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Mendis special potent even in Oman

Dec 10 (ST) Six years after former SL skipper Duleep Mendis undertook to lift the standard of cricket in Oman, a team predominantly consisting of working expatriates, are now on the verge of gaining ODI status. This will be a huge milestone for a country whose cricketers are not even semi-professional. Mendis believes, come April, his charges could create history by finishing among the top four in WCL more..

Edtorial: President’s logic

Dec 10 (Island) The UNP and its allies accuse Prez Sirisena of having stabbed ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in the back, in October. He twisted the knife again the other day. In 2014, what Sirisena did to his boss, President Rajapaksa, was likened to Brutus sinking his poniard in Caesar’s back up to the cross-guard. Prez Sirisena claims that there were conspiracies against him in the yahapalana govt. If so, what he did to Ranil on 26 Oct, by way of a preemptive strike, more..

Sri Lankan democracy at the crossroads

Dec 10 (Island) The rule of law and a civil society bound by conventions of justice and Fairness are today under challenge. A democratic form of govt in which the party (or a coalition of Parties) with the greatest representation in Govt forms the Govt, its leader becoming the Prime Minister. This is the basic tenet of a Democratic Govt. So one cannot understand this bickering and unnecessary legal issues because the powers that be cannot accept what is legal and fair. more..

Six weeks since Sri Lanka's political crisis began: Where do things stand now?

Dec 10 (Roar) It has now been six weeks since the country was thrown into disarray after Prez Sirisena replaced his PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with former nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa. In the weeks that followed, legislators engaged in bitter political warfare, trying to outmanoeuvre each other in support of their candidate for the coveted position of power. But former President Mahinda Rajapaksa faced more..

Businesses need confidence to survive through the current political unrest

Dec 10 (ST) While the country is going through a dilemma of political unrest for over a month, heads of chambers are urging businesses to hold on to the situation and not to lose confidence or hope. Businesses have a very important role to play at times like this when the environment seems to be very uncertain. This emerged when the Sunday Times Business Club last week organised a timely discussion titled Managing a Business during Turbulent Times at the Kingsbury Colombo, more..

A constitutional crisis is not a dispute between monks

Dec 10 (ST) President Sirisena’s implied criticism of the Sri Lankan judiciary when speaking at the SLFP convention this Tuesday, referencing himself as the Mahanayake (seniormost prelate) of a Nikaya (chapter) being educated by the head monk of a village temple invokes strong and unequivocal condemnation in no uncertain terms. What is in issue here however is at its very core, the constitutional separation of powers involving checks and balances between the executive, more..

Vijitha Herath

Is SL’s mental health sector coming of age?

Dec 10 (CT) At a time when we desperately need positive role models to boost the flagging image of the country, an unlikely hero emerged this past week. The New York Times of 4 Dec carried a story titled After War’s End, a Long Struggle to Patch Invisible Wounds that highlights an individual who we may otherwise never have known of. While most efforts since the end of the war have been directed at rebuilding infrastructure – roads, bridges, buildings - Dr. V. Jegaruban, more..

Are we seeing the death of SLFP?

Dec 10 (CT) Former Prez Chandrika Kumaratunga is not happy these days. In fact, she indicated the same last week via letter to the Secretary General of the SLFP Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa. Kumaratunga is angry because she was not invited to the special convention that the SLFP held on 4 Dec at the Sugathadasa Stadium. In a letter to Piyadasa, which was also released to the Media, she complained that “all SLFP members have been invited except me & Kelaniya Organizer more..

'President found green camp’s snobbishness intolerable'

Dec 10 (CT) Former NP Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, says that the political crisis is because Prez Sirisena found the snobbishness in the Green camp intolerable and he was thus forced to return to his roots in the Blue camp. But the Blue camp was now different. It is no more the Blue camp which Chandrika Kumaratunga led. Still, the President felt he had to join the blue camp since he could not continue in the green camp more..

Mr. President, sorry to say, but no one is above the law

Dec 10 (ST) For five short weeks former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had flown high as the Sirisena appointed prime ministerial bird but had his wings clipped this Monday and was forced to crash down when he got a drubbing from the Court of Appeal when it issued a stay order suspending him acting in that capacity till December 12 when the matter will be taken up for argument. It not only applied to him but to all members of the Sirisena cabinet after Friday October 26. more..

Ying and Yan

Dec 10 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa issued two press releases on Dec 3. One in Sinhala, the other in English. The press release was in response to the interim stay order issued by the Court of Appeal, basically putting Rajapaksa out of the job he was unconstitutionally appointed into and hasn’t to date demonstrated any capacity to retain, even illegally. The English version was, unsurprisingly, terse and succinct. However, when juxtaposed with the Sinhala version, immediately obvious, more..

Forgotten forever!

Dec 10 (SO) Stigma and myth about mental illness has left scores of women and men destitute, rejected and forgotten by their own families. SO glimpses into the lives of women at Halfway Home, in Mulleriyawa. Women with mental illnesses are often abandoned by their families due to the stigma and the lack of mental health rehabilitation centres, Mental Health experts said. Walking down the Hospital hallway, she stands out! more..

The Sirisena Syndrome

Dec 10 (CT) What is happening in SL since Oct 26th is something unique in the country’s democracy. At no time before, the nation had been deprived of an elected govt. At no time before, since the introduction of the presidential constitution, had the country seen a president whose only consistency has been his inconsistency. At no time before, had minority parties like TNA, SLMC, and JVP been compelled by destiny to unite to save democracy in the interest of generations to come, more..

We will walk on and walk on

Dec 10 (CT) SL awaits the determination of the Supreme Court on the authority and sustainability of the President’s gazette notification dissolving parliament and scheduling fresh elections to elect a new parliament. Holding elections is not democracy. Holding elections under the rule of law is democracy. Now, the President has told us how he expected our democracy to work. In an interview he has explained why Mahanda Rajapaksa, his pick to replace Ranil Wiskremesnghe failed to garner more..

Power sector in doldrums due to Political crisis

Dec 9 (CT) A high ranking official of the CEB said, that the procurement process of the power and energy sector has come to a standstill due to the political crisis existing in the country. The reason − there is no Cabinet at present. On occasions when a Cabinet does not exist, the Standard Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) also gets annulled. The official said that a number of Tender Procedures, more..

Sri Lanka heads for govt shut down as crisis drags

Dec 9 (EN) The public sector could be at a standstill from the end of the month unless the political power struggle is ended and parliament makes urgent arrangements to meet expenditure in the New Year, officials warned Saturday. Prez Sirisena triggered the unprecedented crisis by sacking PM Ranil Wickremesinghe just 10 days before the unveiling of the on Nov 5. The disputed govt he installed has failed to announce more..

Only 18% live in urban areas in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (Island) Sri Lanka was one of the world’s least urbanized countries. Of a population of 21 million, UN Habitat 2014 The State of Sri Lankan Cities revision report says that only 18% live in urban areas. By 2050, the nation’s urban population is expected to reach only 30%. Significant challenges remain in the areas of urban planning and design, including environment and strategic city management, land and more..

SLFP goes for broad political alliance

Dec 9 (SO) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has decided to form a broad political alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and other constituent parties in the UPFA rainbow coalition including the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Communist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party, National Freedom Front and other progressive forces who are willing to join the new alliance to contest future elections. more..

Elephants now in demand for their skin

Dec 9 (SO) Recent times have seen the emergence of a dangerous trend that would adversely affect elephant populations everywhere. This is the growing demand for the skins of elephants, especially, of the Asian elephant. A study, started by an UK-based NGO called the Elephant Family, has made some startling revelations in this respect. They have carried out a detailed survey of the illegal elephant skin trade that has been more..

'Five ministry Secretaries to be summoned'

Dec 9 (NR) A group of UNF MPs have handed over a motion to the Speaker of House calling for five Secretaries to Ministries to be summoned for questioning. MP Champika Ranawaka said the motion was also handed over to the Parliament Secretary General. He said the motion calls for the five officials to be summoned before several Parliamentary committees for questioning. more..

CID-GA team leaves for HK to recover deleted recordings from Namal’s phone

Dec 9 (DM) A three-member team of the CID and Govt Analyst Department had left for Hong Kong to recover voice recordings, deleted from the Operations Director of the Anti-Corruption Force Namal Kumara’s mobile phone. The Police said two officers comprising ASP and a Chief Inspector of the CID and a Govt Analyst Department Official had left for Hong Kong Saturday night along with Namal Kumara’s phone. more..

Highways Ministry exposé: Payments for bogus employees

Dec 9 (SO) Monthly payments ranging from Rs. 25,000-Rs. 125,000 made illegally to 44 outsiders by fraudulently treating them as employees of Maga Neguma under the purview of the Highways Ministry has been exposed. Sources said that these payments had been made from January, 2016 to March, 2018 to people ranging from a manager of Marga Sathiya project, two Kandy district project coordinators, more..

100% increase in basic daily wage not sustainable: Planters’ Assn.

Dec 9 (Island) In the backdrop of the indefinite strike action launched by Trade Union (TU) leaders from Dec 4 onwards, the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) firmly reiterated the position of its membership – that a 100% increase in daily basic wages as demanded by the TUs simply cannot be sustained by the industry. "All Regional Plantation Companies pay their employees’ through what is earned as revenue; however more..

Despite political turmoil, President flies to Kilinochchi

Dec 9 (ST) President appears to believe that he still possesses the full executive powers he derived from the Constitution when he was elected to his office in Jan 2015. Three months later, he sat during a tumultuous session in Parliament and witnessed the passage of the 19th Amendment, introduced by the Govt of which he was the Head. That Amendment removed all his executive powers except three which he still enjoys: more..

Why didn’t they tell the President?

Dec 9 (Island) President appears to believe that he still possesses the full executive powers he derived from the Constitution when he was elected to his office in Jan 2015. Three months later, he sat during a tumultuous session in Parliament and witnessed the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, introduced by the Govt of which he was the Head. That Amendment removed all his executive powers except three which he still enjoys: the power to appoint ambassadors, more..

Presidential bluff and brinkmanship

Dec 9 (Island) President Sirisena is playing a desperate game of bluff and brinkmanship. He is bluffing when he gives deadlines to resolve the current state of legal non-govt and the standoff between himself and the legislature. And he is daring the UNP to dump Ranil Wickremesinghe as party leader. Anyone of the 225 legislators other than Ranil Wickremesinghe is acceptable to him as PM, but not Wickremesinghe even if he were to demonstrate unanimous support in p'ment. more..

Fire and fury at Monday’s talks with UNF leaders; compromise plans end in stalemate

Dec 9 (ST) Six weeks into the imbroglio, his efforts to talk things over and settle the exacerbating issues, ahead of a Supreme Court ruling challenging the dissolution of Parliament, ended in disaster. It was only last week the Sunday Times (political commentary) revealed how Sirisena sought a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement. This was to become the finale to issues that erupted after ousting PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, installing more..

Suspension of all payments to ministers and their staff

Dec 9 (ST) All payments to ministers and their personal staff have been suspended on a directive from the Public Administration Ministry, consequent on a Court of Appeal stay order which has restrained the functions of the ministers. Public Administration Ministry Secretary J.J. Ratnasiri said the payments to ministers, state and deputy ministers, their allowances including payments for fuel and phones, and the personal staff emoluments had been suspended from this week. more..

What next after SC ruling? Sirisena weighs options

Dec 9 (ST) With the Supreme Court ruling on the dissolution of Parliament due likely next week, President Maithripala Sirisena is weighing his options on what next. If the court rules that the dissolution is constitutional, Mr Sirisena told the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee (CC) on Friday night that he would seek an electoral alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP). If the ruling was otherwise, he said, he would consult the CC on the steps to be taken. more..

One and a half month long op. led to seizure of the second largest heroin haul

Dec 9 (ST) The second largest haul of heroin seized in SL, was detected by the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officials in the seas off Beruwala last week. The 231 kilograms of heroin with an estimated street value of more than Rs. 2,778 million was believed to have been intended for transshipment via Sri Lanka. The one and a half month long operation was coordinated between PNB, STF, SL Coast Guard and SL Navy. more..

USS John C. Stennis Leverages Logistics Hub in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (C7F) Taking advantage of a growing naval partnership with Sri Lanka, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) established a logistics hub in Sri Lanka to receive support, supplies and services at sea. A C-2 Greyhound carrier onboard delivery aircraft accessed the hub’s strategic location before bringing supplies to John C. Stennis. Established on a temporary basis in the island nation, the hub provides logistics support to U.S. Navy ships operating in Indian Ocean. more..

Worst week for T-bond market: Suffers Rs 17 billion foreign outflows

Dec 9 (CT) The country’s Treasury (T) Bond market had its worst week in the year thus far where it suffered net foreign outflows (NFOs) to the tune of a massive Rs 16,997.03 million in the week ended Wednesday, data showed. In US dollar terms, such exits are equivalent to US$ 94.88 million. They are fuelled by the political crisis of 26 October. Since then, such NFOs have amounted to Rs 51.2 billion and in dollar terms, $ 288.55 million. Such NFOs had its genesis since the beginning of May. more..

Borrowing plans undermined due to political uncertainty, as major institutions await...

Dec 9 (ST) Lending institutions that had initially pledged money to SL are now holding back till court decisions offer some clarity on the political situation, authoritative Govt sources said. “If we get the borrowing requirement to a manageable level, this situation can be managed,” said one senior finance official on condition of anonymity. “However, what has happened in the past month is that it has been made more difficult.” more..

Video: JVP will not support motion to express confidence in Ranil

Dec 9 (AD) The JVP says its MPs will not support a motion which is expected to be presented in Parliament to express confidence in UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said that the motion is being brought by the UNP and that the JVP will have no part of it. We will not get involved in this battle over the premiership or any plans to form a govt, he said. He said they will not express confidence as there is no confidence. more..

MR supporter Iraj Weeraratne says he was duped by Yukthiye Handa organizers

Dec 9 (AM) Popular singer Iraj Weeratratne, posting a selfie video from the Yukthiye Handa event last evening, lamented he was duped by organizers who said it was a gathering to promote democracy in Sri Lanka. Weeraratne, a strong supporter of former President Rajapaksa, said the event ultimately promoted the UNP and its leader Ranil wickremesinghe. The singer said some artistes, who did not wish to associate with party politics, left the event when they realized that more..