing political crisis in his UNP party over its recent defeat in local polls. “I have been asked by the party to stay and face this situation,” Wickremesinghe said. He had been expected to attend an information technology meeting in New Delhi, his officials said. PM said he planned to reshuffle his cabinet. Wickremesinghe’s centre-right UNP and President Sirisena’s more..

Official says CEB engineers blocking emergency power purchases

Feb 18 (ST) The CEB’s plans to put in place standby arrangements for emergency purchase of power supplies ahead of possible drought conditions have been stalled due to ongoing trade union action by engineers. As a result, standby arrangements in the event of a breakdown of power stations also have been affected, a Power & Renewable Energy Ministry official said. In view of the impending drought situation, CEB was planning to buy100 Mw supplementary power as a standby more..

Crisis changes from day to day, nation awaits its future course

Feb 18 (ST) With the gusto of a king in the days of yore, President Maithripala Sirisena declared ahead of the local polls he would not hesitate to wield a sword to fight corruption. Such was the dedication of the SLFP leader to battle a malaise now grown to cancerous proportions. At least figuratively, this is what he did during the polls campaign. The climax was a public pledge — not to work after polls with those corrupt politicians more..

The govt’s consummate crisis in the face of Mahinda’s unconsummatable win

Feb 18 (Island) There is no pussyfooting around the political shellacking at last week’s polls, that the President’s and the PM’s teams got at the hands of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s budding party of old bloomers. Not surprisingly, the shellacking has precipitated a consummate crisis in the so called national-unity govt. While the results of LG elections have created the current crisis in the national govt, the same results cannot provide any mechanism or mandate for resolving that crisis. more..

Prez & PM crucified for sheltering crooks

Feb 18 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa and his poroppaya scored a significant victory and the yahapalana parties suffered defeat. Electorate reverted to Jan 2015. By reverted I mean, Feb 2018 statistics are like Jan rather than Aug 2015. In Jan MR polled 47.6% of the national vote. He drew a small Muslim, Upcountry Tamil & Sinhala Catholic vote, say 4%, and therefore a core 44% was Sinhala-Buddhist (SB). This implies that about 63% of SB population threw in their lot with him. more..

Delay in announcing results and other travails of Polls Chief

Feb 18 (ST) Just days before the local polls, the Election Commission said that results would be announced early, as early as 7.30 pm in local authorities with lesser number of voters. Alas, the first result did not arrive till after 12.15 a.m. on Sunday. The Commission, constitutionally empowered to be an independent body, had a message posted on its website. See screenshot of the web page: The announcement, however, more..

'FTA with Singapore makes Sri Lanka attractive digital hub'

Feb 18 (DN) SL’s IT industry has been one of the most remarkable success stories in the country’s economy, said Minister Malik Samarawickrama. He was speaking at the IT-BPM Brand Launch at BMICH yesterday to launch the official brand of the Sri Lankan IT-BPM sector – Island of Ingenuity. “IT industry has emerged and become globally competitive due to the unique talents of our people, the focus on high quality and reliability, but more..

TNA’s setback in North: Symptomatic of people’s shift in focus

Feb 18 (CT) While the entire country was in a state of confusion, last week, over the fate of the Unity Govt, Tamil political circles in the North too had a few things to ponder, following the LG polls held on 10 Feb. It was not only the two major parties in the South that faced an unexpected setback, but also the TNA in the North. TNA, which contested under the House symbol of the ITAK, secured 40 of the 56 Councils in the Northern Province. more..

Sri Lanka has already missed three buses in digitalization: Dialog CEO

Feb 18 (CT) A leading telecommunication industry figure asserted that Sri Lanka had missed Three buses in digitalization and urged stakeholders including the Govt not to miss the fourth, as several neighbours of the South Asian country had already surpassed Sri Lanka in digitization. Speaking at a networking event under the theme –Sri Lanka Digital Transformation: Innovation and Economic Growth on 17 Feb, more..

LG electoral system: Review needed, say minority party heads

Feb 18 (SO) Amid the general contention over the hybrid electoral system introduced for the Feb 10 LG polls and criticism surfacing on a daily basis from political parties and political observers over its many shortcomings, Sunday Observer spoke to leaders of three political parties of the minorities for their views. State Minister of Education V. Radhakrishnan, leader of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF), more..

Illegal demolition caused building collapse fatalities

Feb 18 (ST) The seven people crushed to death in a warehouse collapse this week would have been alive if the building housing it was not being demolished illegally, leaving a wall unsupported that fell over on the victims. Officer in Charge of the Grandpass Police Station, Chief Inspector Vimal Shantha, said neither the police nor the CMC had been informed about the demolition of the building in Grandpass last Wednesday. more..

Prof Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera’s demise: Call for probe

Feb 18 (CT) Two weeks after the untimely death of Professor Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera - Chief monk of the Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara more questions are being asked on the circumstances that led to his demise amidst calls for a thorough probe into the incident. At first they said that the priest had been gored by the temple elephant- Miyan Kumara while he was feeding the animal with tamarind and more..

50 Jaffna youths to join Army as militarized recruits

Feb 18 (MoD) A total of 50 unemployed boys and girls in the Jaffna peninsula, including rehabilitated former LTTE combatants who have now joined the Sri Lanka Army under the militarized category reported for non-military duties on Thursday at Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna, adding a new chapter of goodwill, understanding and reconciliation between civilians and members of Security Forces. more..

Two reservoir projects: Questions over tender procedures

Feb 18 (ST) The awarding of the contracts to design, build and finance the Kumbukkan Oya and Heda Oya reservoirs in the Moneragala District has run into problems after questions were raised about the manner in which the tenders are being awarded. Plans were initially made to call for tenders for the two projects under the open bidding system but there was a sudden change in the procedure with the Ministry of Irrigation and more..

Diplomatic community concerned over MR returning

Feb 18 (SL) The diplomatic community is concerned over the possibility of former President Rajapaksa returning to power in the near future. Western diplomats are believed to have raised their concerns with the Govt and among the diplomatic community. The concerns arise from steps taken by President Sirisena to have talks with the JO to form a UPFA Govt. There are fears that if a UPFA Govt is formed it will set the path more..