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The tightening of the Saatakaya

Apr 1 (SO) With several loyal officials being placed under arrest or denied bail in local courts while two cousins face imminent legal action in the United States and the UAE for financial crimes against the state, these last several days have given the Rajapaksa brothers scant reason for confidence in their own future, parliamentary machinations notwithstanding. The week began with the news of the fugitive Udayanga Weeratunga, a cousin of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his hand-picked more..

Race Card

Apr 1 (CT) What is left of the SLFP led UPFA in Parliament headed by President Maithripala Sirisena as announced on Friday, will see their departure from the Unity Govt, while at the same time adding a condition if they were to remain in Govt. Their threat to leave the Govt, coincides with the no-confidence vote to be taken up in Parliament against their co-partner in Govt, the UNP led UNF’s Leader, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Wednesday (4). Friday’s announcement was not made by Sirisena, more..

‘LG Act fails to bring in stability to councils’

Apr 1 (SO) The political showdown in Maskeliya that followed the appointment of Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman and Deputy Chairman last week, clearly spelt out deeper issues intertwined with the local government election laws under the new Act, the issues that need to be addressed urgently. While the newly elected members of the Maskeliya PS exchanged verbal blows inside, an outbreak of fisticuffs were witnessed outside more..

The silly side show

Apr 1 (Island) Minister Sarath Amunugama placed an unerring finger on the spot on Thursday when he described the current tussle between a section of the SLFP and the UNP to oust PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as a silly side show. Nothing is happening in govt right now with priority national business on hold while the various movers and shakers on the political field are totally preoccupied with the no confidence motion. The country at large, treated with a surfeit of propaganda more..

The beginning of the end of the Govt

Apr 1 (ST) The happenings connected to the long-delayed formation of the local councils around the country have provided an appropriate backdrop to the no-confidence motion against the PM, which is to be debated in Parliament next week. The jiggery-pokery that has gone on behind the scenes in wresting control of the many councils seems to have a direct bearing on two factors that epitomise the state of national politics today — a) bribery of the elected councillors, more..

Frozen to death

Apr 1 (ST) The door to the cold room facility at the Bio Foods Factory in downtown Dambulla is sealed while Police sentries keep a 24-hour vigil at the entrance following the deaths of two employees under questionable circumstances on Monday this week. Nirosha Herath (31), a quality controller at the factory and Madushan Jayewardene (19), a hired hand, were found frozen to death in minus 45 degrees temperature inside cold more..

Sirisena’s turn after Ranil

Apr 1 (Island) The unanimous decision by the Working Committee of UNP to defeat the no-confidence motion against the UNP PM has offered some relief to the beleaguered Ranil Wickremesinghe but he is not out of the woods yet. Indeed he will not be safe until the vote is taken and it is established that he is through. As D-day nears and the SLFP still has not taken an official position on the no confidence motion, the likelihood increases that most of the SLFP members more..

No Confidence Motion & its political stakes

Apr 1 (SO) Is there a low - cost way out from the present crisis boiling within the Maithripala Sirisena - Ranil Wickremesinghe administration? During the past few days, a number of well - wishers of the present govt posed this question to me in personal conversations. All of them are people who have contributed in a variety of ways to the political change of January 2015. They are now deeply worried about the inevitable disintegration of the yahapalanaya regime, with two other more..


You’re not sorry you cheated, you’re just sorry you got caught

Apr 1 (ST) My dear Steve Smith, David Warner, Darren Lehmann and the Australian cricket team, I thought I must write to you because the entire cricketing world is talking about you. That is after you were caught cheating, tampering with the cricket ball during a test match against South Africa. Steve and David, you have been suspended. Darren, you have resigned despite claiming to be innocent. This news came as a shock to most of us – but it was not a surprise. more..

No-faith motion against PM: Litmus test for our legislators’ integrity

Apr 1 (ST) JO’s no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to be taken up in Parliament on April 4. The resolution is primarily based on the issues revolving around what has come to be popularly known to as the bond scam involving the CB’s former Governor Arjuna Mahendran and company. Almost as an afterthought, and for good measure, JO has in the no-confidence motion thrown in a clause faulting the Govt for the recent violence against Muslims more..

Did Maithri-Ranil meeting actually take place?

Apr 1 (CT) With the no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe all set to be debated in Parliament on Wednesday (4) media reported that the Govt has decided to beef up security in and around Parliament. According to reports, even the MPs will be frisked thoroughly on the day of the no-faith motion as part of the strict security measures put in place for the occasion. more..

'The national team has got that spark back'

Apr 1 (Island) Although SL failed to reach the finals of Nidahas Trophy, former great Kumar Sangakkara says that the national cricket team is not far behind to start winning again. Since the highly rated Chandika Hathurusingha took over as Head Coach, SL started off well by winning all three series in Bangladesh, but failure to qualify for the finals of the Nidahas Trophy tournament was a bitter pill to swallow. "Patience is going to be the key. Miracles don’t happen. Success is not built overnight. more..

Devapathiraja girls bag cricket title

Apr 1 (CT) Devapathiraja College Rathgama emerged champions for the third consecutive year of the ‘Singer Under-19’s Girl’s Cricket tournament. They defeated Anula Vidyalaya Nugegoda by 85 runs in the final played at Lyceum ground Wattala yesterday. Rathnawali Balika Vidyalaya Gampaha beat St. Anthony’s Girl’s College Kandy by 7 wickets in the game for third place. Harsitha Madhawi (Anula) was adjudged player of the tournament and best bowler in the final. more..

Sanga, Kohli, Dhoni and Gayle to lead Lankan Premier League

Apr 1 (Island) Former SL captain Kumar Sangakkara, Indian stars Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni and T-20 specialist Chris Gayle have been chosen to lead the four teams in the upcoming Lankan Premier League tournament. A few eyebrows have been raised that none of the current SL players have been chosen to lead SL’s franchise based T-20 tournament, which will get underway in Sept, but the organizers are keen that more..

Gura to take over as High Performance Manager

Apr 1 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Cricket Manger Asanka Gurusinha is tipped to take over as the Manager of the High Performance Center, Sunday Island learns. The position will become vacant in June as Simon Willis had requested to relinquish duties before his contract ends. Gurusinha is tipped to take over soon after the West Indies tour. Gurusinha joined the national team as Cricket Manager in March last year. He was later drafted in as a national selector as well. more..

Roshen hits career best double ton

Apr 1 (ST) Middle-order bat Roshen Silva continued his excellent form with the bat hitting a career best unbeaten 231 as Team Galle scored a mammoth 476 all out on day two in their Super Four 4-day Provincial match played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium on Saturday. Resuming from his overnight score of 146, the elegant left hander played sensibly showing his immense aptitude to play long innings. Roshen who came into bat when his team was in deep trouble losing four of their top order more..

Kusal turns down IPL offer, eyes Test return

Apr 1 (ST) With some injury concerns and an eye on a return to the national Test side, batsman Kusal Janith Perera has turned down a lucrative offer to replace disgraced Australian batsman David Warner in the Sunrisers Hyderabad team during this year’s IPL. Ravi de Silva, his manager, confirmed this but said it was because his player is keen to join the national squad for SL’s next assignment in the West Indies. more..

Former match referee Mahanama in praise of Cricket Australia stance

Apr 1 (ST) Former ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama gives full credit to Cricket Australia for their prompt action with regard to the ball tampering incident which occurred during the third Test between Australia and South Africa last week. Mahanama said, “It’s a great gesture and I give Cricket Australia full credit for showing they were serious about the standards the respective players have to maintain during international events of this magnitude.” more..

Ishara buys out Japanese from LOLC, no name change likely

Apr 1 (Island) Many landmarks were established by last week’s mega stock market deal through which Mr. Ishara Nanayakkara, Deputy Chairman of Lanka Orix Leasing Company acquired the Japanese-owned shares of the Orix Corporation in the 34-year old company for a consideration of over Rs. 12.8 billion. The acquisition was made by Nanayakkara through LOLC Holdings, a company of which he is the sole director and shareholder. SEC filings indicated that the deal involved 142.45 million more..

Wide powers to Tax Chief in new tax laws effective today

Apr 1 (ST) The new Inland Revenue Act effective from today gives wide and far reaching powers to the Commissioner General of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) where, in one instance, he alone can decide whether a taxpayer can be accompanied by a lawyer or another representative to the IRD, or not. Also under certain circumstances Commissioner General has the power to decide taxes that one should pay in terms of future profits, more..

Apsari promotes women’s cricket through girls’ big matches

Apr 1 (SO) Former SL captain Hashan Tillakaratne, the high performance batting coach of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and his charming wife Apsari Tillakaratne who heads women’s cricket of the SLC, said Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest has been a source of encouragement and inspiration to young cricketers to progress beyond school level. Couple paid a tribute to SL Telecom Mobitel and the Sunday Observer for conducting Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy more..

FM official tipped to head promotions in travel industry?

Apr 1 (ST) The govt is likely to consider a diplomat with sound knowledge of state bureaucracy to head the promotions arm of the state run tourism body. It is learnt that the criteria for the selection process is to find someone with the ability to engage in the proper procurement processes of the govt and in this respect a former diplomat now back in the island from India is being mooted for the job. However, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said that they were yet to find a suitable candidate more..

Govt to dispose unproductive non-financial assets

Apr 1 (ST) Cash-strapped SL govt is embarking on an ambitious plan of making maximum use of its non financial assets through the newly established Comptroller General’s office at Finance Ministry. This office was set up recently, with a view to monitoring the management of the assets and expenditure of the Govt and its main function is to maintain a list of central assets prepared covering all non financial assets of the govt. more..

SL to amend laws to boost entrepreneurship

Apr 1 (CT) SL is all set to loosen up legal and cultural barriers to encourage entrepreneurship through startups and SMEs while giving more incentives to the start-up eco system, following consultations held regarding the issue, revealed a leading venture capitalist. Meanwhile, the Govt plans to launch SL’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy for 2018-2022, aiming for higher value-added products and services for SME exports, enabling and scaling up growth-oriented more..

New VAT on apartment sales suspended

Apr 1 (ST) The 15% value added tax (VAT) on sales of apartments from projects after April 1 won’t be effective from today, as planned earlier, since the amending legislation to enable this process hasn’t been presented to parliament as yet, officials sources said. Many people had rushed to buy apartments to beat this deadline with one developer saying he sold 25 units in February and expected to sell another 30 in March. Business Times also reliably understands that more..

JO to press for general election: MR

Apr 1 (CT) If the Joint Opposition wins the No-Confidence Motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday night, the JO would press President Maithripala Sirisena and the Govt to call for a snap general election, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “We will definitely press the Govt and President Maithripala Sirisena to go for a general election, if we win the No-Confidence Motion as that is the only way forward, more..

PET Scanner ready for service from today

Apr 1 (AD) The long awaited Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner which was purchased by public contribution has been installed in Apekshka Hospital and patients could receive the service from today. PET scanner which was purchased by public contribution arrived in the country on Dec 24. President of Kadijah Foundation M.S.H. Mohamed along with several media institutions collected a public aid and donated to Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous more..

Govt to make Sunday Schools compulsory

Apr 1 (DN) The govt has decided to make Sunday School education compulsory for all school students countrywide. Accordingly, a Cabinet paper for the said purpose would be tabled soon. “I wish to discuss this matter in detail with Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam as to how students could be motivated to attend religious education activities,” Kurunegala District United National Party (UNP) MP and Buddhasana Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said. more..

Top US University to partner in Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (ST) Govt has signed an agreement to set up a Higher Institute of Technology, with the University of California in Berkeley — ranked among the top ten in the world. Dr Nalin Walpita, chairman of PM's Committee on the Centre of Excellence for Higher Education, said that they had signed an agreement with this prestigious university for the first phase of the partnership to setup an u'grad business & engineering school in SL. more..

Peradeniya doctors deliver teratoma baby in historic operation

Apr 1 (DN) Peradeniya Teaching hospital doctors were able to deliver a baby suffering from a teratoma tumour after a successful operation. Doctors say that this is the first time that a successful operation of this nature had been carried out in Sri Lanka. The doctors were successful in removing a part of the tumour enabling the baby to breath. “The teratoma tumour is located on the neck of the baby which blocks the respiratory tract from the lungs making the baby unable to breath. more..

Rameswaram fishermen strike work, stage protest

Apr 1 (Hindu) Striking work for a day on Saturday, fishermen and their family members staged a demonstration in front of the bus stand in Rameswaram, urging the State and Central govts to secure the release of fishermen incarcerated in Sri Lankan prisons for more than 100 days after they were arrested by the SL navy on the charge of trespassing into their waters. Led by fishermen leaders, including N. J. Bose and P. Sesu Raja, a large number of fishermen and their family more..

After Sri Lanka’s diplomatic battle, EU relists LTTE as terror outfit

Apr 1 (ST) The Council of the European Union has relisted the LTTE as a terrorist organisation. The decision came into effect on March 21, 2018, continuing the specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism. The LTTE is among 20 organisations named. The relisting is the result of a protracted diplomatic battle that involved Sri Lanka’s mission in Brussels, more..

Sri Lanka to tighten state controls on privatized plantations with new agency

Apr 1 (EN) Sri Lanka will set up a new agency to regulate privatized plantations firms, to protect the interests of the state the govt said. In the 1990s SL privatized 23 state-run plantations companies which had been expropriated decades ago in an action seen as part of several key moves taken by post-independent rulers of the island to make the country a lagging nation in Asia. The firms were losing money and eating up taxes of the people for salary payments at the time they were privatized, more..

Pakistan asks President Sirisena to protect Muslims from harm

Apr 1 (Island) Pakistan has expressed serious concern over recent mob attacks by some extremist Sinhalese politicians and organizations on SL Muslims in Ampara and Digana leading to a substantial loss of life and property. Informed sources said that Pakistan, considered a true friend of Sri Lanka, had taken a firm stand with President Mamnoon Hussain telling President Sirisena during his visit to Islamabad late last month that they were disappointed and shocked at the manner more..

No-faith motion: Game changer or end of the game?

Apr 1 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena appears to have joined the fray in his own way as the countdown for the vote of no-confidence against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is just three days away. He has virtually stripped Wickremesinghe of some powers he enjoyed as both, Prime Minister and National Policies and Economic Affairs Minister preventing him, from dealing with all key aspects of the economy. more..

What likelihood of Ranil and Mahinda conniving to end the executive presidency?

Apr 1 (Island) Today is April Fools’ Day. For Christians, it is also Easter Sunday. Skeptical wags will relish the coincidence, which occurs only three or four times a century. Here at home, PM Wickremesinghe may have been wishing the JO’s No Confidence Motion to be nothing more than an April Fools’ prank, or, failing that, in the week of the risen lord he (PM) too could rise from the near-death ordeal that he has been going through over two months and as many moons. more..

The majority must commit itself to unite all Citizens

Apr 1 (Island) Of the innumerable ingredients that adversely influence SL’s efforts to achieve its full potential as a flourishing, progressive, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society, the most destructive is undoubtedly the desire of Sinhala Buddhists to be, and to remain, the pre-eminent group in SL society and to relegate the rest to a lower status. The violence that is resorted to from time to time by extremist groups to assert this dominance is very damaging more..

Facebook struggles to curb hate speech

Apr 1 (SCMP) With Sri Lanka under a state of emergency after a spasm of anti-Muslim bloodshed, lawyer Jeevanee Kariyawasam went on Facebook to complain. The company hadn’t blocked users inciting violence, she wrote, and the govt hadn’t arrested those sending out the offending posts. Facebook’s response was swift: it suspended Kariyawasam’s account. The company restored her account within 24 hours but more..

Prez emphasized social justice in land rights

Apr 1 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized that irrespective of political differences social justice should be delivered to all when considering issues related to the land rights of the people in the country. President further said that if the priority was given to rupees and cents while dealing with programmes to provide benefits and they are implemented in a corrupted and malice manner, as a govt whatever land policy more..