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PM displays rare human touch, owns up to defeat

Feb 17 (EN) SL’s beleaguered PM Ranil Wickremesinghe went before a hostile press Friday, his first public appearance after the LG elections, and accepted responsibility for the drubbing. Wickremesinghe fielded questions from journalists while demonstrating unusual calm and composure. He answered the incisive and embarrassing questions without rancour and he even managed to raise a few laughs. more..

CID to courier fresh court notice to former CB Chief

Feb 17 (FT) The CID will ensure that the fresh court notice issued to Former CB Governor Arjun Mahindran to appear in court via currier service and Express Registered International Post is delivered, a top Attorney General’s department source said. The Colombo Magistrate Court issued a fresh notice yesterday to Mahendran, a Singaporean citizen, to report to the CID before 8 March. The court was yesterday told that more..

Welikada Prison massacre : CA re-fixes Petition for support on 5

Feb 17 (FT) Court of Appeal Thursday (15) re-fixed for support on 5 March for issuance of notice in respect of the Writ petition seeking an investigation into the alleged killing of 27 inmates of the Welikada Prisons in Dec 2012 where it is alleged that army, STF, TID as well as the Prison Intelligence stormed and started shooting. Bench comprised Jusices Pathman Surasena (President/CA) and Shiran Gooneratne. more..

UNP MP flays SLFP as SLPP sets condition for backing President

Feb 17 (Island) UNP MP Mujibur Rahuman alleged that the SLFP was exploiting post-Feb. 10 scenarios to overcome its own problems. "We don’t mind them trying to stabilize the party. But that shouldn’t be at our expense," Rahuman said. UNPer insisted that both parties should take the responsibility for the unexpected setback. Rahuman urged the SLFP to be mindful of the situation and take remedial measures more..

JO should be recognised as official opposition: Champika

Feb 17 (Island) JHU leader and Minister Champika Ranawaka said the SLPP should be recognised as the official Opposition. He urged the govt to work immediately to win back the people’s trust as the recently concluded LG election results had demonstrated that there was a vehement opposition among the public to the way the govt had conducted itself. Ranawaka said that the LG election results could be interpreted from different more..

Sea of trash: Inland and overseas garbage washes up on Lanka’s beaches

Feb 17 (ST) The mounting coastal litter along Colombo’s coastal belt and other tourist areas of the country is increasingly becoming breeding grounds for dengue. From plastic bottles to electrical appliances, the list of what ends up along the coast as litter is endless. While tiny particles of discarded plastics (the micro plastic) are destroying marine life, mounting non-degradable waste tarnishes SL’s image as a tourist paradise. more..

'UNP must undergo drastic changes soon'

Feb 17 (DM) While rejecting reports that he would quit the UNP, State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said he would resign from the post of party electoral organiser if party did not undergo drastic and immediate changes. He said UNP MPs including Ministers Ajith P. Perera, Harsha De Silva, Ruwan Wijewardene, Ranjith Maddumabandara, UNP General Secretary Minister Kabir Hashim and himself held similar views on this matter. more..

Big Yahapalana backer shows his disgust

Feb 17 (Island) The National Professionals’ Front (NPF) said the govt had failed to follow a common policy which led to their defeat at the local govt elections. NPF President, Ravi Kumudesh, said the parties had two sets of policies. However, when forming the alliance they should have arrived at a consensus on a policy which both parties could abide by. Instead, the President and PM pulled in two directions more..

When Cops and a Robber take you for a Ride!

Feb 17 (DM) This was an advertisement that appeared in a newspaper. Many would get excited after seeing this advertisement because there were many who had purchased this vehicle, but no one had the opportunity to use it. The above Ad appeared in a newspaper on the Feb 12, 2017. There had been many callers who inquired about this vehicle. Rizvi Ahmed from Galle was one. Owner of the vehicle had been one Danuka. more..

How Mahinda trapped Maithripala with the SLFP leadership

Feb 17 (DM) Maithripala Sirisena is currently in the throes of an acute political crisis after LG poll results. It was only some weeks ago that a pugnacious and cocky Prez Sirisena threatened to wield his kaduwa (sword) against members of his own Govt and Opposition as part of his self-declared crusade against corruption. Little did he realise while twirling his vocal sword that a Damoclean Sword in the form of poll verdict was hanging over him. more..

The Local Poll, the UNP and its future: A plea

Feb 17 (DM) LG Polls have just been concluded. First let us congratulate the present govt for having successfully introduced a new electoral system which on the face of it seems fair though the number of elected representatives might be excessive and for having ensured the most free and fair elections in SL since perhaps the 1960s. With the polls behind us, the weary citizen is back to his daily routine. They will politically wake up only with another election and wake up they will in full force. more..

Beyond Party Politics, 3 crucial issues for SL

Feb 17 (DM) Whatever the party political changes in the aftermath of the Feb 10 LG elections, Sri Lanka needs to focus attention on three crucial issues – poverty alleviation, the battle against global warming and a commitment to resolve crises through dialogue without resorting to war or violence. As part of the mission for poverty alleviation, President Maithripala Sirisena in 2016 launched a countrywide programme for Sri Lanka to produce our own nutritious food. more..

President tells JO he will consult AG on removing PM

Feb 17 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena told JO MPs that he would consult the Attorney General and legal experts on the possibility of removing PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as regards the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The President said so when he met the JO parliament group members led by MP Dinesh Gunawardena at the President’s official residence in Colombo yesterday. more..

Mahendran ordered to report to CID before March 8

Feb 17 (DM) Colombo Fort Magistrate issued a new order on former CB governor Arjuna Mahendran to report to the CID on or before March 8. Earlier, Fort Magistrate ordered Mahendran to report to the CID before Feb 15 and directed that the court order be sent via Singapore Int'l Police to Mr. Mahendran's residence. However, the Interpol had failed to send the previous notice to his residence in Singapore. Therefore, the court allowed the CID to send the notices via express mail and DHL courier more..

Tea Board Chairman resigns

Feb 17 (FT) Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda said that he has tendered his resignation to Minister Navin Dissanayake. “I tendered my resignation to the Minister this morning (yesterday) and hope to continue my academic work,” he said. When asked if there was a specific reason for stepping down, Dr. Perthiyagoda said he had made the decision last year. “I told the Minister in latter part of last year that I would like to step down and give an opportunity to fresh blood. more..

Cool and confident Ranil carries on as PM

Feb 17 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe radiated a business as usual attitude yesterday as he announced that he would continue in office, and brushed off a week of political uncertainty and chaos as the difficulties of coalition politics in his first public comments since his party was defeated in LG elections. “As far as I am concerned, I am carrying on as PM according to the constitution,” he asserted during his widely anticipated more..

Top diplomats from US, UK, India & China spoke to me: PM

Feb 17 (AM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said four top diplomats held talks with him on the current political situation in the country. PM said the new Ambassador of China, Ambassador of the US, High Commissioner of India and the High Commissioner of UK held talks with him. However, the PM did not disclose the exact topics discussed at the meetings. The diplomatic community in Sri Lanka had urged the govt many a time over the past week to find a solution to the current political deadlock. more..

Prez summons Ministry Secys: All official duties to continue

Feb 17 (CT) President Sirisena had summoned all Ministry Secretaries yesterday and ordered them to continue with their official duties as normal without heeding media reports regarding the ongoing political crisis. This was disclosed to this paper by a Ministry Secretary who had attended this discussion. He said that the discussion had been conducted for around an hour at Prez Secretariat. He added that Prez's Secretary Austin Fernando & PM's Secretary Saman Ekanayake had also attended more..

Bid to apprehend Weeratunga Marapana to leave for UAE

Feb 17 (CT) Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana is to leave for the UAE shortly in a bid to enhance the current diplomatic efforts to extradite SL's former envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga to the country, where he is a person of interest in a Police investigation relating to an alleged fraud in the purchase of aircraft for the Air Force. He could not give a time and date as to when the Foreign Minister would leave for the UAE, but more..

19A took away President’s constitutional power to remove PM

Feb 17 (FT) President no longer enjoys the constitutional authority to remove a PM, Lawyers for Democracy (LFD) said in a statement, in what the civil society grouping said was an attempt to clarify constitutional provisions governing the appointment and removal of a PM in view of misinformation created after the LG elections. “Prior to the 19th Amendment, the President had the constitutional power to remove a PM, but the 19th Amendment took away that power,” statement explained. more..

All SLFP candidates to serve people: Prez

Feb 17 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena said programs will be implemented in the near future to serve the people, together with all the people’s representatives who contested for the LG election under the SLFP led UPFA. He added that the program will be implemented by the SLFP and the Govt. “None of the defeated candidates would ever be abandoned, and all of them would become representatives of me appointed to develop the village,’ the President said. more..

'End instability, confusion & fulfil promises'

Feb 17 (DM) In a letter to Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, Malwatte Chapter Mahanayake Most Venerable Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera has urged them to end the instability and confusion resulted in the country following the LG polls and to deliver promises made at the last Prez and General Elections. Thera said the crisis which is ongoing in the country in the aftermath of LG elections more..

Irish Ambassador Brian McElduff on HR and war crimes issues

Feb 17 (Island) Irish Ambassador, Brian McElduff says the Irish government understands the difficulties caused by armed conflicts. He points out that communities are often left to deal with marginalisation, war crimes and human rights issues after conflicts. Having overcome the Northern Ireland conflict, McElduff said that the Irish government could relate to what the Sri Lankan people went through. "Bridges must surely be built and such issues dealt with and resolved. more..

Money laundering case: Namal allowed foreign travel

Feb 17 (CT) Colombo HC Judge Sampath Abeykoon yesterday decided to hear the money laundering case, against MP Namal Rajapaksa and four others, from 20 Feb. Meanwhile, he also temporarily lifted the travel ban on Rajapaksa. They have been indicted by the Attorney General under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, over their inability to reveal how a sum of Rs 30 million had been earned. The case was due to be taken up for hearing on 16 Feb, but due to the failure of more..

Implement 25% Quota for Women in LG polls: Rosy

Feb 17 (CT) UNP Colombo Mayoral Candidate Rosy Senanayake, wrote to Chairman of the EC, Mahinda Deshapriya calling for the 25% female quota in LG bodies to be implemented immediately. She expressed dismay at the news that the implementation of the said quota at the LG elections is being questioned. According to Senanayake, 2017 Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act, which amended more..

SLT opens new Contact Center in Bandarawela

Feb 17 (Island) As a means of strengthening its services and broadening the organization’s reach across the island, Sri Lanka Telecom recently announced the opening of a new Contact Centre in Bandarawela. Thus strengthening the SLT 1212 hotline, whilst also raising the standard and improving the level of customer service, by reducing holding time and providing callers with over-the-phone technical support. The new contact center will also play a role in the improvement of more..

Sri Lanka gets $75mn from ADB for lending to small businesses

Feb 17 (EN) Govt has got an additional US$75 million from the Asian Development Bank to be lent through banks to support small businesses expand and hire more people. The finance ministry said the funds are in addition to $100 million lent by the ADB in 2016 to finance the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) Line of Credit Project which is to be completed in two years by March 2020. “The objective of the project was to strengthen the SME sector in SL by facilitating access to finance more..

රනිල්, මෛත්රී කුමන්ත්රණයේ අලුත් තත්වය

Green loans get Cabinet nod

Feb 17 (FT) A concessionary loan scheme to encourage small-scale entrepreneurs to engage in sustainable income generation activities was approved by Cabinet this week. The schemed is aimed at providing financial assistance to packaging manufacturers to switch to biodegradable raw materials and improving facilities offered under the ‘Homestay’ program of the Tourism Development Authority, which is to be implemented through public and private sector banks. more..

'Didn’t take Bangladesh for granted'

Feb 17 (CT) Sri Lankan opener Danushka Gunathilaka said on Thursday (15) that his side was confident of chasing down a huge total in the opening Twenty20 international against Bangladesh as the pitch was good for batting. Sri Lanka chased down Bangladesh's highest T20I score to go 1-0 up in the two-match series at Dhaka. The visitors took the lead in the series with some style as they chased down 194 runs, their highest chase in T20Is without any sort of discomfort whatsoever. more..

CB assures Sri Lanka off money laundering watch list by Oct.

Feb 17 (FT) Central Bank yesterday expressed confidence that its renewed efforts to meet international compliance guidelines will see the country’s ratings return to safe territory later this year. Sri Lanka has been given till March 2019 to fulfil the requirements by the Financial Action Task Force. “We believe that within eight to 12 months we can fulfil these requirements,” Central Bank Deputy Governor C.J.P. Siriwardene said. more..

General Electric wins tender for 12 locomotives for upcountry railway line

Feb 17 (FT) Cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light to procure 12 locomotives for the upcountry railway line from US company General Electric (GE) at a cost of $ 4.056 million per engine, Cabinet Co-spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilaka said. The proposal, made by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to proceed with the procurement which includes a financing package, was granted approval subject to obtaining relevant authorisation by the Department of External Resources. more..

New Lankan Premier League set to clash with CPL and T20 Blast

Feb 17 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has finalised dates for its Lankan Premier League (LPL) T20 tournament, but its ability to attract foreign talent may be limited due to scheduling clashes with the Caribbean Premier League and England's T20 Blast. The LPL is scheduled to run between August 18 and September 10, while the CPL is set to be played from August 8 to September 16, and the English domestic season ongoing throughout. The LPL will feature six teams in its inaugural edition. more..

NOC has been efficiently and effectively managed: Maxwell

Feb 17 (CT) National Olympic Committee's General Secretary, Maxwell de Silva clarified several incidents and queries into the NOC activities during past few years, while he handed over a letter in reply to the article How Maxwell turns NOC Presser into Election Propaganda published earlier in Ceylon Today. Following are extracts from the letter: NOC has been efficiently and effectively managed and has retained earnings of over Rs 80m. more..

CSE on revival track amid political uncertainty now easing claims

Feb 17 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) share market activities revived yesterday following two straight sessions of losses on retail buying after the Central Bank held key policy rates steady amid signs the current political uncertainty was easing, stock market analysts said. CB’s decision was widely expected, with policymakers emphasising the need to support an economy that has been beset by production disruptions due to massive intermittent floods and prolonged droughts last year. more..

Section 70 of the Bribery Act needs to be reviewed II

Feb 17 (Island) It will be obvious that the matter raises questions of fundamental importance to the right of the Attorney-General to express his opinion, to advise his client irrespective of whether his opinion was right or wrong. Several issues may be raised in this regard. Is a Magistrate, who is subject to the directions of the AG in the several instances specified in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, empowered to review and sit in judgment over a legal opinion expressed by the AG? more..