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No Confidence

Mar 25 (Island) A little over three years after the stunning election, where former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was dethroned by a coalition of disparate forces and Maithripala Sirisena crowned with the presidency, the April 4 date has been set for the motion of no confidence against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. While the contending forces are busy claiming victory for themselves, one UNP grandee is on the record saying that the outcome is as certain as the sun and the moon, more..

Big milestone, big challenges for Colombo’s first female mayor

Mar 25 (SO) Mayor Rosy Senanayake has her work cut out for her in the city of 700,000 people and she carries an additional burden to showcase that women in roles of political leadership can make a difference The new councillors of the Colombo Municipal Council gathered up at the Town Hall on Thursday, to welcome Mayor elect Rosy Senanayake on the occasion of her assumption of duty. She was accompanied to office by her more..

Confusion, chaos within National Disunity Govt

Mar 25 (ST) The labour pains are over; the proposed no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has finally been delivered. A few Govt ministers and loads of JO MPs had been straining every sinew to collect sufficient signatures to file the motion. On Wednesday, some of them trooped into the Speaker’s chamber and handed over the document with 55 signatures. The PM’s side had met the challenge with some gusto, calling for an early debate and collecting more more..

Poor, Matter

Mar 25 (CT) Yesterday our newspaper highlighted that a project to save children’s lives has been thwarted due to anaesthetists demanding equal pay, similar to that which is paid to heart surgeons. The project, Little Heart Project, implemented by the State-owned Lady Ridgeway Hospital, is a philanthropic endeavour to treat children afflicted with congenital heart disease (CHD). It’s part funded by Rotary International. And there lies the problem because of money coming into play. more..

LTTE convict seeks Presidential Pardon

Mar 25 (CT) “Anna went to observe the last rituals for Amma, along with everyone else. I remained seated on Appa’s lap. After sometime Appa had to get up and go, to get into the bus, I was left alone, I didn’t know what to do, so I ran behind Appa and tried to get into the bus with him,” little Sangeetha explained in a choking voice trembling with uncertainty. It was an emotionally-charged moment for all those who witnessed little Sangeetha more..

Slightly older

Mar 25 (ST) My dear Green Man, I didn’t think I will be writing to you again so soon but now I am because Mahinda maama’s chaps have submitted a motion of no-confidence against you. If they get that through Parliament you can lose the job you wanted so much after languishing for more than decade as the Opposition Leader. You say that you are confident you will survive this latest challenge thrown at you. In fact, the Greens passed a vote of confidence for you the other day. more..

Will sacrificing RW help the UNP?

Mar 25 (Island) The no confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken the political centrestage. In normal circumstances, this no confidence motion need not have been taken seriously at all. The UNP has 106 MPs and their allies the TNA has 17 and that alone would have sufficed to render the no confidence motion redundant even before it was taken up for debate. But this no confidence motion was not presented in parliament under normal circumstances. more..


It’s anybody’s guess yet facts speak for themselves

Mar 25 (ST) These are trying times for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. While there are growing calls for meaningful reforms within the UNP, which he has led since 1994, his political opponents are eager to see the back of him, and are counting on winning a No-Confidence motion against him, which would force him out of office. On Wednesday, the JO Group in Parliament, handed in the No-Confidence motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. The motion was signed by 51 MPs including 4 from the SLFP, more..

Sri Lanka’s unfolding power struggle

Mar 25 (SO) One fascinating dimension of the current political developments in SL is the maturing power struggle between three groups of the Sinhalese political class. They are led by three prominent political personalities, President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and ex-President Rajapaksa. The last LG election, held a few weeks ago, marked the first occasion presented to these three groups to compete with each other in the public arena for popular support. more..

Crucial times ahead as clock started ticking on PM Ranil

Mar 25 (CT) In what appears like rubbing salt on the wound the SLMC indicated it is running out of patience with the coalition partner UNP of which, leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is facing a threat of losing party reins due to increasing demand within the party for him to step down in addition to being threatened with a No-faith Motion in Parliament challenging his Premiership. SLMC Leader, Minister Rauff Hakeem, after more..

Match Referees report

Mar 25 (CT) After an eventful and dramatic Nidahas Trophy clinched by India off the final ball of the game, cricket has reached a much needed calmness. International cricket surrounding the Lankan’s will now be on hold until the tour of the West Indies which is scheduled to happen in June 2018. During this break my attention is drawn to a very contentious issue and that is the ruling of match referee Chris Broad on the Bangladesh players. I say contentious because that is exactly what more..

Seeing red in blue-green Lanka

Mar 25 (ST) An agitated Kussi Amma Sera was red in the face (anger, not embarrassment) after something she appeared to have read in Thursday morning’s newspaper. A vociferous reader, peering occasionally to see the big print with an old set of spectacles, she spends at least 30 minutes in the morning while preparing tea scanning the headlines of the paper like any smart reader and then selects what she should read and what should be passed on. This morning, she is involved in more..

Tax on interest income from 2017 budget

Mar 25 (ST) Confusion and concern surround a tax that is being enforced from April 1 on all interest-earning deposits that also applies to foreign remittances, a tax which is overdue by almost a year in its implementation. The 5% tax cut on interest income of savings accounts in banks and other financial institutions as withholding tax (WHT) will come into effect from April 1, according to a circular issued by the Inland Revenue Department more..

Pakistan white wash Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (ST) The Pakistan bowling attack, led by Sana Mir and Nashra Sandhu, rattled Sri Lanka in the third and final match of the ICC World Championship ODI series to help Pakistan complete a 3-0 sweep with a 108-run win in Dambulla. Pakistan posted 215/9 on the back of a steady Nahida Khan innings from the top and useful contributions from Javeria Khan, Bismah Maroof, Sidra Ameen and Nida Dar, which was followed by a brilliant bowling show that shot SL out for 107 more..

Virat’s arrogant India & Rohit’s amiable India

Mar 25 (Island) There were sensational scenes at RPS last Sunday as the Indian cricket team did a victory lap thanking the Sri Lankan fans for the enormous support they received during the Nidahas Trophy final against Bangladesh. The Indians should know that we Sri Lankans are good at backing the common candidate if we were unable to field someone of our own for the final contest. It had happened twice before. Percy joined the victory lap as well and for a brief moment Rohit Sharma more..

Cricket AGM on May 20

Mar 25 (ST) The elective Annual General Meeting of the country’s richest sports body Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is fixed for May 20, six months after its two-year term ended in January this year, the Sunday Times learns. Nominations will begin four weeks before the date of election and close a fortnight in advance. The decision was taken at a recent Executive Committee meeting. SLC is yet to send the notice of AGM to the membership. more..

We will address over-rate issue: Labrooy

Mar 25 (Island) Chairman of Selectors Graeme Labrooy has promised to address the slow over rate issue after the Sri Lankans were penalized for a third time within ten months with players receiving hefty fines and captain Dinesh Chandimal being handed a two match suspension a fortnight ago. The time allocated to complete an innings in T-20 cricket is 85 minutes but the Sri Lankans spent up 107 minutes to complete the 20 overs as they failed to defend a safe total of 214 against Bangladesh more..

Daniels bowl Joes to victory

Mar 25 (ST) Half tons by Revan Kelly and Nipun Sumanasinghe laid the foundation before the right-arm pace and spin duo Jehan Daniel and Ashen Daniel shared eight wickets to help St. Joseph’s to record a convincing 87-run win over traditional rivals St. Peter’s in their 44th Battle of the Saints limited over encounter played at the SSC ground yesterday. The morning session of proceedings saw St. Joseph’s taking first lease of the wicket, losing their first wicket on 24. more..

Pakistan- Sri Lanka leaders met

Mar 25 (PSL) Leaders of Sri Lanka and Pakistan pledged to move forward joining hands in brotherhood in achieving economic prosperity while further strengthening the long standing bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. President Sirisena who is on an official visit to Pakistan met with Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain today (24) and during that meeting both leaders agreed on this. more..

Dengue down by 50% so far this year

Mar 25 (Island) Health Ministry said that the total number of dengue patients from the beginning of the year till Wednesday was over 13,300. Above number represented a more than 50% drop in dengue cases compared to the number of cases recorded during the same period last year. National Dengue Control Unit, in collaboration with the armed forces, conducted a two- day control programme within the Western Province and high risk areas in Batticaloa District on Thur & yesterday. more..

Kurunegala only district with Thalassemia patients reported from all its DS areas

Mar 25 (Island) Kurunegala was the only district with thalassemia patients reported from all its divisional secretariats, Parliament was told. No other district in the country had thalassemia patients in all their divisional secretariat areas. Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr Rajitha Senratne said that as of now a total of 665 patients had been reported from the Kurunegala District. He said so responding to a question raised by UNP MP Thushara Amarasena. MP Amarasena, representing the Kurunegala more..

Rajanganaya Reservoir drinking water project still in progress: MONLAR

Mar 25 (DM) Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform (MONLAR) claimed that the constructions of the proposed drinking water supply project based on the Rajanganaya Reservoir was still in progress despite statements made by the authorities that it had been suspended. MONLAR member Sajeewa Chamikara said that claims on the suspension of the said project was completely inaccurate and added that no such order more..

JO highlights danger of Indian footwear giant in Sri Lanka market

Mar 25 (Island) Minister Malik Samarawickrama told Parliament that discussions were underway to amend laws that allowed foreigners to invest USD 250,000 and set up factories, which threatened the local manufacturers. He said so in answer to a question raised by MP Bandula Gunawardena on BoI approval for project by an Indian company to manufacture shoes in SL. MP asked Minister on what basis the said company had been given approval to manufacture shoes in Sri Lanka more..

House approves motion to increase judges' salaries

Mar 25 (DM) A motion to increase the salaries of the Chief Justice and Supreme Court and Appeal Court judges was unanimously passed in Parliament without a debate. House Leader Lakshman Kiriella inquired into the possibility of approving the motion and JO MP Bandula Gunawardane said his group was agreeable. No objections were raised from the other opposition groups as well. Motion states that the pensionable allowance of the mentioned judicial officers would be increased by up to 50% more..

LIOC raises fuel prices; CPC defers decision

Mar 25 (ST) Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) increased petrol and diesel prices yesterday, citing heavy losses, but the State-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation pledged to maintain prevailing rates despite dire warnings by economists that the continued fuel subsidy was plunging the country into a crisis. The CPC was also incurring massive losses owing to subsidised fuel sales, Chairman Dammika Ranatunga said. more..

TRC allows release of Hutch’s 4G equipment

Mar 25 (ST) After some three months delay, Hutchison Telecommunications in Colombo is able to clear its 4G equipment at the Colombo Port. Telecom regulator, TRC signed the crucial documents this week to get the equipment released at the Port, according to Hutchison sources. They were unable to launch the new 4G technology owing to absurd bureaucracy by the telecom regulator perpetrated by a state owned mobile operator, which was looking to buy out Hutchison, they said. more..

New system to submit docs relating to Lankans deceased abroad

Mar 25 (DM) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the Ministry of Home Affairs, has introduced a new system through which relatives of Sri Lankans deceased abroad are allowed to submit identity documents, affidavits, and other documentation relating to the repatriation of human remains or conduct of last rites, through Divisional Secretariats islandwide. The ministry said that the relatives of the deceased person were required to submit such documents to more..

Governors to switch provinces; North to get its first Tamil governor

Mar 25 (ST) Govt has decided to effect a mid-term voluntary transfer scheme of all serving governors in keeping up with the Government’s policy of ensuring an effective public administration system, an officials said. All serving governors who have completed three years of service in their respective provinces were called for a meeting on Thursday shortly before President Sirisena flew to Islamabad and the proposal was discussed. more..

Milk powder prices up

Mar 25 (SO) Permission has been granted by the Committee on Cost of Living, to increase powdered milk by Rs. 80 in the near future, the Consumer Affairs authority said. Importers and distributors of powdered milk had requested the authority to allow a price increase due to the price hike of the product in the int'l market. The decision of the committee was informed to the Consumer Affairs authority on Friday Director General of the authority D. Jeevananda said. more..

Rupee falls by Rs 4.05 to Rs 157.88

Mar 25 (CT) The exchange rate’s selling price for telegraphic transfer (TT) among commercial banks fell to its lowest ever value of Rs 157.88 to the US dollar Friday, down three cents over its previous close on 22 March, due to Avurudu import pressure as reflected by its fall of between five and 10 cents at the 22 March spot. Year on year, as at yesterday, rupee for TT has fallen by Rs 4.05 (2.63%), thereby driving up inflation as Sri Lanka is an import dependent economy. more..

Namal did not have valid visa: US Border Control

Mar 25 (SO) Namal Rajapaksa who is indicted in SL on money-laundering charges, did not have a valid visa to travel to the US, the US Govt said after the young MP was prevented from boarding a flight to Texas from Moscow’s Domodedovo Int'l Airport last week. “Mr Namal Rajapaksa, 31, did not have a valid visa to travel to the US and without valid travel documents, airline carriers do not normally allow more..

Ranil drops bombshell on Cambridge Analytica overture

Mar 25 (SO) PM disclosed that the UNP had been approached by controversial British political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica prior to the Jan 2015 elections, even though the party had declined the overture. “I recently read on the scandal where Cambridge Analytica used the data of 50 million Facebook profiles to influence the outcome of the US Presidential election. I must say Cambridge Analytica came here and canvassed me also to get work for UNP. Fortunately we did not use it” more..

Over 10,000 nabbed in pre-dawn Police swoop

Mar 25 (CT) Some 10,395 persons were nabbed in a massive crackdown on errant motorists and criminal elements during the early hours of last morning. More than 15,000 policemen, assisted by commandos from the STF and aided by sniffer dogs searched targeted areas in several parts of the country, in a four-hour pre-dawn operation that started at 4 a.m. Among those arrested were 1,031 persons who had been evading warrants for their arrests, 800 criminal suspects, more..

Numbers game intensifies as no-confidence motion is presented

Mar 25 (ST) Obathumaatath mekeng sweep ekak vedenna puluwang or you also can win a sweep ticket through this, remarked JO MP Wimal Weerawansa as Dinesh Gunawardena handed a copy of the No-Confidence Motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. He was not too pleased with the remark that hinted that he could become PM ousting Wickremesinghe. Mama oya sweep ticket walata more..

Sirisena brazenly waltzes with Mahinda

Mar 25 (Island) Imagine if appointment of a Head of the FBI was scuttled because the Mafia objected! Sarath Fonseka was denied appointment as Law & Order Minister, the President said, because DIGs and senior policemen, who SF alleges are drug-runners and villains, objected. The real reason however is that Prez Sirisena, now imploring Basil and Mahinda for I don’t know what, will not appoint a Minister who will drag scoundrels of the previous regime before prosecutors & magistrates. more..

Heading towards constitutional anarchy?

Mar 25 (Island) In the 1950s in Ceylon, there was the university entrance exam, conducted by the University of Ceylon annually, to select students for entry to that university. There were no G.C.E. A-Levels then. One of the subjects for this exam was called Govt. Those who sat for this subject read the Constitution of Ceylon by Ivor Jennings. Jennings was the author of the Sri Lankan Constitution of 1948, and it was first hand analysis of the constitutional provisions of 1948. more..

'Modi govt officials look at Sri Lanka differently... without understanding'

Mar 25 (IE) At the peak of the war against the LTTE, then defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the most feared and powerful man in Sri Lanka. UNHRC had asked SL to probe war crimes in which Gotabaya was accused. Nearly a decade later, the 68-year-old is being talked about as a possible presidential candidate, with brother Mahinda Rajapaksa not able to contest again due to the constitution’s upper limit of two terms. more..

For the first time, Buddhist prelate in state delegation

Mar 25 (ST) Sri Lanka’s foreign policy initiatives have gone one notch higher with the inclusion of a member of the Buddhist clergy in a delegation for top level talks between President Sirisena and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. This is the first time in seven decades that a cleric has been included in an official delegation by a head of state or head of govt, said a Foreign Ministry official who did not wish to be named. more..

New tax system to change investment landscape

Mar 25 (SO) The new Inland Revenue Act which takes effect from next week (April 1) will strengthen the country’s business climate and attract more foreign direct investments. The Act will create a level playing field for everyone to do business, moving away from the culture of preferential treatment. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera last week said, he hoped the new act will help bring a paradigm shift to taxation in the country that more..