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Mahinda gets mandate from SLPP and JO for talks on Caretaker Govt

Oct 14 (ST) Two days after they met secretly to talk of a caretaker grand coalition, President Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa met again last Sunday; this time at a wedding at the luxury Grandeeza resort in Negombo. A smiling Rajapaksa who greeted the President remarked Vedey Kela Wela Neda, meaning things have misfired, haven’t they? Eka ney, or that is it, said the President. more..

'Fuel subsidy mooted in wake of recent price hike'

Oct 14 (DM) Ministry of Transport has proposed the introduction of a fuel subsidy to the people in the wake of the recent fuel price hike, State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Ashok Abeysinghe informed Parliament last morning. He gave this assurance in response to an oral question raised by Opposition MP Dayasiri Jayasekera where he inquired about the steps the govt would take to give some redress to the people in the wake of the ever increasing cost of transportation. more..

PC Elections: Political parties to disclose stance by Oct. 31

Oct 14 (DM) Political parties have reportedly agreed to inform the Election Commission prior to Oct 31 about of their stance on the conduct of provincial council elections. Party representatives met the Election Commission on Thursday and discussed ways and means breaking the current gridlock on the polls. The enactment of a new law to change the electoral system involves the complicated work of delimitation and until that is done, the elections cannot be conducted under the new law. more..

Many essential drugs being withdrawn from Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (ST) Many essential and life-saving drugs are to be withdrawn from Sri Lanka, while some have already been pulled out mainly due to price slashes imposed by National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA). With the big pharmaceutical companies terrified to talk to the media fearing repercussions, serious concern is being expressed in health circles that SL would be left with substandard & untested drugs more..

IGP likely to resign next week?

Oct 14 (SO) Amid speculation that IGP Pujith Jayasundara may hand in his resignation next week, the top cop to succeed him could be Senior DIG S.M. Wickremasinghe who served as head of the Presidential Security Division (PSD) to former Prez Rajapaksa and Prez Maithripala Sirisena. Senior DIG Wickremasinghe served as head of the PSD for nearly 12 years. Both Jayasundara and Wickremasinghe joined the SL Police as ASPs in May 1985. Since then, all their promotions, more..

Swiss Air to begin Colombo-Zurich flights

Oct 14 (CT) Swiss Air, operated by Edelweiss will commence direct flights from Colombo to Zurich, with effect from 4 November. Baurs Air Services, the General Sales Agent for SWISS and Edelweiss in Sri Lanka, said on Friday that the Edelweiss Airbus A340 will fly twice weekly between Zurich and Colombo, directly connecting the two cities. Baurs Air Services Director, Amal Peiris said it was the first time that direct flights will be operated between the two capitals. more..

Rs. 2.1 billion asked for mystery school uniform order

Oct 14 (ST) Cabinet is considering a joint ministerial request to approve a Rs. 2.1 billion payment for school uniform material ordered years ago from India by the now defunct Lanka Salu Sala. Once approved, the cloth will be distributed to schoolchildren in special circumstances. The request was contained in a joint cabinet memorandum submitted for approval last month by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and more..

India assists in developing 50 additional Model Villages across Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (IHC) India and Sri Lanka signed two MoU for construction of 1200 houses through 50 model villages, using Indian grant assistance of SLR 600 million. The MoUs were signed by Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India to SL, and Bernard Vasantha, Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Construction, in the presence of Minister Sajith Premadasa. The signing took place during a special ceremony held in Hambantota for vesting to the beneficiaries Sathsurugama more..

Pakistani nabbed with heroin worth Rs 30 million at BIA

Oct 14 (AD) A Pakistani national has been arrested at the BIA while in possession of a stock of heroin worth around Rs 30 million. 39-year-old suspect was arrested by officers of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) at the arrival area of the airport after being searched upon arriving in the country from Doha. They found approximately 2 kg and 425 g of heroin valued at Rs 30 million cleverly concealed at the bottom of the suspect’s luggage. He is to be produced before the Magistrate today (13). more..

Supreme Court exposes other criminal acts of Duminda Silva

Oct 14 (EN) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court, which upheld the death penalty of MP Duminda Silva, has also highlighted his criminal activities including the use of an automatic weapon stolen from the Elephant Pass army camp. The outgoing Chief Justice Priyasath Dep in his 51-page order noted a string of crimes, including election law violations, committed by Silva and his cohorts culminating in killing of Bharatha Lakshman more..

Wage hike calls grow stronger in Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (Hindu) As Sri Lankans grapple with rapidly soaring living costs, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament last week that the increase of oil prices is inevitable in the current global context. Fuel prices went up from six to eight rupees — 92-octane petrol costs LKR 155 (roughly Rs. 68) — slowly but steadily pushing the costs of a wide range of products and services upward. In Sept, the SL rupee hit a record low of 166 per dollar (Rs. 72.06) and has since dropped further. more..

SriLankan to be privatized?

Oct 14 (CT) In a new turn of events it has been revealed that SriLankan Airlines will be privatized, with 49% of the Management stakes expected to be under the purview of private management. Minister Lakshman Kiriella, when contacted, confirmed that a Cabinet Paper to this effect will be submitted shortly. He also said the Management will be handed over after tenders are called. Kiriella noted that this step has been taken so that the Airline will be profitable to the country and will not be a liability. more..

Thondaman to muscle political support for wage hike

Oct 14 (ST) CWC MP Arumugam Thondaman is threatening to muster support from other political parties to pose a challenge to Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) by obtaining support to increase basic wages through a budget proposal, should wage talks fail. Wage talks between the estate workers unions and the RPCs are still underway and the main party, Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) wants the basic more..

Govt writes off Rs 1.25 b in micro-finance debts

Oct 14 (SO) The proliferation of unethical lending in microfinance, in particular, has led to a crisis situation in some parts of the country. To address this, the govt has written-off micro-finance debts of more than 45,000 women that amounted to more than Rs. 1.25 billion. “It is essential that steps are taken to prevent such irresponsible lending recurring in the future,” Minister Mangala Samaraweera said at the policy forum of Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) more..

Visually handicapped Lankan cricketers runners-up

Oct 14 (ST) SL again failed to break the hoodoo in defeating India in visually handicapped cricket as they were beaten easily in the finals of the Tri Nation Cricket T20 Tournament concluded yesterday at the GCA Stadium Goa in India. SL had a easy sail to the finals when they defeated England by ten wickets in the semi finals. In the preliminary round match India managed to beat SL by one run. SL failed to carry forward the good work they did at the earlier matches and went down easily to India. more..

Bitter-sweet pill for local beverage manufacturers

Oct 14 (ST) SL govt is mulling increasing the existing tax on soft drinks and extending it to all varieties of sweetened beverages, food items and sweet meats based on its sugar content. The main aim is to reduce obesity; diabetes and the growing concern over the mounting public health expenditure on non-communicable diseases (NCD). Beverage Association of SL has noted that the sugar tax on soft drinks will more..

Sri Lanka make spirited return at Asian 7s

Oct 14 (SO) SL rediscovered some sparkling form on the opening day of the Asian Rugby 7s to win both matches, the first against China 19-12 and the second against Chinese Taipei 43-0 at the Racecourse ground in Colombo yesterday. With somewhat cool conditions ideal for fast open Sevens rugby, the Sri Lankans grabbed every opportunity that came their way and proved they were a force to reckon with and will come out today for their last group stage match against Hong Kong more..

Digital campaign to kick off next week

Oct 14 (ST) Tenders are awarded, staff trained and everyone is in the driver’s seat but the wait continues for SL Tourism’s digital campaign to take off. SL Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam said that within the next two weeks Track 1 of the digital campaign is likely to kick off showcasing footage of videos on social media sites. Track 2 of the digital campaign would involve the full blown creatives that would start from Nov 1 for a period of 6 months, more..

Malinga unsure of World Cup 2019 chance

Oct 14 (CB) If there was a possibility, Lasith Malinga enhanced his reputation as a death-bowling genius with a fine spell against England. England, who were cruising at 190 for 3 in the 37th over, were restricted to 278 for 9, with Malinga's 5 for 44 stopping the visitors from going for a final flourish. But more than enhancing his reputation, it was about giving the selectors, who had overlooked him a few months ago, more..

Anjani leaps 6.04m to seal Gold in long jump

Oct 14 (CT) In a rain hampered second day of competition, only the women’s long jump produced some thrilling contest where the National Champion Anjani Pulwansa came on top to win the gold medal at the National Sports Festival in Polonnaruwa yesterday. After losing the Western Province Games leg of the National Sports Festival, Anjani was determined to reclaim her pride at the festival but the grass track did not help any jumper to produce a 6m plus leap, until, in her last attempt where more..

Olly Stone's rise gives Eoin Morgan another good headache

Oct 14 (CI) England captain Eoin Morgan has a set of unusual dilemmas, and 25-year-old quick Olly Stone just added to them during the 31-run Duckworth-Lewis-Stern victory in Dambulla. Morgan's are problems of plenty. Good headaches, if you will. Having selected Stone, who can operate at around 145kph (90mph), as a like-for-like replacement for Liam Plunkett, who is absent for the first part of the series getting married, Morgan potentially has another good player whom more..

Courtroom drama as Duminda Silva faces death row

Oct 14 (SO) With the unanimous judgment delivered by the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court last Thursday affirming the High Court Trial-at-Bar verdict in the murder of SLFP strongman Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, ex-Monitoring MP to the Ministry of Defence Duminda Silva moves to death row in Welikada Prison. “Throughout the four hours that Duminda Silva had sat near the polling more..

Youth Olympic Games: Parami finishes third

Oct 14 (CT) Sri Lanka had hopes of their first global athletics medal in a decade, as young steeplechase runner, Parami Wasanthi Marisstella finished third in the 2000M Steeple Chase at the Youth Olympic Games 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, yesterday. The 17-year-old from Kuliyapitiya Central College clocked a personal best 6. 33.06 seconds to finished third only behind Ethiopia and Kenya who finished first and second, respectively. As per the rules of the Youth Olympic Games, more..

The caretaker kerfuffle

Oct 14 (SO) Talks about the caretaker govt appeared to have fizzled out late last week, with former President Rajapaksa dismissing the claims following several days of inspired leaks in the media that the divided factions of the SLFP had finally reached a working arrangement. Speaking to reporters, former President said he had never planned a caretaker administration. He said the discussions had been to formulate a response if such an offer was made. more..

Formation of caretaker govt: A myth or a reality?

Oct 14 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena who left for Seychelles on a two-day official visit amidst speculations of forming a Caretaker Govt with the help of arch rival Mahinda Rajapaksa, returned to Colombo on Wednesday (10) morning as the Joint Opposition was debating the idea of joining hands with Sirisena. Prez Sirisena, who paid a two-day State visit to Seychelles on the invitation of his Seychelles counterpart, Danny Faure, more..

Our cricket has not grown with the time, says Kumara Dharmasena

Oct 14 (ST) There are only a few cricketing personalities in SL who have reached the pinnacle of cricket in their afterlife and ICC elite umpire Kumara Dharmasena is one such greats. Sunday Times had the opportunity of taking a peek at his vast cricket knowledge which he explained in his own inimitable style. Sadly Dharmasena thinks that Sri Lanka cricket has a cue missed in its development plans and we still are in the formative set-up in comparison to countries like more..

MPs fiddle with Constitution-making while fuel prices burn the populace

Oct 14 (ST) The Constitution-making process in the country, like most other things, is off track. While the Govt began its Constitutional process in January 2016, a move which hasn’t made much headway, the JVP introduced the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to Parliament last month, only to have most of its clauses shot down by the Supreme Court (SC) this week. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced the SC’s determination to Parliament on Tuesday, in which the 3-member Bench of more..

'මෛත්රී නින්දිත විදිහට බැසිල්ගේ දෙපාලග වැටුණා'

I-don’t-know craze

Oct 14 (ST) The rain had taken a breather on Thursday morning and yours truly was taking a break with Kussi Amma Sera’s piping hot cup of tea when rudely interrupted by the loud shrill of the land line. Karapincha Perera, the tea-kade gossip, was on the line and wanting to discuss the rising fuel prices. “It’s only going one way – up and away,” he said, referring to the latest hike in local fuel prices. International oil prices had risen to US$84.71 (Brent crude price) on Wednesday and more..

Biting the hand that fed you

Oct 14 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I should write to you when I heard that you had met Mahinda maama and Basil for a chat at SB’s home last week to try and see whether you could work together and oust the Greens from the govt. Many were shocked to hear that but knowing you, I don’ think they were surprised. Meeting created quite a stir, with some newspapers & media outlets saying that a caretaker govt with Mahinda maama as PM was imminent. Since then, nothing much has happened. more..

LGBT are also humans

Oct 14 (CT) Sections 365 and 365A of the Penal Code (PC) of SL affects the fundamental ideals of freedoms and rights people inherit when they are born because they are born equal and free, expressed Niluka Perera, a Human Rights activist and regional coordinator for Youth Voices Count at a discussion on the Path to Reform organized by EQUAL GROUND on 4 Oct. Section 365 refers to carnal intercourse between same-sex more..

Pus vedilla

Oct 14 (Island) Attempts to get rid of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP out of the govt by an arrangement between Prez Sirisena’s SLFP rump and the former president’s SLPP has now fizzled out. It is unlikely that those from the SLFP who once aligned with Sirisena, and were duly rewarded with ministerial positions and National List places in Parliament even though they had been rejected by the electors, will now try to maneuver a budget defeat for the govt come November. more..

Indian Ocean: Need for a National Security Advisor

Oct 14 (ST) With Sri Lanka’s proposal at the 26th UN General Assembly sessions to declare the Indian Ocean a Zone of Peace (IOZOP) now submerged in history, these seas have seen an escalation of tension and muscle-flexing by countries with large navies and an eye for securing trade routes in the future. All said and done about modern long distance transportation, maritime transportation is still seen as the mode of moving goods in the future. more..

Crisis in Sri Lanka: When the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable

Oct 14 (Island) The rupee touched Rs. 173 to the dollar and fuel prices were increased for the fifth time this year. The Elections Commissioner held yet another meeting to explain to political party leaders why elections could not be held to the Provincial Councils that were one by one ceasing to exist as their terms expired. The Central and North-Western Provincial Councils ceased to exist earlier this month and the Northern PC more..

20A will retain President’s essential authority

Oct 14 (CT) The Supreme Court ruling on the proposed Draft Bill of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is that some Articles of the Bill should be approved both by a referendum and by two-third majority of Parliament while certain Articles only by a special majority. Articles 2-16, 19-23, 26-30, 32, 34-37 are ruled to be passed with a special majority as well as by a referendum. Moreover, Articles 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and 33, of the Bill can be passed only by a special majority of Parliament. more..

Social media against sexual harassment

Oct 14 (SO) Some of our great religious teachers, greatest philosophers, poets, writers and other intellectuals have raised it, discussed it and, prescribed for it, and done so for millennia, but, the sexual harassment of women by men continues. It also continues to be challenged and, perhaps, as never before, by the women victims themselves. A new, powerful, challenge began last year in the American entertainment industry shaming dozens of male showbiz legends, and unseating more..