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UPFA quits Unity govt; UNP to form a govt

Feb 19 (DM) The UPFA has informed President Sirisena on Sunday night that it would quit the national unity govt, party official said. UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera sent a letter in this regard to the President. The unity govt was formed between the UPFA and the UNP soon after the 2015 parliamentary election in order to govern the country for a period of two years that ended in December last year. more..

Cabinet reshuffle on Wed. for UNP-led govt

Feb 19 (DM) A Cabinet reshuffle is set to take place on Wednesday as a fore-runner to a new govt headed by the UNP, it is learnt. The decision was taken after a meeting that took place on Sunday between President PM and the Speaker. The new govt will have Mr. Wickremesinghe as its leader. Many ministers representing the UPFA would join hands with the UNP to run this govt, while several MPs from the UPFA are due to sit in the opposition as a mark of protest. more..

Governor’s wisecrack

Feb 19 (Island) Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy once again demonstrated his knack for wisecrack at a media briefing last Thursday. When a journalist, pointing out that four days had elapsed since the conclusion of the LG elections but the govt had failed to dispel political uncertainty, sought his opinion on the situation, a smiling Governor quipped: I’m nearly 68-years-old now. When you come to my age, you’ll realise that four days isn’t a long time.’ more..

Coalition crisis conundrum

Feb 19 (FT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya launched last-ditch effort to save the beleaguered ruling national unity coalition yesterday, SLFP continued to play hardball by threatening to quit the alliance as a crippling political crisis precipitated by stinging defeat for both main parties in the govt entered its eighth day. After a relatively quiet weekend, Speaker Jayasuriya accompanied PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to more..

UNP vows to protect President: Won’t let JO own him

Feb 19 (CT) UNP MPs said that they would protect President Maithripala Sirisena and prevent the JO from owning him. They said it was they who were instrumental in making Sirisena the President. Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said that he does not think that the President will join hands with the JO. "He is our President. It is the UNP which helped him get elected as the President. Therefore, we will always protect him, so that those thieves will not be able to own him. more..

Govt. and opposition MPs received cash from Mendis distilleries: Ranjan claims

Feb 19 (DM) Documents pertaining to payments made by Mendis Distilleries owned by Arjun Aloysious to a set of MPs from govt and opposition has been recovered and are being held by President Sirisena, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. He said that Aloysious had made payments to the MPs in cheques. "There would be a huge controversy in the country if the names of these MPs are revealed" he said. The MP said the choice made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint more..

JO/SLPP demands interim govt, early general election

Feb 19 (Island) The JO/SLPP yesterday ruled out an agreement with President Maithripala Sirisena to allow the govt to continue until the scheduled parliamentary polls. General elections are scheduled to be held in two and a half years. In spite of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claim that he commands the majority in Parliament the JO/SLPP is cranking up pressure on Prez Sirisena dislodge the UNP-led govt. more..

Speaker brokers rapprochement within uneasy coalition

Feb 19 (EN) Speaker Karun Jayasuriya Sunday secured an agreement among squabbling coalition partners to continue their National government with Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM and cabinet changes by Wednesday. Official sources close to both sides said Jayasuriya displayed his political acumen in getting President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister to thrash out their concerns and save the coalition they had built to keep the Rajapaksa regime taking power again. more..

Video: Car topples into Kotmale reservoir; one body recovered

Feb 19 (AD) A car traveling towards Chilaw from Nuwara Eliya has toppled into the Upper Kotmale reservoir at Talawakelle. A body has been recovered while operations are underway to recover the others. The accident had occurred at around 4pm today (18) when the car traveling at a high speed veered off the road and toppled due to the driver losing control of the vehicle. Car had plunged into reservoir while the body of a woman has been recovered so far and transferred to the Lindula Hospital. more..

War crimes allegations: Govt, TNA face new challenge

Feb 19 (Island) Having eaten into the TNA vote bank in the Jaffna peninsula at the recently concluded LG polls, Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) has launched a fresh campaign to pressure the international community to set up an international war crimes tribunal against SL or refer the matter to the UN Security Council. TNPF has declared its intention to collect signatures in northern & eastern provinces in support of more..

Drought amidst political crisis

Feb 19 (DM) Sri Lanka is being battered by a drought as well in addition to the political crisis it is in at the moment according to the data put out by the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) and the weather forecasts of Dept of Meteorology. Met Department predicted dry weather over most parts of the island with colder nights and mornings in the next few days. However, the Dept said showers or thundershowers were a possibility at a few places in the Galle and Matara districts after 2pm. more..

Alliance divided: on Sri Lankan politics

Feb 19 (Hindu) Sri Lanka is in the throes of a political crisis after the two main parties in the ruling coalition suffered a dramatic defeat in the recent local government elections. Fissures between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, and the UNP, led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, have deepened. The fragile national unity govt they run together is beset by instability and uncertainty. The local council polls, won resoundingly by the SLPP, more..

Minister requests private hospitals, SJH to Provide free treatment to organ donors

Feb 19 (DN) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne requested the Managements of Private hospitals and the Sri Jayawardenepura Hospital (SJH) to offer free treatment to patients who donate parts for organ transplants, since some relief should be granted to such donor patients. He hoped to make it mandatory through a special directive in future. Minister said this participating in an organ donation day walk more..

Quick results if I am appointed minister of Law and Order: SF

Feb 19 (DM) Minister Sarath Fonseka today said he could show quick results in apprehending wrong-doers if he is appointed as the minister of Law and order. "I will show results in six months if I am given the portfolio of Law and Order" he told journalists. Further, he said it is not advisable to appoint former President Rajapaksa as the leader of Opposition. "Country will go back to the era of depressing media rights if those who were rejected by the people are given an opportunity" he said. more..

Video: Range Bandara justifies his resignation as UNP Electorate Organiser

Feb 19 (AD) State Minister Palitha Range Bandara briefed media on his decision taken to resign from the post of UNP Anamaduwa Electorate Organiser. He pointed out that he lost many things as he entered politics while accepting the post. He had expressed his concern, saying the election victory that was gained in Anamaduwa through many sacrifices, has been disregarded and ignored by the UNP. According to State Minister, he will continue his service towards people of Anamaduwa, more..

Sri Lanka, UAE sign MoU on facilitating recruitment of domestic workers

Feb 19 (FT) United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Sri Lanka have signed a MoU to foster cooperation in the labour and manpower fields facilitating the recruitment of domestic workers. UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Justice and Foreign Employment, Thalatha Athukorala, signed the MoU in the presence of a number of officials from both parties, more..

'Still looking for right combination in T20s'

Feb 19 (CB) Bangladesh's stand-in Twenty20 skipper, Mahmudullah, said that they have to find the right combinations and approach to excel in the shortest format after their 75-run loss to Sri Lanka in the second T20I in Sylhet, thereby conceding the two-match series 0-2 to the visitors. Bangladesh made several changes to their line-up in the T20 series, but failed to change the nature of results with Sri Lanka maintaining their dominance throughout the tour. more..

Peradeniya Teaching Hospital creates history

Feb 19 (DN) The Peradeniya Teaching Hospital has created history by being the first and only hospital in South Asia to have successfully performed 100 kidney transplants on children. This achievement was made within 14 years after performing the first such kidney transplant in 2004. “The hospital was able to make this achievement due to the dedicated contribution of the entire hospital staff, including doctors,” Consultant Surgeon Prof. M. D. Lamawansa said. more..

Mendis stars win as Sri Lanka sweep tour

Feb 19 (CI) Sri Lanka ended their Bangladesh tour in style, crushing the hosts by 75 runs to wrap up the T20 series 2-0. Kusal Mendis, who has been Sri Lanka's most dominant batsman across formats in the last four weeks, starred again with 70 off 42 balls to propel the visitors to 210 for 4. Shehan Madushanka, who was playing his second T20I, and the spinners then skittled Bangladesh for 135 in the chase. more..

ISAC 2018: 23 schools will participate

Feb 19 (CT) International Schools Athletic Championship (ISAC) 2018 is scheduled to be held on 23, 24 and 25 Feb at the Diyagama Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium, Homagama from 2.30 p.m. on 23 February and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on 24 and 25 February. ISAC is conducted in accordance with the competition rules and regulations of both TISSL, as well as the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and will include electronic timing and measurements. more..

Sri Lanka rupee under pressure, hits record low last week

Feb 19 (Island) The rupee hit a record low last week as panicky importers bought U.S. dollars following the defeat of the ruling coalition parties in a local election, but late selling in the greenback by exporters capped the fall. "SL's long term foreign exchange sources, such as exports and foreign direct investments, have drastically dropped during the last many years and also short term exchange sources, such as sovereign bonds, stocks and other sources also declined more..

We didn't just play as a team, we played as a family: Chandimal

Feb 19 (CB) Dinesh Chandimal, SL skipper, believed that his side had begun to gel as a unit, leaving behind their recent disappointments. He also added that the confidence from the tour will help them in the upcoming days. Sri Lanka had underperformed to quite an extent last year, but made a superlative turnaround on this tour as they clinched silverware across formats, with the latest being the clean sweep over in more..

Ramblings of a non-political voter

Feb 19 (Island) At the outset let me say that I am a totally non-political being. Mind you, I am mightily interested in politics but I support no party unconditionally as do many of my friends. I have voted for every President ever since I first received my voting card many moons ago – Sir John, Sirimavo, Premadasa, SWRD, Ranil, JR, Chandrika et al. (Obviously not in that order.) I have not yet voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa but who is to say I will not do so in the future? more..

Rude but entirely predictable electoral shock

Feb 19 (ST) Those who are bewildered by the results of local govt elections a week ago need a harsh reality check if not a resounding knock to the head. For it must be said that the rude punishment dealt by the electorate to Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition govt was entirely predictable. From mid last year to perhaps even earlier, massively increasing public discomfiture had turned to outright anger directed towards a coterie of quarreling and oftentimes openly incompetent rulers. more..

UN welcomes decision adopted under SL's Presidency to advance work of ...

Feb 19 (IL) Conference on Disarmament (CD) presided over by SL's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, on Friday, adopted a Decision to establish five subsidiary bodies to discuss all items in its agenda, with a view to advance the substantive work of the Conference. Decision described as a "well-brokered balance between flexibility and safeguards and offered more..

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of govt

Feb 19 (Island) Now that the integrity and sincerity of the two major Sinhala partners to keep the coalition govt going have come under greater stress more than at any time in the past three-plus years, they need external players to help them sort out their mutual differences. It does not mean foreign powers that were behind this unholy mess in 2015 but the domestic underwriters of the govt and the larger coalition that made Maithiripala Sirisena the democratically-elected President more..

Year of the Dog dawns with China fast becoming Lanka’s best friend

Feb 19 (ST) Even as the Chinese New Year of the Dog dawned this Friday, it is becoming crystal clear that China is fast turning out to be Lanka’s best friend. And that this country, reduced as it is to the nadir of its economical and political existence and the recent loss of its moral compass, should grip the hand of friendship China, for whatever reason, has so earnestly extended to her. If last week’s election result showed the political negative Yin of Chinese philosophy, it has become vital that more..

මෛත්රී, මහින්ද, රනිල් එකම පක්ෂයක්!!

Editorial: Jonahs fighting, ship sinking

Feb 19 (Island) Several Buddhist prelates have called upon President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to do everything in their power to dispel the political uncertainty that has enshrouded the entire country. They warn that the prevailing chaotic situation will take its toll on the economy before long. They have struck a responsive chord with all concerned citizens. We hope saner counsel will prevail. more..

Women to the fore

Feb 19 (SO) The Local Govt elections are over. The debate about the results will go on for some time, as it does following every election, but this is one election with a difference – women have garnered the spotlight thanks to important changes made to election laws. It beggars belief that although women make up 52 percent of the voting population (close to 16 million), Local Govt Bodies and Provincial Councils have only around 2 percent female representation. more..

'President and PM are responsible for the election results'

Feb 19 (CT) Matale District UNP MP, Ranjith Aluvihare says that the promises made when the Good Governance Govt came into power have not been implemented by ministers and officials. "The biggest thing that had an impact on us was the fertilizer subsidy. That money did not go into the farmers accounts, properly. On the other hand, we could not provide the seeds on time; 60% of the people in this country are farmers. more..

Let’s not insult women: Devolving powers to women is no burden

Feb 19 (Island) There have been recent calls not to implement fully the legal requirement of having at least 25% women in each LG authority. A newspaper has reported that the Election Commission is to ask that the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No 22 of 2012 to be amended to allow councils to be established even without the mandatory 25% quota under special circumstances. This is incorrect for two reasons. First, the 25% quota is of very recent origin more..

Seeking to change Govt through LG results

Feb 19 (SO) Last Saturday, the people spoke. They gave a decision. They handed over control of the vast majority of LG bodies in the country to the newly established SLPP. No one disputes that. However, since then, there have been several disputes. There is a dispute about the mandate to govern the country. Former President Rajapaksa, the de facto leader of the SLPP, is calling for the dissolution of Parliament on this basis. Rajapaksa wants a general election held forthwith. more..

How can Sri Lanka tackle cost of living?

Feb 19 (SO) One of the popular topics of discussion in Sri Lanka and the main concerns for the public at large today, is the cost of living and its impact on the livelihoods of people over time. Cost of living is the average cost of the basic necessities of life, including food, shelter, and clothing. This is statistically represented through a wider measure known in economic terminology as Inflation. more..

Hoorey Hora

Feb 19 (CT) In the book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, its author John W Whitehead states “This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls. When the govt views itself as superior to the citizenry, when it no longer operates for the benefit of the people, when the people are no longer able to peacefully reform their govt, when govt officials cease to act like public servants, when elected officials no longer represent the will of the people, when the govt routinely violates more..

Directions to be seen

Feb 19 (CT) Sri Lanka witness to periodic elections with unerring regularity missed that opportunity for three years. On that score there was no loss in quality of governance. The polity however lost its ability to assess the force of the sub currents and the magnitude of the iceberg developing underneath. With elections now behind us, it is not the statistical exactitudes that press for relevance. In what direction is the polity moving and at what point will it stop in 2 yrs are the critical questions. more..

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