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Cost for LG bodies doubles with increase in members

Feb 11 (ST) With the conclusion of LG elections yesterday at a cost of around Rs. 4 billion, the expenditure of maintaining 340 local authorities has been almost doubled as the number of elected members has gone up to 8,356 from 4,486, previously. The Treasury will be facing an uphill task of allocating money for the recurrent expenditure of billions of rupees to maintain the poor revenue generating, MCs, UCs and PSs, more..

Sri Lanka Tourism sees Mumbai as market for high growth

Feb 11 (ST) Sri Lanka Tourism started off its 2018 tourism calendar with a positive output by participating in the 5th edition of the India International Travel & Tourism Exhibition –IITT 2018. “It was a resounding success with more than 28,000 enthusiastic visitors and more than 500 fully hosted buyers who attended the event” a media release issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau stated. This travel extravaganza was held from January 11 to 13. more..

People who ate hoppers with us are turning up against us: Maxwell

Feb 11 (Island) National Olympic Committee Secretary Maxwell de Silva during a media briefing earlier this week claimed that the allegations directed towards the NOC on financial irregularities as baseless. NOC elections will take place on the 23rd Feb at the Olympic House auditorium after the Auditor General had cleared all accounts of the NOC. "People who were with us and who ate hoppers with us have turned against us," De Silva told tongue in cheek during media briefing. more..

High Altitude Training Centre to become a reality soon

Feb 11 (ST) Govt will soon sign the financial agreement with the French govt to construct the multi-billion rupee high altitude training center at the Nuwara Eliya Race Course, Sports Ministry sources confirmed. The finance agreement which has been approved by the Finance Ministry has been sent to the legal draftsman for their evaluation. The project needs Cabinet approval before signing the financial agreement by the two govts. more..

Davis-Cup tie we should have won

Feb 11 (ST) A reduced format of Davis Cup was introduced into Group II by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) this year. It is a format we could capitalise on, as we do not have ATP Tour players. In the new format, matches are best of 3 Sets and the tie is played over 2 days. Unless Singles players are also playing Doubles, the format is easy to accommodate. The depth of good players matters in team events. This is what we do not have, to win. We played Thailand last Sunday, and lost. more..

Sri Lanka Golf tees off on talent quest

Feb 11 (ST) The Sri Lanka Golf Union (SLGU), in its quest to find talent across the country, has launched 4 Golf Academies in strategic locations. The programme commenced in August 2017, in a partnership with HSBC Future Lions, when the inaugural HSBC International Sri Lanka Junior Golf Championship was held at the Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC). Today, the SLGU maintains a Colombo Academy at Welisara, a Kandy Academy at Victoria Golf & Country Club (VGCC), more..

Malinga still in our game plans says chief selector Labrooy

Feb 11 (ST) As seamer Lasith Malinga mulls retirement from international cricket after being consistently snubbed for national selection to build a career in mentoring, but chief cricket selector Graeme Laboory did not rule out a possible Malinga return depending on his form and fitness. “He is very much in our game plan,” he said. “We have not written him off completely. If he can prove his form and fitness in domestic cricket, more..

Sri Lanka may score after ICC – Indian govt disagreement on tax exemptions

Feb 11 (ST) The ICC has decided to explore alternatives venues for the 2021 Champions Trophy to be held in India because of an ongoing tax issue with the Indian govt. All major sporting events receives tax exemption but Indian govt has refused to honour the request despite efforts by the ICC and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). “The Board expressed their concern around the absence of a tax exemption from the Indian Govt for ICC events held in India despite more..

Dialog profits up 153% in Dec

Feb 11 (EN) Dialog Axiata, a mobile and fixed wireless operator with pay TV service said profits in the Dec 2017 quarter grew 153 percent from a year ago to 3.2 billion rupees, helped by stronger mobile revenues and lower finance costs on reduced currency depreciation. The company reported earnings of 39 cents a share in the quarter in accounts filed with the CSE. In the year to December 2017, earnings were 1.32 rupees a share on total profits of rs. 10.8 billion, up 19.3%. more..

Bit of Mr. Cricket in Roshen Silva

Feb 11 (Island) In Hollywood thriller Rambo, actor Sylvester Stallone who plays the role John Rambo – a US Special Forces solider – accomplishes his missions with little trouble. Rambo is well trained on survival, weaponry, hand-to-hand combat and guerrilla warfare and the challenges that come his way are child’s play to him. Roshen Silva reminds you of Rambo as he has been well seasoned in domestic and ‘A’ team cricket more..

Fighting for migrant workers

Feb 11 (ST) Missing, or rather, not enough attention has been given to the rights of female migrant workers and their status in society in the just-concluded election campaign for local authorities. Our attention was drawn to this one morning when Kussi Amma Sera, preparing the morning cup of tea, said: Mahattaya, apey pitarata rassawata yana lamei gena kisi kathawak nehe me chande kaale? Eh, I asked but before waiting for a long, drawn response during a busy week, more..

Rangana & Akila rewrite record books

Feb 11 (CI) Rangana Herath went past Wasim Akram to become the most prolific left-arm bowler in Test history when he dismissed Bangladesh's last wicket. Akram took 414 wickets at an average of 23.62 in 104 matches. Herath, on the other hand, was playing only the 89th Test of his career. New Zealand's Daniel Vettori is third on this list with 362 wicket from 113 matches. Chaminda Vaas, Mitchell Johnson and Zaheer Khan are the only other left-armers to take at least 300 Tests wickets. more..

Poll could go 3 ways with SLPP leading: Survey

Feb 11 (ST) The Mahinda Rajapaksa-controlled SLPP was seen garnering more support than the UNP or the UPFA led by President Maithripala Sirisena at yesterday’s LG elections, a survey reveals. By the time these survey results are read today, based on an opinion poll conducted earlier this week, many results of the election to 340 local authorities would have already come in. The survey was conducted on email more..

Mahmudullah defends batsmen's intent and positive approach

Feb 11 (CI) Bangladesh's attacking approach was the right choice, stand-in captain Mahmudullah has said after his side were shot out for 110 and 123 in a span of of 24 hours. Bangladesh lasted a total of 75.1 overs in the Test, with many of their batsmen taking a lot of risk on a pitch aiding spin. Even on the third day, when a more sensible approach to chase 349 was warranted, the batsmen preferred to attack. Mahmudullah said that defending stoutly wouldn't have taken his team anywhere, more..

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando Saga: Why Bravado Must Be Calculated

Feb 11 (SO) Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, an officer attached to the 59th brigade during the final phase of war, suddenly found himself in a controversy this week, following a gesture he showed to a group of Tamil protesters in front of the SL High Commission building in London. Fernando, a battle-hardened soldier who is now the Defence Attache of SL HC in London, was understandably annoyed when the protestors kept demeaning the SL Armed Forces and their military victory over the LTTE. more..

Herath isn't battling father time, he has cut a deal with him

Feb 11 (CI) How long can he keep going? No, really. Rangana Herath is 40 in five weeks. By that age, Wasim Akram - the man he has just passed to become the most-successful left armer - had been retired for three years. Daniel Vettori, next-best on that list, is in fact 10 months younger than Herath and had anyway been a tied-together collection of limbs towards the end of his career. Herath has been complaining of more..

Yesterday’s National Referendum

Feb 11 (ST) Yesterday’s country-wide LG elections were anything but about pot-holed council roads, street lighting, clogged waterways, garbage disposal or combating dengue. Neither had it to do with issues that are not in the domain of local councils but impact the lives of rural voters such as providing fertiliser to farmers or jobs for the jobless. For the political leadership of this country, however, it was an unofficial national referendum on the three-year-old National Unity Govt. more..

Diplomatic muddle

Feb 11 (ST) My dear Brigadier, I thought I must write to you this week, although most people hadn’t heard of you just a week ago. Now however, you have become instantly famous. Everyone is talking about you and what you did in London on independence day – much more than what you did at the height of the Eelam war! All this fuss is because you were at our HC in London when some protestors staged a demonstration in support of Eelam and were saying their hero was Prabhakaran. more..

Abandoned mental health patients find a home at NIMH

Feb 11 (CT) "How is this? Beautiful, isn't it?" While taking my hand, she pointed at a beautifully constructed pond. In the crystal clear water, there were a few lotus blossoms. The flowers were swaying in the wind and ornamental fish were swimming and resting under the lotus leaves. "Yes, it is very beautiful and modern looking," I replied. She smiled warmly. But there was also sadness behind that smile. more..

The Auditor General’s revelations about public debt

Feb 11 (Island) On Wednesday Feb 7, the day on which campaigning closed for the LG elections, the Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe called a media conference and made several explosive statements about Sri Lanka’s state of indebtedness. His statement received wide publicity over all TV channels. The Auditor General distributed a document titled Public Debt Management in Sri Lanka dated Feb 2, 2018 to journalists at this media briefing. more..

Elections peaceful; how did women’s quotas, hybrid voting work?

Feb 11 (SO) The biggest, ever, exercise in republican democracy on this island is under way with the voting phase accomplished yesterday with the lowest levels of disruption and violence in decades. Several generations of citizens, with their experience of many varied elections past will appreciate the very marked down turn in disruption and violence per election since the National Unity coalition took governmental power. By tomorrow, citizens will know their governmental and more..

Ven. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera, a nature lover

Feb 11 (SO) The untimely death of the most Ven Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera earlier this week has deeply saddened the nation. A respected prelate, his loss has now been overshadowed by various rumours regarding the cause of his untimely death. Despite the repeated denials of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya and by the priest himself prior to his death, rumours continue to circulate that his death was caused by more..

Post Polls

Feb 11 (CT) Sri Lanka has come a long way since the 1977 Parliamentary Poll held 41 years ago which election, post polls, was marred by violence. But since then Sri Lanka has held scores of plebiscites in the form of LG elections, such as the one which concluded yesterday as well as provincial council elections, presidential elections, parliamentary elections and one referendum. However, none of those elections, post polls, has been blighted with violence, at least of a serious nature. more..

Local elections

Feb 11 (Island) By the time you read this newspaper, the total picture of how the LG elections countrywide went for the different contenders would be known. The overall results were not out when we went to press and what we are able to offer in terms of results is much less that a total picture due to exigencies of press times. The electronic media is at a distinct advantage over the print medium in this respect and most people will learn the results over the radio and television while more..

PM says new electoral system peaceful

Feb 10 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the pre-poll period for local govt bodies, had been peaceful following electoral reforms and fully under the control of an independent commission, allowing people to cast their votes freely. "We did not see the acts seen during the time there were preference votes. There was no violence," PM said in a statement. He said there were no irregular inducements to voters more..

Dananjaya takes five as SL clinch series

Feb 10 (CI) Bangladesh plunged, Sri Lanka's spinners soared and the Mirpur Test tore to its conclusion midway through day three, the visitors triumphing by 215 runs. Debutant Akila Dananjaya was prime destroyer. He scythed rapidly through the Bangladesh lower-middle order, taking 5 for 24 to make it eight wickets on debut - the best performance by a Sri Lankan on debut. Charge to victory was also sweet for Rangana Herath, more..

Leading Buddhists thank Naseby for putting the record straight

Feb 10 (Island) The Buddhasasana Karyasadhaka Mandalaya (BKM), an independent non-governmental national level organization comprising of 14 leading Buddhist monks and Presidents of 14 national level Buddhist organizations, has written to the Lord Naseby, House of Lords of the UK, thanking him for pointing out to the British Parliament that it is incorrect for the British govt to prejudge Sri Lanka in terms of more..

Bankrupting Sri Lanka: Govt’s net borrowings up 121%

Feb 10 (CT) Govt's net borrowings in the calendar year to 8 Feb, in Rupee terms, increased by a massive 120.63% (Rs 177,393.78 million) to Rs 324,450.99 million, year on year, interpretation of official data showed. Last year, during the same period, Govt's net borrowings amounted to a mere Rs 147,057.21 million. The probable reason in increased borrowings may be adduced from what PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..

PM asks local investors to open their pockets

Feb 10 (CT) Foreign investors will open their pockets only after local investors open theirs, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on 8 Feb. Speaking at a Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CASL) function, he said that foreign investors are first looking at the Govt of Sri Lanka and the private sector before making their next move. Wickremesinghe, however, said that because of govt's huge debt servicing commitments, more..

SL's uneasy coalition faces local vote test

Feb 10 (EN) Brisk polling was under way in Sri Lanka Saturday in the LG elections seen as a crucial test for the uneasy coalition of President Maithripala Sirisena. Long queues formed as polling began at 7.00 am along the north western, western and southern provinces while enthusiastic voting was also noted in the northern province according to officials and poll monitors. Saturday’s vote is the first conducted by the newly-established more..

NCPA Chairperson and Ministry locked in tussle

Feb 10 (DM) Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Marini de Livera stressed she would not attend any illegal board meetings or succumbed to pressure to anything that was detrimental to the interests of the NCPA Livera referring to a board meeting which had been convened by the Secretary to the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (WCAM) on Wednesday (7), at Ministry premises, said it contravened more..

China's insatiable love for Pangolins puts island on alert

Feb 10 (DM) The talk of the town among wildlife enthusiasts in SL is that the pangolin is under threat! The earliest evidence relating to the existence of this animal dating back to the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs suggests that the pangolin has survived for a very long time. Researchers have found pangolin fossil from rocks during these periods in Cape Province, Africa. But as at today they are walking faster towards extinction. more..

How not to get a date for Valentine’s Day

Feb 10 (Roar) Valentine’s Day is coming up—a day for love and romance and chocolates and over-priced dinners at garishly decorated hotels. If you do have a significant other, that is. If you do not, it’s probably better for your bank account if you stay home and Netflix and chill. By yourself. But if you do want a date in time for Valentine’s day, we have a few suggestions for how you should not go about it. Whatever plans you have inside of your more..

'Sri Lanka needs a good balancing act'

Feb 10 (DM) Sri Lanka, strategically positioned in the Indian Ocean, is well in the spheres of attention of the world powers. China, on the one hand, has linked up with Sri Lanka for Strategic Partnership Cooperation. Envisaged here is the collaboration for China’s Belt and Road Initiative that seeks to enhance greater connectivity with the rest of the world. Against the backdrop, there is the emerging ally of the US, India, more..

Top women professionals need to come into politics

Feb 10 (DM) In today’s crucial and countrywide elections to 341 local councils, a significant feature will be the 25% representation for women for the first time since Sri Lanka achieved universal adult franchise more than 80 years ago. While acknowledging this as a positive first step towards gender equality which is vital for the evolution of a just and fair society most people and social analysts complain they are still not aware who the women representatives are. more..

Square pegs in round holes

Feb 10 (DM) As Sri Lanka, conducts its biggest ever LG elections today, we need to reflect on the fact that poverty, unemployment, youth disillusionment, social and institutional degradation and disintegration, and environmental despoliation continues relentlessly to haunt the world and our country. All this takes place in the backdrop of widening gaps between the super-rich and rich, rich and the middle-class and, the middle-class and the desperately poor, neglected, lower class. more..