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Ranil vs JO

Jan 7 (CT) Yesterday the lead story of this newspaper was about the Joint Opposition (JO), which proxy leader is UPFA/SLFP MP and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, threatening to bring in a no-confidence motion against UNFG/UNP Leader Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe over the recent Treasury Bond scandal where one of the principal accused is the latter's CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Mahendran had to subsequently go home over this scandal. more..

Testing the new hybrid election system

Jan 7 (SO) Usually an election tests the fortunes of political parties and politicians, but come February 10, much, much, more is at stake when SL citizens vote to elect their local govt bodies throughout the country. A whole new – and complicated – election system will be tested for the first time: a hybrid voting system, the simultaneous election of all local govt bodies on a single day, a compulsory 25% minimum quota for women candidates and, an expanded platform of local govt bodies. more..

'Choose democracy over dictatorship'

Jan 7 (SO) Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya says a silver streak in the present electoral system is an imminent demand for democratizing our political parties in the immediate aftermath of the election. “There will be a compulsion for all political parties to maintain democracy over dictatorship, starting from the point of selecting candidates for elections. If the country did not move towards this, more..

All or nothing,Mr. President

Jan 7 (Island) In the view of many, President Maithripala Sirisena has made a bad decision releasing a part version of the much awaited CB Bond Commission report. Being a politician who has not been slow in taking the credit for appointing the commission in the first instance, it would have been best if he released the entire report instead of making selected excerpts public. Alternatively he should not have released the report at all. He could well have said that report was being studied, more..

A New Year; more of the same politics

Jan 7 (ST) The year 2018 has begun with some fireworks alright. President Maithripala Sirisena all guns blazing, read out the findings and recommendations of the PCoI that he had appointed to go into the CB Bond scams of 2015 and 2016. It was a scam of monumental proportions which shook the political firmament and the national conscience of this country with the advent of the new govt in those years. His address to the nation last Wednesday on the findings included more..

What’s the buzz about SL’s honey bees

Jan 7 (Roar) Bees may be small creatures, but the role that they play in the environment is a very important one. The tiny hairs found on the bodies of these insects allow them to carry pollen from one flowering plant to another, and this process—called pollination—is how seed bearing fruits, vegetables, grains and other crops grow. SL is home to nearly 150 species of bees—and 4 of these species of bee produce their own honey. more..

Just another day in paradise

Jan 7 (ST) Woke up on Thursday morning to the crackling sound of the house phone. It was my friend, good-for-nothing Arthika Perera on the line. Arthika Perera talks nonsense all the time and his economic jibber-jabber doesn’t make any sense at all. But often, he’s a good distraction from a daily, no-surprise routine as he discusses anything and everything under the sun, even on rainy days! “Machan, many things happening,” he said, eagerly. Intrigued and warming towards a goo more..

Sitting in office

Jan 7 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I should write to you to congratulate you because you are completing three years in the highest office in Paradise tomorrow. I suppose celebrations are in order but I know you are worried about what the next two years will bring, given recent developments in the Green & Blue camps. I will be honest with you, Maithri, when you won that election three years ago, no one really expected you to win. Mahinda maama was firmly in charge and he called more..


PM monitors progress of Colombo Port Project

Jan 7 (SO) Last week, PM Ranil Wicrkremesinghe visited the Port City site, which has reached the 60 percent mark of its reclamation work and is now gearing up for the next stage. He was accompanied by Minister Champika Ranawaka, Minister Eran Wickremaratne, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva and several other senior state officials. “Having revoked the sovereign rights the Chinese were given by the former regime and renegotiated the contracts, the Port City work is progressing well,” more..

Bond fiasco: SLPP saved by decision to contest separately

Jan 7 (Island) The special statement on the bond commission report made last Wednesday by President Maithripala Sirisena was, all things considered, the only statement that could have been made in the circumstances. To have expected anything else was unrealistic. The yahapalana project is something that goes beyond the President, the SLFP which he controls, and the UNP which is in an uneasy alliance with him. This is a project with many stakeholders both local and foreign and more..

Can President Maithri live up to expectations in 2018?

Jan 7 (CT) The dawn of Jan 2018 was extremely eventful, not because of usual New Year celebrations, but purely due to political developments, from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa kicking off the election campaign of SLPP to President Maithripala Sirisena's much awaited statement on the Treasury Bonds scam. However, by yesterday, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe came under the spotlight with a video of him more..

Ultimo: SL’s first dedicated lingerie label

Jan 7 (Island) Leading intimate apparel producer MAS Brands introduced designer lingerie label Ultimo to its Sri Lankan clientele this month. Ultimo was founded by celebrity entrepreneur Michelle Mone OBE in the UK in 1996; this label favoured by celebrities and discerning clients around the world is now owned by MAS Brands, which has embraced the brand’s design philosophy to create silhouettes for the unique body types of South Asian women. The UK high street brand’s design ethics more..

Thirimanne begins to ask questions again

Jan 7 (ST) Now dumped national Vice Captain Lahiru Thirimanne cracked an unbeaten 166 inclusive of 13 boundaries and two sixes as he along with Sameera de Zoysa and Shehan Fernando helped Ragama CC make a recovery on day two against CCC in the Premier League Tier ‘A’ inter-club cricket encounter played at the CCC ground. Thirimanne shared a valuable 94 runs stand with Sameera and then followed it up with another 103 runs partnership with Shehan who hit 79. more..

Domestic cricket set for complete overhaul

Jan 7 (Island) Following the national cricket team’s disastrous showing in 2017 across all formats of the game, SLC has been under the pump for messing with the domestic cricket structure. SLC’s decision to increase the number of First Class teams from 14 to 24 had drawn much criticism forcing the Sports Ministry to intervene. It resulted in a high profile committee put in place to restructure domestic cricket and the committee has now more..

Rugby brawl: SLR to hold inquiry on 9 Jan

Jan 7 (CT) Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) will conduct an inquiry into the brawl that took place after the second round inter-club match between players from Navy Sports Club and CH & FC. Navy won in a thrilling game of rugby and soon after the match ended a brawl broke out between players from both sides that was seen on television screen. Sri Lanka Rugby has decided to conduct an inquiry into this matter on 9 Jan. Navy forward Lahiru Visvajith is alleged to have been threatened by a CH more..

Fitness permitting, Mathews likes to lead

Jan 7 (ST) With the announcement of a new full-time SL limited-over skipper drawing near, it is becoming increasingly clear who is being seen as the best man for the job. Angelo Mathews resigned in June as skipper across all formats and selectors tried everyone from Upul Tharanga to Thisara Perera to lead the side. Nobody, however, has met expectations. Tharanga and Perera are now out of the equation and it is a toss between Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal to lead the side during more..

Would Hemasiri-backed faction get KO’ed?

Jan 7 (ST) Key officials of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOCSL) will lose their right to stand for the February 23 NOC election if their appointments in various National Sports Federations (NSFs) are deemed null and void for violating the Sports Law. Maxwell de Silva, NOC Secretary General, was recently elected Assistant Treasurer of the Judo Association while NOC treasurer Gamini Jayasinghe was made more..

PCoI report: President should strike with the sword now: Ranjan

Jan 7 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena should strike with his sword and take action against the wrongdoers mentioned in the PCoI report and the others engaged in large scale fraud and corruption, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said yesterday. "If the present strikes with his sword nearly 75 per cent of the MPs will be hurt. However he should go ahead and do it. He should act like Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and take stern action against the corrupt,” he said. more..

Sexual bribe sought from actress to contest from MR’s party

Jan 7 (SL) A sexual bribe had been demanded from an actress who had sought to contest the LG elections from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) headed by former President Rajapaksa. Madusha Ramasinghe said that she had decided to give up acting and enter politics. She says that she sought nominations from the SLPP to contest the Local Govt elections. However she says an official close to Rajapaksa has demanded a sexual bribe in order to ensure she is given a nomination. more..

T-Bond Probe findings welcome, action urged: Poll

Jan 7 (ST) Respondents of a opinion poll viewed positively and with optimism the long-awaited findings of the Treasury Bond Commission but were unsure as to whether the Govt would actually penalise, as promised, the named offenders. Commission in its report, sections of which were revealed by President Maithripala Sirisena in a nationwide television broadcast on Wednesday evening, passed several strictures on more..

Jetwing Symphony hotels set sights on Myanmar, Indochina

Jan 7 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Jetwing Symphony hotel group is looking to enter growing markets in Myanmar and Indochina over the next three to five years after it concludes construction of seven properties in Sri Lanka. After going public in December 2017, the hotel group began trading for the first time on the Colombo Stock Exchange on Friday, opening at 15 rupees a share, which was 1.4 times the company’s book value. The stock was soon trading at rs. 15.90 by market close. more..

Sri Lanka cuts import tax on fuel, encourages carcinogenic diesel

Jan 7 (EN) Sri Lanka has cut import duties on fuel, bringing taxes on diesel, which has been linked with cancer to a new low of only 09 rupees a litre, hitting state revenues, customs data showed. The import duty on petrol has been cut from 25 rupees to 15 rupees and diesel from 12 rupees to 9 from Dec 15. Petroleum minister Arjuna Ranatunga told parliament on Dec 8, that in addition to the import duty of 25 rupees, a litre of petrol was also charged an excise duty of 27 rupees, more..

GMOA alleges Sunset and Sunrise an eyewash

Jan 7 (DM) The GMOA alleged that the decision taken by the govt to create two separate entities called Sunset and Sunrise under the SLIIT by abolishing SAITM was a mere deception and they would not accept it. Govt on Thursday said it signed a MoU with the SAITM and the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) on Dec 30 to create two separate not-for-profit entities called Sunset and Sunrise under the SLIIT. more..

3 countries funded Kandy Expressway: PM

Jan 7 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says funds have been received from China, Japan and India for the construction of the Kandy Expressway. PM said the Japanese govt will provide funds to establish a special trade zone in Kandy adding that a Cultural and Tourist Centre will be constructed in Kandy to keep the tourists longer in the country. He added if the projects become successful a change will begin in Kandy adding as a result the stretch from Kandy to Digana will be developed. more..

FIFA World Cup trophy tour starts in SL

Jan 7 (ST) The fourth FIFA World Cup™ Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola will arrive in Colombo on Jan 23, giving Sri Lankan fans the chance to experience football’s most coveted prize. The global leg of this tour will feature Sri Lanka as the first international destination and President Sirisena will preside over the historic event. The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola kicked off in Sept 2017 in Russia and will visit more than 50 countries across six continents, travelling 126,000 km more..

President intervenes in Coal row

Jan 7 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena urged the Cabinet to strictly adhere to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka's (PUCSL) no-coal Least Cost Long-Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) for 2017-2038 when considering new power plants. President made these remarks in his written submission to the Cabinet proposal presented by Ministers Sarath Amunugama and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, more..

Navy makes major drug bust at VVT beach

Jan 7 (SLN) Following intelligent information received, Naval personnel attached to Northern Naval Command recovered 90 Kgs of Cannabis, 4 Kgs of Opium and 4 Kgs of Hashish which were hidden in Velvetithurai coastal line, during a raid carried out today (6). Recovered lot of drugs were packed in containers and it is suspected that they have been hidden for sale. Approximately Rs 30 million worth drugs lot is due to be handed over to STF - Jaffna for further legal proceedings. more..

Till brawl probe concludes: Transfer for Sapugaskanda OIC

Jan 7 (CT) The acting OIC of the Sapugaskanda Police Station, who was involved in a brawl with a Western Provincial Councillor, will be transferred out temporarily, with the approval of the Elections Commission, until the conclusion of a full investigation, Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayaka said. He said that the preliminary report observes improper behaviour on both sides with regard to the incident involving JVP Western Provincial Councillor Asoka Ranwala. more..

Thilan Wijesinghe tipped to chair SriLankan interim board

Jan 7 (ST) With the Govt accepting the resignations of the Board of Directors of the troubled SriLankan Airlines, a new interim team was preparing to take over amidst a shake-up in the airline’s top management, informed sources said. A new team will take over soon, a source close to the officials involved in the restructuring process said, adding that Thilan Wijesinghe, Chairman of National Agency for Public Private Partnerships more..

2017 tea prices hit record highs

Jan 7 (Island) SL had an extraordinary year with prices for Ceylon Tea climbing significantly above the rest of the world, John Keells Brokers said in its report commenting on price performances in 2017. Jan to Dec 2017 National Average was Rs. 618.14 per kilo compared with Rs. 468.61 — around 13% more than the price fetched in 2016. "There was a commendable increase in prices during 2017", report said. Highest gain was from Western High Growns selling 14% above market average. more..

Services of LG bodies to be enabled online

Jan 7 (NR) The payment of assessment taxes and license fees for Local Govt bodies and the approval of building licenses along with several other services have been enabled via online. Accordingly the govt noted payments could be made from home using a mobile phone or a credit card. The motive of the new process is to prevent corruption and irregularities and to save time and effort by the public. The new system is scheduled to be used in 30 selected Local Govt bodies from the 1st of Feb. more..

Govt to dispose of Hilton, Hyatt by June

Jan 7 (CT) Govt has sought the advisory services of a technical consultant to divest its 100% stakes in both the fully State-owned companies that control Colombo Hilton and Colombo Hyatt, local consultant to the Govt on these sales, Manjula de Silva said. He said that both properties are valued in the billions, but refused to give an exact figure. Advertisements seeking an international technical adviser (ITA), to help more..

No campaigning at places of worship: EC

Jan 7 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday that if any candidate contesting the LG polls, uses a place of religious worship for his election propaganda work, not only the candidate but the one in charge of the place of worship was liable for prosecution and a 7-year term of imprisonment under election laws. "Displaying posters, cutouts and banners of candidates other than at his or her election office and at a venue of a rally is not a right but more..

'Bond Scam: RS 11 billion loss recoverable'

Jan 7 (SO) The undue profits amounting to a staggering Rs. 11 billion for the period February 2015 to March 2016, as calculated by PCoI on the Bond issuance, is recoverable from Perpetual Treasuries, CB Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy said. Central Bank took steps immediately following investigations, to freeze bank accounts that were held by Perpetual Treasuries. “The company bank accounts have been suspended and their activities stopped and more..

Early Parliament session to table Bond report

Jan 7 (ST) President Sirisena chose to reveal highlights of the story behind the CB bond scam on Wednesday – part of the findings of the PCoI. That it came unusually in a pre-recorded 21-minute address to the nation gave it the status of a national issue. Yet, it was one that had drawn greater public attention countrywide. Even in villages where there was less literacy and the word bond was only associated with James Bond movies, more..

Country like no other

Jan 8 (CT) In this contemporary period of time in history never seen a people trampled, oppressed as the Sri Lankans. Perpetrators of this awful oppression are none other than their own leaders. Few see this persisting tyranny. The most unbearable is the economic oppression. Its subtle and not readily comprehensible, nonetheless impact is crushing. It’s like boulders falling on an unsuspecting people. Ordinary folk rendered impecunious for no fault of their own. more..

Happiness in the end what matters to people

Jan 8 (CT) Our parliamentary system, at a glance, was a straight forward modus operandi at the time we got independence from our colonial masters, the UK. In the past therefore we had elections and bye-elections at regular intervals. The process had been deviously transformed since 1970s, by corrupt politicians, which is far more complicated now in both theory and practice. They introduced the preferential voting system. In my view, it is not the people they represent now. more..

Bond Scam: Everyone is equal before the law

Jan 8 (SO) Several high ranking Ministers of the Govt who spoke to Sunday Observer on the Treasury bond issue opined that the manner in which it was investigated demonstrated the democratic and law-abiding nature of the Yahapalana Govt. They said, President Sirisena too has done the same thing that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe did in 2016 , i.e. referring the PCoI report to the Attorney General, more..

Maara vedey no?

Jan 8 (SO) So Jim Pappa finally let the cat out of the bag, or so he thought. Not like the rest of the Paradisians didn’t know. But our main man, Mara was playing his old trick. The trick of the double face. Yes yes you all must vote for pohottuwa ah he kept screaming. Pohottuwa only has my blessings, and la di da di da. And our fellows don’t you know, can get carried away by the satakey and the moustache no. So they all thought, yes he is the de facto leader of the Pohottu babas. more..