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Know your status

Dec 3 (SO) “Well, oral intercourse is the safest mode of sexual intercourse. Saliva kills germs and viruses that cause Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Diseases. So we are safe,” a 42-year-old from Nugegoda area says. A 26-year-old from Ratnapura said, that a person could contract STIs and HIV by using a public lavatory. “I know I am safe because I trust my sexual partner. We don’t have to worry about STIs” more..

Sri Lanka’s civil resistance awakens

Dec 3 (ST) Despite the undeniable shock caused to Sri Lanka’s democratic system on Oct 26th 2018 as a result of President Maithripala Sirisena’s swearing in of a new PM lacking a majority in the House, several unmistakable positive factors have emerged since then. Those legal experts who led the President up the garden path in persuading him to discard constitutional prudence should hang their deviously plotting heads in shame. Assuming they feel shame in which case, more..

Pyrrhic putsch

Dec 3 (Island) It is a month after SL learnt of a new PM over SMS. In the catastrophic, chaotic four ensuing weeks, some of us maintain that Mr. Wickremesinghe is the sole, legitimate PM. This is widely perceived to be a position that is a consequence of either being partial to or voting for the UNP, or a fan of the individual. Both, it is argued, gloss over the significant failure of the individual and the party, as well as the govt the PM led, to bring about what they were elected to do. more..

New govt in ungodly rush to work out US$ 10 billion LNG project

Dec 2 (ST) The Govt has given international bidders just five weeks to apply for a complex, multibillion dollar Swiss challenge to supply an offshore floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), pipeline and contract for liquefied natural gas (LNG), raising eyebrows in the oil and gas industry about the ungodly rush. This will be Sri Lanka’s largest single Govt tender: a 20-year LNG contract costing more than an estimated US$ 10 billion. more..

President relenting, likely to recognise Ranil as legitimate PM

Dec 2 (Island) Having acknowledged that Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa does not have a majority in Parliament, President Maithripala Sirisena would eventually relent and recognise Ranil Wickremesinghe as the legitimate PM, says TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. Asked if anything positive had come out of the TNA meeting with Prez Sirisena on Friday night, Sumanthiran said firstly it was good to hear the President more..

Elephant calf found shot dead in Udawalawe

Dec 2 (DM) An eleven-year-old elephant that lived in Udawalawe National Park, had been shot dead in the Udawalawe Reservoir area yesterday morning, Rangers of the Department of Wild Life Conservation said. They said that the elephant calf had two feet tusks (60 cm) and it was identified by its identity number of T 212. It has been killed between two electric fences on Udawalawe-Thanamalwila Road. more..

Schoolboy crush led to murder

Dec 2 (ST) Investigators believe a three-month dispute over a love affair caused the stabbing murder of a boy by a schoolboy from the same neighbourhood in Matara. The victim was a 19-year-old student of St. Thomas’ College Matara described as a talented A/L student by the school principal. The seeds of the tragedy were sown three months ago when a row broke out over a girl between the victim’s younger brother and another youth more..

Political impasse to end with new hope

Dec 2 (SO) President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe have come to an agreement to do whatever is necessary to resolve the current political impasse. They are keen to ensure that the country doesn’t face any economic repercussions in the coming weeks. President met members of the TNA and UNF on Friday (30) with discussions going deep into the night, more..

I will not resign: Mahinda

Dec 2 (CT) Insisting there are no plans to back-off from the Govt or from office, appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will not resign from the post. Speculations were rife after reports emerged suggesting that Rajapaksa offered to step-down from the post following a purported meeting between him and sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday (30) at Parliament Library. He said that any future political decision will depend on SC decision more..

Grip around IGP tightening

Dec 2 (CT) The grip around IGP Pujith Jayasundara, who is already in trouble for allegedly attempting to cover-up a high profile assassination plot, is tightening with Prez Sirisena mulling to lodge an official complaint with the National Police Commission. Prez acknowledged that he was extremely concerned about two letters in connection with the controversial transfer of IP Nishantha Silva being leaked to various parties, more..

Waiting for Judgement Day

Dec 2 (Island) The current crisis is a contestation about the nature of SL and her future. Will the country continue along the path of democracy or will she re-embrace some form of autocracy? Will rule of law prevail or will it be replaced by the law of the rulers? Will justice remain a possibility or will impunity become sovereign again? Is SL a country of free men and women or a land yearning for the heavy hand of a political more..

TNA urges President to respect norms of democracy

Dec 2 (ST) A TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan was at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday evening for a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss ways of resolving the current political crisis. The meeting started late due to another engagement of the President and went on for more than one hour with the President trying to explain to them why he had to make the decision of replacing PM Ranil more..

Let’s make this December more introspective than festive

Dec 2 (CT) Hark the festive month of December is upon us signalling not just the advent of Christmas, but the start of the tourist season (which this year is predicted to be less than favourable) as well as the cyclical arrival of masses of Sri Lankan expats craving their winter escape and non-stop holiday excitement in the motherland. In their minds no one parties like our islanders do between Christmas and New Year. more..

Constitutions Need Constitutionalism

Dec 2 (Island) In the present constitutional-political crisis, which began in the evening of October 26, 19th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution has come under severe scrutiny. Underlying it is a war of interpretations between two opposing camps of jurists, lawyers, political activists and of course informed citizens. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s current political debate is so sharply polarized that a middle ground has not yet emerged in this war of constitutional interpretations. more..

This is a sloppy but de facto dictatorship

Dec 2 (Island) Much ink has flowed discussing recent events and much moral judgement offered; another such piece is redundant. My focus today is on the next stage. By way of preface I first put down a few facts on paper. Love him or hate him, Ranil was removed from office unconstitutionally; Mahinda’s appointment is illegal; parliament was prorogued in bad faith and dissolved unconstitutionally; twice it was disrupted aggressively; pro-Rajapaksa MPs walk out as more..

Sirisena works out ceasefire; Rajapaksa faces the axe

Dec 2 (ST) Six weeks after ousting a PM, installing another, forming a new govt, proroguing and later dissolving Parliament, President Maithripala Sirisena is now seeking a political ceasefire and a negotiated settlement for the impasse between the executive and the legislature. Though not an easy task, it has become the highlight of expanded backchannel moves with his blessings. more..

I won't accept the PM's post at this point in time: Sajith

Dec 2 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa said he had no intention of accepting the post of Prime Minister at this point in time but indicated that he could be the party's prime ministerial candidate at a future general election. Mr. Premadasa said this at a media briefing when responding to s question asked by the journalists with regard to a statement made by UNP spokesman Harin Fernando that Mr. Premadasa would be party's prime ministerial candidate at a future general election. more..

Hold election to elect proper persons: Three Nikayas

Dec 2 (DM) All three Nikayas have decided to advise the rulers to go for general election to elect the most suitable representatives to put an end to the current political deadlock, the Secretary General of the Asgiriya Chapter of the Shyamopali Maha Nikaya Ven. Dr. Medagama Dhammananda Thera said. Speaking at the Sanga Samuluwa held at the Nelum Pokuna auditorium in Colombo to demand a general election in order to put an end to the current political impasse he asserted that more..

Killing of two policemen: Former LTTE cadre surrenders

Dec 2 (ST) A former LTTE cadre surrendered to Police yesterday over the killing of two police constables at a checkpoint in Batticaloa and the removal of their weapons, a senior officer said yesterday. The suspect, identified as R. Saravanandan, 48, a resident of Vattakachchi in Kilinochchi, surrendered to the Kilinochchi police station claiming he was responsible for the killings at Vavunathivu in Batticaloa. more..

President seeks exit strategy as Mahinda fails majority test

Dec 2 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena appeared to have softened his hardline position and was seeking a face-saving exit from the political crisis of his making, according to legislators who had closed-door talks with him. The president was acutely aware of the consequences should the Supreme Court this week hold that his Nov 9 sacking of parliament was illegal, a Tamil legislator at talks on Friday evening said. The TNA leader R. Sampanthan assured Sirisena that more..

No-pay leave for female public officers to have a baby

Dec 2 (ST) One-year no pay leave will be granted to female public officers to obtain fertility treatment to have a baby, according to a decision taken by the Cabinet recently. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has, in a circular informed all state institutions that the rules have been revised to include this benefit for women employees in the public sector. No-pay leave up to one year would be granted for female public officers to spend in or out of the island to obtain treatments for more..

Protests as SL cuts tax on sugary drinks

Dec 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka Saturday slashed a tax on sugary drinks in a controversial reversal of an anti-diabetes policy that attracted immediate criticism. The finance ministry ordered an immediate 40% reduction in the levy as part of a package of tax cuts launched by the disputed govt to win over public opinion as a bitter power struggle intensifies. But health campaigners and a former minister condemned the move more..

Ranil is UNP’s nominee for PM: Kabir

Dec 2 (AD) Ada Derana has reliably learned that the UNP has officially informed the TNA that their nominee for the post of P< is UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim has informed of their decision on the nominee for the post of premiership via a letter submitted to TNA Leader R. Sampanthan. In the letter, MP Hashim has thanked Sampanthan regarding the letter sent by the TNA to President Maithripala Sirisena on the matter of the appointment of a PM. more..

Inflation rises despite slashing of fuel prices

Dec 2 (CT) Colombo inflation, which was on a decelerating trend in the last two months, upto October, decelerating from 5.9% in August to 3.1% in October, rose last month to 3.3% despite fuel prices being cut twice last month after Prez Sirisena sacked his then PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and in his place appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 26 Oct. This increase was led by rising food and non food prices. In related developments, Govt on Friday borrowed more..

Thilanga stumped by ICC’s latest move

Dec 2 (ST) The ICC has made it mandatory for anybody wishing to join its Board of Directors to not have any links with the betting or gaming industry. This requirement was earlier only in the body’s Code of Ethics. But in a recent move, the ICC has made it a part of its mandatory Eligibility Criteria for the Board of Directors. “As part of a regular review of policies and procedures, we have refreshed the Director Eligibility Criteria more..

Bandula welcomes investments; no questions asked

Dec 2 (ST) Undeterred by questions over the legality of the govt, Minister Bandula Gunwardana is making a new trade policy. This will include incentives to Sri Lankans living abroad to encourage them to invest their money in Govt-approved projects for a five-year period tax free. It will be a no questions asked policy on the source of the money and could include money gained overseas by businesses, sale of property and gem businesses among others, Mr. Gunawardena said. more..

Politicos and cops responsible for children consuming liquor: NCPA Chairman

Dec 2 (CT) Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), H.M. Abayarathne slammed politicians and the Police force for encouraging school children to consume liquor. “Politicians were mainly responsible for the liquor business and their selling market were innocent schoolchildren”, Abayarathne said. “Even the Police don’t take action against them as the Police are of the view that this was their way of survival”, he further said. more..

So Sri Lanka: White elephant in political circus

Dec 2 (ST) Country’s newest Rs.1 billion tagline So Sri Lanka set to propel the destination as a unique travel hotspot has turned into a white elephant with the campaign coming to a virtual standstill, tourism industry specialists complain. The post-publicity campaign following the launch of latest travel campaign So Sri Lanka is currently on hold following the political changes since Oct 26 since no payments can be made for its continuation. more..

JKH and Indra Traders Joint Venture signs BOI agreement for TRI-ZEN residences

Dec 2 (Island) Braybrooke Residential Towers (Pvt) Ltd, Friday signed an agreement with the BoI for TRI-ZEN a pioneering residential development. The project is a joint venture between JK Land (Pvt) Ltd (subsidiary of John Keells Holdings) and Indra Traders (Pvt) Ltd and the project will be marketed and managed by John Keells under its brand John Keells Properties. Located in the heart of the city at Union Place, the 53-storey development is set to redefine urban living in Sri Lanka. more..

Rajapaksa promises to cut illiberal sugar tax

Dec 2 (EN) Sri Lanka's finance ministry has been instructed to cut an illiberal sugar tax, by which could reduce retail prices of sweetened drinks by almost 30%, a statement said. The orders were given following a meeting of businesses making fruit and carbonated drinks and biscuits with disputed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa. The statement said the finance ministry had been asked to relieve sweetened fruit drinks by up to 09 grams from the tax, and carbonated drinks by up to 06 grams. more..

Munchee wins Brand of the Year

Dec 2 (CT) In the midst of admiration and a standing ovation at the Shangri-La Hotel MUNCHEE is crowned The Brand of the Year for the 6th time transforming Munchee to be boldly recognized and accepted as An Invincible Champion in this decathlon of Branding Excellence. Munchee impressively emerged six times winner of Brand of the Year title and eight times winner of Product Brand of the Year title in the 17-year history more..

Dreaded LTTE spy-master Pottu Amman still alive: Senior ex-LTTE leader

Dec 2 (AT) Pottu Amman, the renowned and dreaded spy-master of LTTE ‘did not die during the last days of war in May 2009 as widely believed’, but is still alive and kicking. In September 2009, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Solicitor-General Kapila Waidyaratne informed the Colombo High Court that Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman had been killed in May 2009 in Karaithuraipatru and that their names should be removed from those charged with Kadirgamar's assassination. more..

Political situation irrelevant to foreign debt repayment: NEC chief

Dec 2 (SO) SL has the capacity and willingness to service int'l debts regardless of the political situation the country faces. The country will have to service foreign debt amounting to US $ 5 billion in the years to come, Secretary General and Chief Economist, National Economic Council (NEC), Prof. Lalith Samarakoon said at a high level discussion on SL’s Economic Challenges in 2019 in Colombo last week. The country’s debt composition is: Int'l debts US$ 30 billion and $ 32 billion in domestic debts. more..

Is the whole world against the Sri Lankan cricket team?

Dec 2 (Island) It seems that Sri Lanka’s highly paid cricketers and their coaching staff seem to be of the view that the whole world is against them! England handed them a cricketing lesson during the bilateral series that lasted for two months. The foremost of them is if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Yet the Sri Lankans seem to be thinking that there are mysterious forces working against them every time they are in more..

Constitutional crisis over who’s SL’s PM deepens: India & China poised to swoop in

Dec 2 (Qrius) Just days Sri Lankan President Sirisena’s MPs boycotted the parliament, their opponents passed a motion on Friday that slashed state funding of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his ministers. The 122-0 vote in a 225-member Parliament will halt payment of salaries and travel expenses for the office of the disputed PM. The SL parliament has been in a political gridlock since Sirisena fired and replaced PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with Rajapaksa in October. more..

A test for Sri Lanka’s bureaucracy

Dec 2 (Hindu) SL’s Parliament passed two motions on Thursday and Friday, blocking cash flow to the offices of the PM, Cabinet and all other Ministries of the purported govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking on the implications, a senior legislator said: “If they have been passed with a majority in Parliament, the secretaries must take note.” However, it is not as straightforward for the country’s bureaucracy — especially when the disputed govt & Cabinet are busy taking weekly decisions, more..