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Elephants now in demand for their skin

Dec 9 (SO) Recent times have seen the emergence of a dangerous trend that would adversely affect elephant populations everywhere. This is the growing demand for the skins of elephants, especially, of the Asian elephant. A study, started by an UK-based NGO called the Elephant Family, has made some startling revelations in this respect. They have carried out a detailed survey of the illegal elephant skin trade that has been more..

SLFP goes for broad political alliance

Dec 9 (SO) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has decided to form a broad political alliance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and other constituent parties in the UPFA rainbow coalition including the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Communist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party, National Freedom Front and other progressive forces who are willing to join the new alliance to contest future elections. more..

Only 18% live in urban areas in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (Island) Sri Lanka was one of the world’s least urbanized countries. Of a population of 21 million, UN Habitat 2014 The State of Sri Lankan Cities revision report says that only 18% live in urban areas. By 2050, the nation’s urban population is expected to reach only 30%. Significant challenges remain in the areas of urban planning and design, including environment and strategic city management, land and more..

Sri Lanka heads for govt shut down as crisis drags

Dec 9 (EN) The public sector could be at a standstill from the end of the month unless the political power struggle is ended and parliament makes urgent arrangements to meet expenditure in the New Year, officials warned Saturday. Prez Sirisena triggered the unprecedented crisis by sacking PM Ranil Wickremesinghe just 10 days before the unveiling of the on Nov 5. The disputed govt he installed has failed to announce more..

Power sector in doldrums due to Political crisis

Dec 9 (CT) A high ranking official of the CEB said, that the procurement process of the power and energy sector has come to a standstill due to the political crisis existing in the country. The reason − there is no Cabinet at present. On occasions when a Cabinet does not exist, the Standard Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) also gets annulled. The official said that a number of Tender Procedures, more..

We will walk on and walk on

Dec 10 (CT) SL awaits the determination of the Supreme Court on the authority and sustainability of the President’s gazette notification dissolving parliament and scheduling fresh elections to elect a new parliament. Holding elections is not democracy. Holding elections under the rule of law is democracy. Now, the President has told us how he expected our democracy to work. In an interview he has explained why Mahanda Rajapaksa, his pick to replace Ranil Wiskremesnghe failed to garner more..

The Sirisena Syndrome

Dec 10 (CT) What is happening in SL since Oct 26th is something unique in the country’s democracy. At no time before, the nation had been deprived of an elected govt. At no time before, since the introduction of the presidential constitution, had the country seen a president whose only consistency has been his inconsistency. At no time before, had minority parties like TNA, SLMC, and JVP been compelled by destiny to unite to save democracy in the interest of generations to come, more..

Forgotten forever!

Dec 10 (SO) Stigma and myth about mental illness has left scores of women and men destitute, rejected and forgotten by their own families. SO glimpses into the lives of women at Halfway Home, in Mulleriyawa. Women with mental illnesses are often abandoned by their families due to the stigma and the lack of mental health rehabilitation centres, Mental Health experts said. Walking down the Hospital hallway, she stands out! more..

Ying and Yan

Dec 10 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa issued two press releases on Dec 3. One in Sinhala, the other in English. The press release was in response to the interim stay order issued by the Court of Appeal, basically putting Rajapaksa out of the job he was unconstitutionally appointed into and hasn’t to date demonstrated any capacity to retain, even illegally. The English version was, unsurprisingly, terse and succinct. However, when juxtaposed with the Sinhala version, immediately obvious, more..

Mr. President, sorry to say, but no one is above the law

Dec 10 (ST) For five short weeks former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had flown high as the Sirisena appointed prime ministerial bird but had his wings clipped this Monday and was forced to crash down when he got a drubbing from the Court of Appeal when it issued a stay order suspending him acting in that capacity till December 12 when the matter will be taken up for argument. It not only applied to him but to all members of the Sirisena cabinet after Friday October 26. more..

'President found green camp’s snobbishness intolerable'

Dec 10 (CT) Former NP Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, says that the political crisis is because Prez Sirisena found the snobbishness in the Green camp intolerable and he was thus forced to return to his roots in the Blue camp. But the Blue camp was now different. It is no more the Blue camp which Chandrika Kumaratunga led. Still, the President felt he had to join the blue camp since he could not continue in the green camp more..

Are we seeing the death of SLFP?

Dec 10 (CT) Former Prez Chandrika Kumaratunga is not happy these days. In fact, she indicated the same last week via letter to the Secretary General of the SLFP Prof. Rohana Lakshman Piyadasa. Kumaratunga is angry because she was not invited to the special convention that the SLFP held on 4 Dec at the Sugathadasa Stadium. In a letter to Piyadasa, which was also released to the Media, she complained that “all SLFP members have been invited except me & Kelaniya Organizer more..

Is SL’s mental health sector coming of age?

Dec 10 (CT) At a time when we desperately need positive role models to boost the flagging image of the country, an unlikely hero emerged this past week. The New York Times of 4 Dec carried a story titled After War’s End, a Long Struggle to Patch Invisible Wounds that highlights an individual who we may otherwise never have known of. While most efforts since the end of the war have been directed at rebuilding infrastructure – roads, bridges, buildings - Dr. V. Jegaruban, more..

Vijitha Herath

A constitutional crisis is not a dispute between monks

Dec 10 (ST) President Sirisena’s implied criticism of the Sri Lankan judiciary when speaking at the SLFP convention this Tuesday, referencing himself as the Mahanayake (seniormost prelate) of a Nikaya (chapter) being educated by the head monk of a village temple invokes strong and unequivocal condemnation in no uncertain terms. What is in issue here however is at its very core, the constitutional separation of powers involving checks and balances between the executive, more..

Businesses need confidence to survive through the current political unrest

Dec 10 (ST) While the country is going through a dilemma of political unrest for over a month, heads of chambers are urging businesses to hold on to the situation and not to lose confidence or hope. Businesses have a very important role to play at times like this when the environment seems to be very uncertain. This emerged when the Sunday Times Business Club last week organised a timely discussion titled Managing a Business during Turbulent Times at the Kingsbury Colombo, more..

Six weeks since Sri Lanka's political crisis began: Where do things stand now?

Dec 10 (Roar) It has now been six weeks since the country was thrown into disarray after Prez Sirisena replaced his PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with former nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa. In the weeks that followed, legislators engaged in bitter political warfare, trying to outmanoeuvre each other in support of their candidate for the coveted position of power. But former President Mahinda Rajapaksa faced more..

Sri Lankan democracy at the crossroads

Dec 10 (Island) The rule of law and a civil society bound by conventions of justice and Fairness are today under challenge. A democratic form of govt in which the party (or a coalition of Parties) with the greatest representation in Govt forms the Govt, its leader becoming the Prime Minister. This is the basic tenet of a Democratic Govt. So one cannot understand this bickering and unnecessary legal issues because the powers that be cannot accept what is legal and fair. more..

Edtorial: President’s logic

Dec 10 (Island) The UNP and its allies accuse Prez Sirisena of having stabbed ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in the back, in October. He twisted the knife again the other day. In 2014, what Sirisena did to his boss, President Rajapaksa, was likened to Brutus sinking his poniard in Caesar’s back up to the cross-guard. Prez Sirisena claims that there were conspiracies against him in the yahapalana govt. If so, what he did to Ranil on 26 Oct, by way of a preemptive strike, more..

Mendis special potent even in Oman

Dec 10 (ST) Six years after former SL skipper Duleep Mendis undertook to lift the standard of cricket in Oman, a team predominantly consisting of working expatriates, are now on the verge of gaining ODI status. This will be a huge milestone for a country whose cricketers are not even semi-professional. Mendis believes, come April, his charges could create history by finishing among the top four in WCL more..

Pan Pacific diving: Chanaka wins 3 Golds

Dec 10 (ST) Chanaka Wickremesinghe, former SL national diving team caption, won three individual gold medals at Pan Pacific Masters Games 2018 held in Gold Coast last month in masters category. The achievement of Wickremesinghe, the Asian bronze medalist, is the first time where a single Sri Lankan has won highest number of gold medal in such an event held at international level. Wickremesinghe represented Sri Lanka solo among 12 nations including Australia in 30-35 year more..

Danushka & Lahiru solid in warm-up game

Dec 10 (Island) Opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka and Lahiru Thirimanne shared an 116 run stand for the first wicket as Sri Lanka reached 160 for two at stumps on day two of their 3-day warm-up game against NZ XI at McLean Park in Napier, yesterday. Gunathilaka, who made 83 off 77 balls with 12 fours and one six may have edged out Thirimanne, who made 45 in 83 ball with six boundaries, for the sole vacant opener’s slot. Regular opener and vice-captain Dimuth more..

New US Ambassador opens up to Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (FT) A career member of the US Senior Foreign Service, the US new Ambassador in SL Alaina B. Teplitz describes her job as both exciting and challenging. This is because her arrival in Sri Lanka was at a time when the country is at crossroads in terms of democracy and politics, whilst the potential to achieve stability and prosperity is also high. Speaking to the Daily FT in her first ever interview with the local media, Teplitz, more..

Constructions of Diya Man bridge under President’s observation

Dec 10 (PMD) The news Diya Man bridge constructed in parellel the Gini Petti bridge of Polonnaruwa was inspected by President Sirisena today (8). This bridge situated in Wijayabhahupura in Polonnruwa belongs to the cannel which carries water to paddy cultivations from Parakarama Samudraya. As a longterm step taken under the program Pibidemu Polonnaruwa this bridge is built spending an amount of Rs.250 million and the canal provides water for paddy culivation. more..

Some traders buying stocks in anticipation of Parliament dissolution

Dec 10 (ST) Despite the country being gripped by a constitutional face-off Colombo’s share investors propped the market up marginally for most of the week but it ended mixed on Friday amidst attractive valuations and certain traders’ hope of the court holding with the dissolution of Parliament decision, analysts said. For more than a month the market has been gripped by the impasse between President Maithripala Sirisena and his sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who refuses to step down. more..

Political crisis speeds up dollar outflows

Dec 10 (FT) The ongoing unprecedented political crisis has triggered a faster outflow of dollars from SL’s debt and capital markets as per the latest provisional data. Week ended 5 Dec saw a foreign outflow of Rs. 17 billion, highest in 23 months whilst the stock market witnessed a near Rs. 1 billion flight last week. The bond market saw outflows of about Rs. 51.2 billion between 25 Oct and 5 Dec whilst in the stock market more..

Navy proudly celebrates its 68th anniversary

Dec 10 (SLN) 68th anniversary of the SL Navy which boasts of an illustrious history falls today (9). A series of programmes organized to mark the anniversary celebrations of the Golden Fence around the Nation – SL Navy got underway during the past couple of weeks under the expert guidance and directives of the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe. As such, a number of celebratory events were held giving prominence to religious and social welfare activities more..

LAUGFS Power to invest Rs 3.5 bn to produce 20 MV solar power

Dec 10 (DN) LAUGFS Power Ltd a subsidiary of LAUGFS Gas PLC, will invest a further Rs. 3.5 billion until 2020 to add 20 MV of solar power to the national Grid. LAUGFS Power engaged in renewable energy solutions with mini hydro power (since 2014) and solar power generation projects currently owns and operates SL’s largest solar power project in Hambantota and plans tore-invest in two stages to add 20 MW of Solar. The first 10 MW project in Hambantota is a Joint venture more..

Port of Colombo reports 28.8% increase in cruise ship arrivals

Dec 10 (Island) A remarkable growth of the cruise ships calling at the Port of Colombo has been reported this year. 45 cruise ships have called at the Port of Colombo in the past 10 months of this year which is a 28.8% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2017. This record-breaking growth is a significant achievement after declaring the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 as tourism and investment years of Sri Lanka more..

Dhammika Perera firms sweep CA Sri Lanka’s 54th Annual Report Awards

Dec 10 (FT) Hayleys Group and Vallibel Group, owned by renowned SL business magnate Dhammika Perera, have clinched the most number of awards at the latest annual report competition, reinforcing their commitment to and excellence in good governance. Out of the 100 awards presented at CA Sri Lanka’s 54th Annual Report Awards on 4 Dec, Hayleys Plc and Vallibel Group won a total of 18 awards, highlighting their outstanding status in good corporate governance & disclosure more..

HIPG attracts first drillship to Hambantota International Port

Dec 10 (FT) Hambantota International Port marked another first, coinciding with their first anniversary celebrations yesterday, when the drill ship Aban Abraham berthed at the Port. The birthday call by the ship was the first of its kind for the Port and proof of Hambantota International Port Group’s (HIPG) success in pursuing new and diverse business opportunities for the fully equipped modernised Port. HIPG saw this business as a good entry point for the Hambantota International Port to be placed more..

Huge LNG contract deadline now extended after ST exposure

Dec 10 (ST) From as early as 2005, Board of Investment (BOI) had received several proposals to set up liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plants and regasification units, but there was no progress till Cabinet approved a US$ 500mn plant by China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) in May this year. There is renewed interest in the subject after the Sunday Times exposed last week that, amidst serious political turmoil, more..

Monks, residents protest over last week’s assault on monk

Dec 10 (ST) Around 100 Buddhist monks and area residents yesterday staged a protest over last week’s assault of a resident monk at the Sudharshanaramaya in Maharagama The Ven Kottawe Hemawansa Thera was allegedly assaulted by an Urban Councillor of the area. The crowd gathered yesterday at the center of the town demanding action against the alleged suspect identified as Maharagama UC member Nishantha Wimalachandran. more..

Drunk driver causes two accidents; three dead, seven injured

Dec 10 (AD) Investigations have revealed that, the driver responsible for the two motor accidents, which killed 3 persons and injured 7 others, had been driving under influence of alcohol. At around 12.10 am today (9), a car had collided with a car arriving from the opposite direction and two other motorbikes, near a fuel station in Ratmalana. The driver of the other car and one biker had been killed in the accident and four other persons have been admitted to the Kalubowila Hospital more..

Constitutional crisis: Bandula blames it on foreign interference

Dec 10 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena claimed that proving a simple majority in parliament went awry due to unprecedented international interference. He admitted that the actual situation was far more different to what was publicly stated by politicians. Gunawardena said that they faced an unexpected obstacles by way of foreign interference hence the current constitutional crisis. more..

Video: Past govt acted without an understanding of country’s security: Gota

Dec 10 (AD) Former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated that the current political situation has arisen from making 19th Amendment with a view to achieving personal political interests. He mentioned this responding to questions posed by the media personnel at the end of a certificate awarding ceremony at the Dr. Piyasena Rathuwithana Astrological Science Academy. He stated that past govt did not act with a proper understanding of the country’s security. more..

Video: Police discover 10 firearms in Beruwala

Dec 10 (AD) A 40-year-old man had been arrested with nine fire arms including a MP5K weapon used for VIP protection and a stock ammunition in Beruwala, Police said. “Suspect was arrested earlier the same day at the Lathpandura Junction in Baduraliya on possession of several ammunition,” they said. Following questioning of the suspect, Police recovered six shot guns and six rounds of ammunition, one 2.5 gun and 800 rounds of ammunition, weapon used for VIP protection more..

A young UNPer should run for Prez: SLMC

Dec 10 (Island) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem has called for fielding someone young from the UNP as a common candidate at the next presidential election. He said that there was a need for a young UNPer to run for President and leader the UNP-led alliance, at the next parliamentary election. Hakeem, however, said his party would back UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament if a motion was presented more..

Irrigation Dept. distorts history at Iranamadu

Dec 10 (ST) The plaque which acknowledged the contribution of late Prime Minister, D.S. Senanayake, and the opening of the renovated Iranamadu Tank in 1954 by then Agriculture Minister Dudley Senanayake has been completely destroyed and replaced with a plaque bearing the name of President Maithripala Sirisena. The construction of the Iranamadu tank which is regarded as the Gem of Kilinochchi, began in 1906 and was first used for irrigating fields in 1922. more..

New TID Director

Dec 10 (Island) SSP W.S.E. Jayasundera has been appointed new Director of the police Terrorism Investigation Division (TID). He has been placed in charge of the Ministerial Co-ordination Division. Jayasundera was previously in charge of the Jaffna Police Division. Jayasundera succeeded DIG Nalaka de Silva, who was arrested in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..