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Edtorial: Waiting for Judgment Day

Dec 9 (Island) Hopefully the country will hear the determination of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the dissolution of parliament by President Sirisena sooner rather than later. The seven judges constituting the bench on Friday concluded hearing the submissions of the various concerned parties including the Attorney General, the law officer of the state, and counsel for the various petitioners, including intervenients, for four consecutive days and announced that more..

Textbook autocrat who is shifting goalpost

Dec 9 (ST) The 1960 general elections gave J.R. Jayewardene reason to believe that the British parliamentary system will not work in Sri Lanka. A poll took place in March that year after the governing MEP coalition imploded spectacularly. But neither of the major parties—UNP or SLFP–gained a majority and a second election was held a bare four months later. In 1966, twelve years before the 1978 Constitution, Mr Jayewardene publicly suggested a French-style Presidential system more..

'Ranil wanted to be Executive Prime Minister'

Dec 9 (SO) UPFA Kurunegala District MP and former Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said there should be a proper 19th Amendment where powers of the President, PM, Parliament and the Judiciary need to be defined clearly. In an interview, the former Minister said as President Maithripala Sirisena who had pledged to 6.2 million people who voted for him, he wanted to give back some of his powers to Parliament. more..

Read the Constitution before you return to farming

Dec 9 (ST) Aiyo Sirisena, It was four weeks ago that I last wrote to you and what a time it has been since then. Everyone has been running around in circles, blaming you for starting all these shenanigans. In the meantime, we have achieved what must surely be a world record–going from having two PMs to none! Aiyo Sirisena, most politicians abide by the rule that any publicity is better than no publicity. In the last month, you have got an enormous amount of publicity that you could have only dreamed more..

Tin pot doesn’t begin to describe damage done to our democracy

Dec 9 (SO) Democracies work when constitutions are drafted to ensure that the bedrock tenets of the social contract remain intact. Constitutional provisions need to be written with great clarity, and attention to detail. The sleight of hand that has gone into the draft constitutional document that was to be presented by Steering Committee of Constitutional Assembly established under Yahapalana rule, offers a case study of the addle-headed attempts to perpetuate a form of rule by fiat, more..

JVP press conference

Article 33(2)(c) and CBK’s experience of 2000/2001

Dec 9 (Island) As we go to press, the whole country is awaiting the SC’s decision on whether the declaration of an early general election has violated anyone’s fundamental rights. Such a complication would never have occurred under our Constitution as it stood before the 19th Amendment was introduced. 19th Amendment was a hastily drafted piece of legislation rushed through Parliament amidst disagreements among the very people promoting it, and last minute changes being more..

Competing with resources in hand can deliver

Dec 9 (CT) We believe we emphasized and impressed upon our readers earlier that the tour of NZ by SL will be a very tough challenge. Their problems seem to be compounded by the fact that Pakistan has been well beaten by the Kiwis away from home after 1969. In fact the UAE was considered almost impregnable for a visiting team until SL beat the Pakistanis two games to nil in the Tests. To some extent that result can be justified as both teams were sub continental sides where more..

Will there be an impeachment motion against President Maithri?

Dec 9 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to amend the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which had been ratified with the utmost difficulty as a progressive measure for the country three years ago. A special media release, from the President’s Media Division in the latter part of the week, stated that the President was willing to amend all politically-thorny clauses contained in the 19th Amendment. more..

New wife unknowingly gave her husband a rag

Dec 9 (DM) A story that was reported from the Rajarata region can act as a classic example as to why men should ideally buy their own footwear after fitting them on and not leave the task to their wives. The story is of a young man who holds a prominent position in the tourism industry and was held in high esteem by his employers. He was also newly married. Due to his likeability he was often called upon to represent his company at training sessions held in Colombo. more..

Nervy Lankans huff and puff to beat Afghanistan

Dec 9 (ST) Kamindu Mendis’s all-round efforts propelled star-studded Sri Lanka Emerging Team to a nervy one-wicket win over Afghanistan Emerging Team in their ACC Emerging Teams Cup Group A match played at the CCC grounds yesterday. The ambidextrous Mendis picked up three for 3 for 46 as he combined with Lasith Amabuldeniya to restrict visitors for 210–bowled out with 13 balls to spare. But it was his fighting half-century that helped SL escaped through with the skin of their teeth. more..

Clipping Haturusingha’s wings, good or bad?

Dec 9 (Island) For the first time since the arrival of Chandika Hathurusingha to rescue a struggling SL side, his employers have turned down one of his requests. Hathurusingha over the last 11 months was given a free hand. He was allowed to choose the players, support staff and resource persons as SLC without holding back backed him and spent lavishly on all what the coach asked for. This week his request for a fielding more..

Counting the costs

Dec 9 (ST) It was bright and sunny this Thursday morning and Kussi Amma Sera and her buddies – Serapina and Mabel Rasthiyadu (the down-the-road gossip) – were in a good mood, laughing and cracking jokes, while reading the daily Lankadipa newspaper. They appeared to be reading the gossip column in the newspaper and giggled and laughed their way through, not at all perturbed by the constitutional and political events that have gripped nation since Prez Sirisena’s master-stroke more..

Female cricketers to the fore

Dec 9 (SO) With the female cricketers competing well in the local and int'l scene, the emphasis from this year will be to promote them at the Observer Mobitel schools cricketer contest. This will create an ideal platform for both the male and female cricketers to perform and enhance their standard to national level. “Now even the country is taking the female cricketers seriously, by allowing them to participate in int'l and Asian events,” said Nalin Perera the CEO of Mobitel. more..

SLC’s Anti-Corruption Unit is on its way

Dec 9 (ST) At a time when chaos is the name of the game, we would even feel a snowflake is like a gift from heaven. Yet, in tropical Sri Lanka, snowflakes are only confined to the television and in the minds of kids who follow Yuletide. Yet, in the midst of all these unpleasant experiences, the news that Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva delivered was most timely and welcome. Last week de Silva said all work pertaining to setting up more..

Head coach says it all started with just one deaf player

Dec 9 (ST) The nation stood up to salute the SL Deaf cricket team on their arrival at the island as World T20 Deaf cricket champions. They scored a heroic victory over fancied India at the inaugural World T20 Cricket Championship for Deaf cricketers in Gurugram, India last week. Messages of happiness, surprise and relief started to flow from all corners of the island. The general public wasn’t aware of the fact that a deaf cricket team from SL had participated in the World Championship. more..

35% interest rate cap on Lanka’s microfinance industry

Dec 9 (ST) The Central Bank (CB) has introduced a maximum rate of interest for microfinance loans with the aim of protecting customers from being charged exorbitant interest rates on microfinance loans granted by Licensed Finance Companies (LFCs). LFCs are barred from charging a rate exceeding 35 per cent per annum inclusive of all other charges on micro-finance loans, a directive issued by the CB under the Finance Business Act revealed recently. Microfinance and finance companies more..

The vanishing Galle Face Green

Dec 9 (CT) Living spaces in the city have to be acknowledged, facilitated and protected. If those living spaces are destroyed, ruining livelihoods, it will end up adding to the Govt’s burden. The country is already faced with an economic downturn, whatever the caretaker govt would have us believe. So, why does it continue to see the need to paralyse more people by claiming their living spaces? more..

SL doesn’t produce cheap garments: JAAF

Dec 9 (SO) Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) looks forward to having a stable rupee and is not very keen on short term gains, JAAF Secretary General Tuli Cooray said. With the launch of JAAF’s new logo, the industry plans to forge ahead with its third strategic plan, taking the industry to the next level. “We want to continue our third strategic plan and for this we deviated from the norm of getting the executive committee to prepare the plan. The strategic plan was prepared by more..

Mathews’ fighting ton saves Lankans some blushes

Dec 9 (ST) Angelo Mathews defied New Zealand XI’s bowling attack and overcame unaccustomed tough conditions at the McLean Park in Napier with a masterful century on the opening day of the tour match on Saturday. Sri Lanka were in danger of being bowled out cheaply after host bowlers ran through SL’s fragile batting order reducing them for 104 for nine by the 36th over but Mathews–possibly best batsman in the SL side, scored an unbeaten 128 as Sri Lanka declared on 210 for nine. more..

Galle Fort lands sold to foreigners: Brokers make a killing

Dec 9 (CT) Galle Heritage Foundation (GHF) alleges that since there is no proper and constant management of lands and buildings in the eye-catching Galle Fort, brokers have got involved and to a large extent, lands have fallen into the hands of foreigners. According to GHF, up to now, more than 100 buildings in the Galle Fort have been purchased by foreigners and they are carrying out various businesses in them. more..

Three children walk into police station claiming starvation

Dec 9 (DM) Three children, who walked into the Pottuvil Police Station complaining of starvation and begging for food were given police protection. Police said two boys, aged 13 and 14 and a seven-year-old girl had told police that their father was employed abroad and their mother had ill-treated them. OIC Pottuvil Police IP Nishantha Kumarasingha immediately provided them meals and initiated investigations to find that their mother had not fed them for two days. more..

Constitutional Crisis: another $ 100mn flees SL's capital markets last week

Dec 9 (LBO) Last week, the recent trend of foreign outflow from Sri Lanka’s stock and bond markets picked up speed with almost US$100mn of outflows in just the last week. This takes total outflows since the constitutional crisis to approximately US$350mn. Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis started less than one and a half months ago on Oct 26, 2018. Total outflows since the start of 2018 are approximately US$900mn. The outflows before the crisis were due to global factors such as more..

Public officials threaten to ignore Presidential orders

Dec 9 (ST) SL’s public services – functions of ministries, corporations, and department’s state institutions and statutory boards have been hampered as the entire state machinery is now without a proper authority as a result of the current political instability, a group of senior public officials disclosed. A majority section of high ranking public officers serving in state institutions including the Treasury is reported to have vowed that more..

MR supporter Iraj Weeraratne says he was duped by Yukthiye Handa organizers

Dec 9 (AM) Popular singer Iraj Weeratratne, posting a selfie video from the Yukthiye Handa event last evening, lamented he was duped by organizers who said it was a gathering to promote democracy in Sri Lanka. Weeraratne, a strong supporter of former President Rajapaksa, said the event ultimately promoted the UNP and its leader Ranil wickremesinghe. The singer said some artistes, who did not wish to associate with party politics, left the event when they realized that more..

Video: JVP will not support motion to express confidence in Ranil

Dec 9 (AD) The JVP says its MPs will not support a motion which is expected to be presented in Parliament to express confidence in UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Speaking at a press briefing on Saturday, JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said that the motion is being brought by the UNP and that the JVP will have no part of it. We will not get involved in this battle over the premiership or any plans to form a govt, he said. He said they will not express confidence as there is no confidence. more..

Borrowing plans undermined due to political uncertainty, as major institutions await...

Dec 9 (ST) Lending institutions that had initially pledged money to SL are now holding back till court decisions offer some clarity on the political situation, authoritative Govt sources said. “If we get the borrowing requirement to a manageable level, this situation can be managed,” said one senior finance official on condition of anonymity. “However, what has happened in the past month is that it has been made more difficult.” more..

Worst week for T-bond market: Suffers Rs 17 billion foreign outflows

Dec 9 (CT) The country’s Treasury (T) Bond market had its worst week in the year thus far where it suffered net foreign outflows (NFOs) to the tune of a massive Rs 16,997.03 million in the week ended Wednesday, data showed. In US dollar terms, such exits are equivalent to US$ 94.88 million. They are fuelled by the political crisis of 26 October. Since then, such NFOs have amounted to Rs 51.2 billion and in dollar terms, $ 288.55 million. Such NFOs had its genesis since the beginning of May. more..

USS John C. Stennis Leverages Logistics Hub in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (C7F) Taking advantage of a growing naval partnership with Sri Lanka, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) established a logistics hub in Sri Lanka to receive support, supplies and services at sea. A C-2 Greyhound carrier onboard delivery aircraft accessed the hub’s strategic location before bringing supplies to John C. Stennis. Established on a temporary basis in the island nation, the hub provides logistics support to U.S. Navy ships operating in Indian Ocean. more..

One and a half month long op. led to seizure of the second largest heroin haul

Dec 9 (ST) The second largest haul of heroin seized in SL, was detected by the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officials in the seas off Beruwala last week. The 231 kilograms of heroin with an estimated street value of more than Rs. 2,778 million was believed to have been intended for transshipment via Sri Lanka. The one and a half month long operation was coordinated between PNB, STF, SL Coast Guard and SL Navy. more..

What next after SC ruling? Sirisena weighs options

Dec 9 (ST) With the Supreme Court ruling on the dissolution of Parliament due likely next week, President Maithripala Sirisena is weighing his options on what next. If the court rules that the dissolution is constitutional, Mr Sirisena told the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee (CC) on Friday night that he would seek an electoral alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP). If the ruling was otherwise, he said, he would consult the CC on the steps to be taken. more..

Suspension of all payments to ministers and their staff

Dec 9 (ST) All payments to ministers and their personal staff have been suspended on a directive from the Public Administration Ministry, consequent on a Court of Appeal stay order which has restrained the functions of the ministers. Public Administration Ministry Secretary J.J. Ratnasiri said the payments to ministers, state and deputy ministers, their allowances including payments for fuel and phones, and the personal staff emoluments had been suspended from this week. more..

Fire and fury at Monday’s talks with UNF leaders; compromise plans end in stalemate

Dec 9 (ST) Six weeks into the imbroglio, his efforts to talk things over and settle the exacerbating issues, ahead of a Supreme Court ruling challenging the dissolution of Parliament, ended in disaster. It was only last week the Sunday Times (political commentary) revealed how Sirisena sought a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement. This was to become the finale to issues that erupted after ousting PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, installing more..

Presidential bluff and brinkmanship

Dec 9 (Island) President Sirisena is playing a desperate game of bluff and brinkmanship. He is bluffing when he gives deadlines to resolve the current state of legal non-govt and the standoff between himself and the legislature. And he is daring the UNP to dump Ranil Wickremesinghe as party leader. Anyone of the 225 legislators other than Ranil Wickremesinghe is acceptable to him as PM, but not Wickremesinghe even if he were to demonstrate unanimous support in p'ment. more..

Why didn’t they tell the President?

Dec 9 (Island) President appears to believe that he still possesses the full executive powers he derived from the Constitution when he was elected to his office in Jan 2015. Three months later, he sat during a tumultuous session in Parliament and witnessed the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, introduced by the Govt of which he was the Head. That Amendment removed all his executive powers except three which he still enjoys: the power to appoint ambassadors, more..

Despite political turmoil, President flies to Kilinochchi

Dec 9 (ST) President appears to believe that he still possesses the full executive powers he derived from the Constitution when he was elected to his office in Jan 2015. Three months later, he sat during a tumultuous session in Parliament and witnessed the passage of the 19th Amendment, introduced by the Govt of which he was the Head. That Amendment removed all his executive powers except three which he still enjoys: more..

100% increase in basic daily wage not sustainable: Planters’ Assn.

Dec 9 (Island) In the backdrop of the indefinite strike action launched by Trade Union (TU) leaders from Dec 4 onwards, the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) firmly reiterated the position of its membership – that a 100% increase in daily basic wages as demanded by the TUs simply cannot be sustained by the industry. "All Regional Plantation Companies pay their employees’ through what is earned as revenue; however more..

Highways Ministry exposé: Payments for bogus employees

Dec 9 (SO) Monthly payments ranging from Rs. 25,000-Rs. 125,000 made illegally to 44 outsiders by fraudulently treating them as employees of Maga Neguma under the purview of the Highways Ministry has been exposed. Sources said that these payments had been made from January, 2016 to March, 2018 to people ranging from a manager of Marga Sathiya project, two Kandy district project coordinators, more..

CID-GA team leaves for HK to recover deleted recordings from Namal’s phone

Dec 9 (DM) A three-member team of the CID and Govt Analyst Department had left for Hong Kong to recover voice recordings, deleted from the Operations Director of the Anti-Corruption Force Namal Kumara’s mobile phone. The Police said two officers comprising ASP and a Chief Inspector of the CID and a Govt Analyst Department Official had left for Hong Kong Saturday night along with Namal Kumara’s phone. more..

'Five ministry Secretaries to be summoned'

Dec 9 (NR) A group of UNF MPs have handed over a motion to the Speaker of House calling for five Secretaries to Ministries to be summoned for questioning. MP Champika Ranawaka said the motion was also handed over to the Parliament Secretary General. He said the motion calls for the five officials to be summoned before several Parliamentary committees for questioning. more..