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'Strong LG system & amended current List'

Dec 13 (CT) The problems of the Tamil community can only be solved by strengthening Local Govt bodies or by strengthening certain areas of the current list, said MP Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. He added that in case the Supreme Court does not give a decision in favour of the people’s sovereignty, they would form a political movement. The 117 votes garnered by the UNP in yesterday’s Parliamentary session where a Vote of Confidence on UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM was taken up, more..

Tea output, export income targets hit by worker strike

Dec 13 (DM) The umbrella organisation of the regional plantation companies (RPCs), the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA), yesterday cautioned that this year’s tea output would fall below 300 million kilos while the tea export income would fall below US $ 1.5 billion, due to the ongoing estate workers’ strike launched by trade unions, demanding to double the basic daily wage of estate workers. more..

Appoint two or more directors to UL Board with aviation experience: PCoI

Dec 13 (Island) The PCoI is of the view that at least two or more persons with aviation experience should be appointed to the Board of Directors of the airline. PCoI Chairperson, Anil Goonaratne, after listening to the testimony of former senior executive at the airline Rajiva Prakash Jayaweera made that observation. Earlier, Jayaweera spoke of the importance of writing board papers in a simple but comprehensive manner. "SriLankan Board of Directors has a lot of things to consider. more..

'UNF struggle to establish good governance'

Dec 13 (DN) The UNF will initiate a crucial struggle to establish democracy and good governance in the country by Dec 17, said MP Rajitha Senaratne. “We will bring the people on to the streets demanding the authorities concerned to establish democracy and good governance by adhering to the decisions of the Legislature where the people will surround govt offices too,” he said. He said that the Police should discharge their duties in accordance with the law of the country and they cannot indulge in more..

Won’t function as part of UNF govt: ITAK

Dec 13 (CT) The ITAK made it clear, that they would not function as a part of a UNF Govt and that they would continue to be seated in the Opposition. However, the Party extended its support to the restoration of a Govt led by the UNF as it existed prior to 26 Oct, MP Mavai Senathirajah, making a statement in Parliament on behalf of the ITAK/TNA, said. The House on the same day passed a motion supporting UNP Leader more..

OPA expresses deep concern, urges all parties to uphold spirit of democracy

Dec 13 (FT) The Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA), in a statement yesterday, expressed its deep concern over the political impasse and urged all parties to uphold the spirit of democracy. As the apex body of 51 professional associations representing 32 professions, the OPA said as an apolitical body, it is greatly concerned about the present political impasse in country and decided to issue a statement after having long deliberations. more..

'Only six out of 30 SriLankan Airlines routes profitable'

Dec 13 (Island) In the financial year 2017/18 only six routes, out of over 30, operated by SriLankan Airlines had been profitable, PCoI was told. Rajiva Jayaweera, a former SriLankan Country Manager and a Regional Manager at Qatar Airways informed the PCoI that in the 2016/17 financial year only five routes had been profitable. "We have made profits from short routes. However, this is nothing new, even when Emirates was operating we didn’t make profit from flight operations. more..

JVP blames Ranil

Dec 13 (CT) The JVP criticized UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, saying that it was he who created the platform for the political coup by Prez Sirisena and Former Prez Rajapaksa. Participating in the debate, on the confidence motion in support of Wickremesinghe as the PM, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the current political turmoil was triggered as a result of Wickremesinghe and his Govt shifting away more..

Totally new Constitution vital: Wijenayake

Dec 13 (CT) The present confusion existing with regard to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution only served to underscore the need for a new Constitution, Chairman of the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms, Senior Attorney Lal Wijenayake said. He however emphasized that though there may be loopholes and contradictions abound in the present, post-19th Amendment Constitution, the intention of the said Amendment was clear. more..

Govt has not decided to suspend Singapore FTA: Ministry

Dec 13 (FT) Int'l Trade and Investment Promotion Ministry yesterday categorically denied news articles stating that further actions on the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have been temporarily suspended, adding that the Govt is yet to take a decision on it. “The Govt of SL has not yet decided to temporarily suspend the SL-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. The further actions on the trade agreement will be taken based on the recommendations of the expert committee more..

Politics cloud SL’s growth prospects in Asia’s fastest growing sub region: ADB

Dec 13 (FT) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) warned that politics is clouding Sri Lanka’s growth prospects despite being in developing Asia’s fastest growing sub-region, South Asia. “Recent political uncertainty will cloud SL’s growth prospects in the short term,” ADB said in its Asian Development Outlook Supplement. This cautioning was after ADB acknowledged that SL’s GDP grew by 3.7% in Q2 of 2018, more..

The return of Rahul

Dec 13 (DM) Till a few days back Rahul Gandhi had a nickname that no poll victory could erase off. It’s Pappu which means loser. However everything has changed overnight. Congress party’s spectacular victory in the assembly polls in Hindu hinterland of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has made people see the young Congress President in a new light. There is a metamorphosis of a new leader. By the time Rahul Gandhi completed one year as Prez of Congress party on Dec 12, more..

Citizens as suckers

Dec 13 (DM) So Sri Lanka! That’s a tourism promotional line. It’s more subtle and of course far less pretentious than Aasiyaave Aascharya (Miracle of Asia). In a way it’s more Sri Lankan come to think of it. In other words, we are a pretty laid back nation. Of course some may disagree. So let’s consider the current political situation. We had a powerful (note the inverted commas) movement intent on delivering good governance (some would say it was more anti-Rajapaksa than pro anything else). more..

Parties gear up for elections pending court ruling

Dec 13 (DM) The political gridlock takes a turn for the worse each passing day pending the ruling by the Supreme Court on Fundamental Rights Applications filed in regards to dissolution of Parliament. It is even compounded by the fact that the Court of Appeal has restrained PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning. Against this backdrop, Prez Sirisena convened a meeting of the Govt members, including Rajapaksa, more..

Use forensic science to drag Mugalan’s killers into court

Dec 13 (ST) Investigations into crimes against animals should be handled as forensically as normal criminal investigations, a top animal crimes expert urged as sadness and anger swept the nation over the killing of the Udawalawe tusker, Mugalan, last week. The maximum penalty for the culprits was urged. “A proper crime scene investigation is the first step in tackling wildlife crimes,” said Ravi Perera, more..

Wheelchair bound War Hero completes cross country journey at Point Pedro

Dec 13 (SLA) The adventurous wheelchair War Hero, Corporal Gemunu Karunarathne of 6 Gajaba Regiment who challenged challenges in life covering his planned distance of 576 km from Point Dondra to Point Pedro within 8 days arrived at his final destination, Point Pedro on Tuesday to be received in a rousing reception, graced by Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi, Commander, Security Forces- Jaffna, more..

Post 2015 prez poll appointment scrapped following controversy

Dec 13 (Island) Close on the heels of the revelation of several dozens of persons, including civil society activist, Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, receiving special monthly payments beginning April 2015 from govt-owned Litro Gas, it has now come to light that public-private enterprise Lanka Hospitals terminated a special appointment made following the last presidential election. Well informed sources said that the termination followed Daljith Singh, more..

Driving schools bribe examiners

Dec 13 (CT) An increase in the number of road deaths due to accidents either by motor vehicle or motorcycle has been attributed to driver learner schools which pay little or no attention to the quality of drivers they produce and motor traffic examiners are bribed by driving schools to pass their students. It has been found that in 2015, the number of accidents had been 2,817 while it increased to 3,017 and 3,148 in 2016 and 2017 respectively. more..

Concern rises over Justice Wanasundera

Dec 13 (EN) Controversial Supreme Court judge Eva Wanasundera is set to hear an appeal by her law-college pal Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday raising concern among opposing petitioners who fear bias. The appeal filed against a Court of Appeal interim order restraining Rajapaksa and his purported cabinet exercising the powers of their offices is to be taken up by a three-judge bench of the highest court on Friday. more..

Purported pact with TNA, forged by SLPP: UNP

Dec 13 (Island) UNP said that it would institute legal action against SLPP for circulating a false agreement that UNP had purportedly entered into with the TNA. UNP MPs Ashu Marasinghe and Mujibur Rahuman, challenged the authors of the false agreement to a television debate. "They can pick a television channel that is favourable to them. We hope Gamanpilla and Weerawansa would accept our invitation." more..

Jon Lewis appointed Sri Lanka's new batting coach

Dec 13 (CI) Jon Lewis, the former Durham county head coach, has been appointed SL's new batting coach, displacing incumbent Thilan Samaraweera. Lewis, 48, will join the Sri Lanka team after the Test series against New Zealand concludes, on Dec 30, and has a contract that will take him through to the end of the 2019 World Cup. A highly-rated coach in England, Lewis oversaw the latter stages of Durham's run to more..

UNF expects Ranil re-appointment, JVP wants coup leaders punished

Dec 13 (EN) UNF expects appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe to be re-appointed PM while their opponents said a decision will be taken tonight after the Supreme Court reversed a sacking of parliament by President Sirisena. "Sri Lanka has a strong democratic traditions, illegitimate acts by the executive or or parliament cannot be sustained over a long period of time," Eran Wickremeratne, from the UNP said. more..

Video: Dissolution of Parliament unconstitutional: SC

Dec 13 (AD) Supreme Court announces that the gazette notification dissolving the parliament is not in accordance with the constitution. The seven member judge bench unanimously made this judgment stating that it was illegal to dissolve the parliament before its 4.5 year term limit. Supreme Court delivered its judgment on the petition on the President’s decision to dissolve the parliament, a short while ago. more..

Let memory speak: A litany of remembrance

Dec 14 (GV) Any intelligent discourse must offer memory its rightful place. This is because, memory has present potential, to take us to happenings of the past, so that happenings to come, may be less divisive and destructive. Memory is a human attribute that sits above human rights and does not depend on constitutions or the judiciary for protection. Memory is invincible and universal; no tyrant can dissolve, distort or destroy it, and it sustains the political prisoner, more..

Of that deadly bomb

Dec 14 (Island) It is seven weeks since the President dropped a deadly, destabilizing bomb on the country and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel which, disturbingly, appears to be extra long. He said he would solve the problem in one week. That was a couple of days ago. We prefer the courts of law to settle our problems since we have faith in the judiciary; thank you. He makes worse and worse statements. He too is now blaming foreign powers/countries, more..

Reaching the summit of our Seventh highest mountain

Dec 14 (SO) Between sleep and wakefulness, ten hours and forty four minutes is a hard journey in the Badulla bound night mail train, as we passed the Watagoda Station. This is the only railway station with two platforms on the up country railway line. Our destination was the No 61 Railway Station, the Great Western (GW), one of the most beautiful stations in the hill country. When we reached our destination at 6.44 am more..

Sinhala Ostentation: From the island to Toronto

Dec 14 (CT) Sinhalese Immigrants from Colombo who have migrated to Toronto are an interesting phenomenon. I’m going to concentrate on this very specific segment of society because I am, by the fate of birth, one of them. Or so that’s what I’ve been told and raised to believe. But sometimes I feel nothing like them. Mostly because as a human rights advocate their prejudice disturbs me. The prejudice is evident in the selective ways they engage with others in Toronto. more..

Potential of coastal and marine tourism

Dec 14 (DN) Sri Lanka is blessed with plentiful and diverse coastal and marine resources having a high potential value for tourism. Around 1,000 miles of coastal area in the country are extensively utilised for tourism product development. About 75% of the graded hotels in Sri Lanka and 80% of the hotel rooms are located in coastal areas. The waters around the coastline are filled with valuable aquatic resources including over 1,000 varieties of fish. With such an inventory of world-class resources, more..

Hooked on digital cocaine?

Dec 14 (ST) Cocaine. It strikes fear in most hearts. Unfortunately, there is a drug equally to be feared that is invading our homes, our workplaces and is with us almost everywhere we go. You might even be reading this now with its aid. That new drug is technology. In SL last month, American author and teacher Brad Huddleston warned that Digital Addiction is becoming more and more common and can quite insidiously spiral out of control. more..

Prejudiced West

Dec 14 (CT) An American journalist, who interviewed President Sirisena last week, disclosed that she had asked a senior Western diplomat about the deal between President Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa and the diplomat quipped, that Mahinda promised Sirisena I will eat you last. Although President Sirisena enjoyed the joke with a loud guffaw, the diplomat’s comment gave an inkling to the prejudiced mindset of the West. Newly appointed US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz took oath more..

Why Ranil must go before MS

Dec 14 (CT) At the time of writing, the legal battle to allow for a general election was before the Supreme Court. Outside, the debate was whether we need a prez or a parliamentary election. Those calling for a prez election claim that Maithripala Sirisena is the root cause of the current chaos. He is not the root cause, but he engineered the precipitation of events that have resulted in the current dilemma. However, the biggest threat comes from the group that he gave leadership to till 26.10.2018. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

On being the second most vulnerable country to climate change

Dec 14 (CT) 24th COP of the Convention on Climate Change is just concluding and as usual we, the public have no idea as yet as to what our nation has to say in respect of our readiness to face the oncoming changes. It is doubly embarrassing to be told that we are the second most vulnerable country to face climate change, yet our public are grossly uninformed as to what we should do. In addition, the mega madness of our politicians have propelled us into a fossil carbon expensive future more..

Heightened economic uncertainty lightened by favourable weather: Corporate leader

Dec 14 (Island) On the surface everything seems fine, but good weather conditions the country has enjoyed recently are the truly fine phenomenon that will help mitigate the fallout from recent developments in the country's political sphere, at least to some extent, Samantha Ranatunga, former chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and CEO of CIC Holdings said. Ranatunga's comment on the fair weather factor strikes a convincing chord as this is something only detail-oriented more..

CICT to enhance Colombo Port’s deep water capacity by March 2019

Dec 14 (FT) Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) yesterday announced a significant equipment addition that will enhance the terminal’s deep water capacity and make Colombo one of the few ports in Asia capable of handling vessels of 22,000 + TEUs. The Company said the enhancement encompasses the addition of two new mega Quay Gantry Cranes (QGCs), six new Rubber-tyred Gantry Cranes (RTGs) more..

Bit of excitement for fast bowlers in familiar conditions: Southee

Dec 14 (CI) A bit of excitement, a spring in the step for the fast bowlers - this is how Tim Southee described the feelings inspired by the Basin Reserve pitch in Wellington, two days out from the first Test against Sri Lanka. There are no surprises here, really. Both teams knew what kind of surface would await them for the first match of this series. Two days out, the strip is only barely distinguishable from the outfield. NZ might have toppled Pakistan on the tawny-coloured surfaces in Abu Dhabi, more..

Lankan company designs world’s largest underwater restaurant

Dec 14 (DN) AKDA Engineering Group Sri Lanka which designed the world’s first underwater night club, spa and wine cellar has also completed building the world’s largest underwater restaurant with a glass tunnel. Eng. A K Diyabalanage, Chairman, AKDA said that all these innovation were not copies but original engineering marvels from Sri Lanka. He said that it took Colombo Dockyard five months to build this restaurant which is 22.5 meters long and weighs about 220 tons. more..

New Zealand-Sri Lanka will be competitive, right? Please let it be competitive

Dec 14 (CI) New Zealand have won each of their last five Tests against SL. They haven't been beaten at home by an Asian side in almost eight years. So what? SL have just lost three Tests at home against England. They've just had their selectors suddenly swapped out for new ones, and their batting coach replaced mid-tour. And? Look, all that doesn't have to spell doom for this series. Just because NZ are in a white-hot vein of more..

Mendis steers Sri Lanka to ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup final

Dec 14 (DN) Kamindu Mendis played a match-winning innings of 91 not out off 88 balls (9 fours) to steer Sri Lanka to the final of the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup when they beat Bangladesh by four wickets in the semi-final played at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday. Sri Lanka will meet India in the final scheduled for Dec 15 at the R Premadasa Stadium. India beat Pakistan in the other semi-final played at CCC yesterday. Sri Lanka chasing 238 for victory lost their first four wickets for 87 runs more..

Edtorial: The taming of a Prez

Dec 14 (Island) Supreme Court, which alone is empowered to interpret the Constitution officially, has ruled unanimously that the dissolution of Parliament is unconstitutional. This historic judgment has humbled the Executive President and redefined his powers and functions in the context of the 19th Amendment. Maithripala Sirisena, however, is not the first President to have suffered such a painful judicial gavel blow. Even the late J.R. Jayewardene, who boasted that the only thing he could not more..