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Over 2,000 cops in Colombo for festive season

Dec 15 (DM) More than 2,000 police personnel in uniform and civies will be deployed in the Colombo City during the festive season, Police said. “Police personnel in civvies would be on alert for pickpockets and those engaged in other frauds and will take action against any miscreants. The IGP had directed them to pay special attention to ease traffic congestion in Colombo City and the suburbs,” Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said. He requested the people to be careful when more..

Over 6,000 children between 10 and 17 begin smoking

Dec 15 (CT) Annually at least 6,000 children in the age group of 10 to 17 begin to smoke. However, students and parents should be reminded that the use of intoxicants and nicotine was the gateway to drug use, cautioned Director of Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, Dr. Samantha Kithalawaarachchi said. Annually, 23,000 persons die of alcohol-related diseases and another 20,000 die of diseases related to tobacco & smoking, more..

Contempt of Court case filed against former CJ

Dec 15 (CT) A Contempt of Court case was filed in the Supreme Court, by three petitioners against former Chief Justice (CJ), President’s Counsel Sarath Nanda Silva over a statement he made recently. The case was filed by Professors Chandraguptha Thenuwara, Hewa Waduge Cyril and Prashantha Gunawardena. The petitioners have named Silva as the sole respondent in their petition. The petitioners in their petition have stated that Silva, making a statement at more..

Welgama says it’s time for them to go to Opposition

Dec 15 (Island) Kalutara District MP Kumara Welgama yesterday said that they should now go to the Opposition and let those who have parliamentary majority to form a govt in accordance with the Supreme Court decision without letting the country slide into further anarchy. He said that since the Supreme Court decided that the President had acted in contravention of the Constitutional provisions and it would be detrimental for him to hold that post further. more..

Mahinda’s cameo ends

Dec 15 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena-appointed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday decided to quit, ending seven weeks of political turmoil in the country, as ousted Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe readies to retake his oaths yet again tomorrow. Rajapaksa, whose appointment for the post was disputed from the beginning, decided to resign as PM yesterday after an hour-long meeting with President Sirisena and more..

UNP in talks with SLFP MPs to form new govt

Dec 15 (Island) The UNP led UNF, was in discussion with some SLFP MPs to form a new govt, UNP MP Nalin Bandara said. He said that the proposed govt would be formed on principles and polices aimed at strengthening democracy and developing the country. "We will select only MPs who are committed to fulfilling the good governance mandate given to us by the people and not those looking to make a fast buck." Bandara said that due to unconstitutional actions of Prez Sirisena, more..

Either support Ranil or be in opposition: SLPP tells TNA

Dec 15 (DM) The TNA should decide either to ally with the UNP or to sit in the opposition, MP Kanchana Wijesekera said. He told a news briefing the recent conduct of the TNA had been quite partial to the UNP in Parliament. “We witnessed the TNA voting in favour of the confidence motion in support of Ranil Wickremesinghe. They cannot continue to be like this. If they are to play the role of the opposition they should work against the govt,” he said. more..

Secret pow wow among President, UNP Leader and Speaker

Dec 15 (Island) A secret meeting had been held between President Maitripala Sirisena, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Thursday night, political party sources said. They said the meeting held at the residence of Jayasuriya lasted around one hour and it was very cordial. As per an agreement reached at the meeting, a UNF govt would be announced within a week, sources said. more..

Power struggle marks 50 Days

Dec 15 (CT) Today marks the 50th day of SL’s power struggle begun on 26 October after President Sirisena sacked his then Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa in his place. But the Speaker and the Court of Appeal, the latter in an Interim Order, deemed Rajapaksa’s appointment and the new Cabinet that had also been appointed, as illegal, as he was unable to show a simple majority in Parliament. Rajapaksa in turn appealed to more..

Neutrality promotes preventive diplomacy

Dec 15 (DM) Since 1956 and the social revolution of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka has played a leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). After Mr. Banadaranaike’s assassination in 1959, his widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike as PM continued Sri Lanka’s important role in NAM along with other legendary leaders like Yugoslavia’s President Josip Broz Tito, India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. more..

'I want to go to Australia and India and win a match'

Dec 15 (CI) Having taken over the Sri Lanka Test captaincy at a difficult time in the team's development, Dinesh Chandimal talks about his time at the helm and outlines hopes for the future. Q: You took over the captaincy when the team was in a rough state. What were those first few months like? A: It was a big challenge. We had Zimbabwe first up, and we had to get through that with a win. After that there were some tough tours. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns making commonwealth history

Dec 15 (EN) SL's disputed PM Mahinda Rajapaksa has signed what was called a resignation letter at his residence in Colombo, ending an extraordinary saga in the country's parliamentary history where he clung on to power despite suffering no-confidence motions. Local TV stations interrupted normal programming in mid-morning Saturday, to bring visuals of what was said to be him signing a resignation letter. more..

Sri Lanka wins Emerging Teams Asia Cup

Dec 15 (AD) The Sri Lanka Emerging Cricket Team has won the Emerging Teams Asia Cup Final by defeating India by 3 runs. After dominating the whole tournament, India fell just three runs short of the glory as Sri Lanka held nerve in the final to win the Emerging Teams Asia Cup. The Islanders have defended the title successfully after winning it in 2017 when the tournament was held in Bangladesh. Atit Sheth was the man for the Indian more..

The enigma of Niroshan Dickwella

Dec 15 (CI) People don't mind Dilruwan Perera, or could take or leave Colin de Grandhomme, but if you have ever watched Niroshan Dickwella play, chances are you have some pretty strong opinions. Of the XI Sri Lanka players in this match, Dickwella is the most unmissable. The screams from behind the stumps are what first strike the viewer. Long, unflinching, and dramatic, they are the Russian novel of cricketing appeals, more..

Dickwella leads Sri Lanka rearguard

Dec 15 (CI) Sri Lanka forced New Zealand into exploring a Plan B - full marks there - and then failed to trust their techniques to negotiate the barrage of short-pitched stuff they knew would come. This meant a succession of rash strokes nearly handed the advantage to New Zealand as Tim Southee walked away with a five-wicket haul on the opening day of New Zealand's home summer at Basin Reserve in Wellington. more..

GMOA says no to Rajitha as Heath Minster

Dec 15 (DM) The Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday they had requested President Maithripala Sirisena not to appoint Rajitha Senaratne as the Heath Minster. GMOA Secretary Haritha Aluthge said they had requested the president for the second time in the wake of the spreading speculation that the new cabinet would be appointed on Monday (17). more..

Video: We do not need flies that rest on garbage: Nalin Bandara

Dec 15 (AD) The UNP says it expects party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to be sworn in as the PM tomorrow and that the Prez will hereafter only exercise the powers vested in him. “We believe that the Prez will accept Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM and carryout the swearing in tomorrow,” UNP MP Nalin Bandara said. He said that they also believe that from here onwards the President will only exercise the power vested in him, more..

Rajapaksa presses for Sri Lanka elections, nationalism in farewell message

Dec 15 (EN) Mahinda Rajapaksa in a farewell message after stepping down from his disputed position as PM, pressed for elections and said the TNA will control any Wickremesinghe administration by remote control. Rajapaksa said any Wickremesinghe administration will not have a majority to enact a new constitution federal constitution. He said Sri Lanka's economy has been hit by taxes some of which he removed. more..

UNF to form own administration, no coalition

Dec 15 (EN) UNF will form its own administration without getting into a coalition, senior party officials said with its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe expected to be appointed PM as early as Sunday. "We want to go for a UNF govt," former State Minister of Finance Eran Wickremeratne said. "It will be a financially disciplined administration." President Sirisena is expected to re-appoint Wickremesinghe as PM Sunday. more..

Video: Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns as PM

Dec 15 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that the change of govt that the people expected has now had to be put off, but pledged that the people will definitely get the change they desire as no one can prevent that from happening. He made these comments in a speech delivered at his Wijerama Mawatha residence this morning (15) where he signed his letter of resignation. Rajapaksa resigned from the post of PM, more..

Rebuilding governmental confidence

Dec 16 (SO) After nearly six weeks of search for a new govt following the collapse of the National Unity regime, the country can now look towards some political certainty. Last week’s court rulings cleared the way for a new political scenario and Sri Lankans will hope for a smooth transition to the new govt. Country’s judiciary showed the way with rulings indicating the governmental options available to President Sirisena who has had to navigate the nation through weeks of political confusion more..

Re-establish stability

Dec 16 (CT) Supreme Court (SC), on an appeal made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ruled that the Court of Appeal (CoA) has a right to hear the plea filed against Rajapaksa’s Premiership appointment by President Sirisena, seemingly contrary to the former President’s expectations, on Friday. The plea to nullify Rajapaksa’s appointment was filed by over 113 MPs in the 225-Seat Parliament. SC also affirmed the CoA’s earlier Stay Order preventing Rajapaksa from functioning more..

'Two parties with different ideologies will never work together'

Dec 16 (SO) UPFA Galle District MP Chandima Weerakkody says that the National Unity Govt ended up in total failure because two major parties with two different ideologies cannot, in practice function together in the Sri Lankan political context. The opinion of most Sri Lankans is that such political experiments are not workable. He said that in fact this is not the first time such a coalition was experimented with. more..

President, PM must learn to work together

Dec 16 (ST) What Prez Sirisena was thinking when he embarked upon his extra-constitutional misadventures seven weeks ago is anybody’s guess. That it would draw to this ignominious end as far as he was concerned with his actions being called to question in the apex court of the land was much less uncertain. A man who crowed that he had voluntarily curtailed the powers of his office should have known better than to put his own assertions to the test unless more..

Back to square one

Dec 16 (Island) So we are back to square one after seven weeks of unprincipled politicking by a man elected with massive hopes and great expectation in 2015. Ranil Wickremesinghe will be back as prime minister this morning despite Maithripala Sirisena’s best efforts to keep him out of that office. What the months that are left to unfold before the next election will bring this troubled nation, battered and bruised by the selfish acts of its so-called leaders who are interested mostly in themselves more..

'Power transition should be peaceful'

Dec 16 (SO) Following the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa from the premiership, UNP is gearing up to form a new govt. A senior member of the UNP and former Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said the President and the PM Ranil Wickremasinghe should iron out their differences and get together to govern the country. Q: The UPFA claims that the UNP could be the only political party which celebrates not having elections. more..

Was it all worth it?

Dec 16 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, It was only three weeks ago that I wrote to you last, but I feel I must write to you again, especially as much has happened since then, and because of those events, you are likely to go down in history, in the midst of all your other achievements, as the nation’s shortest serving, fifty-day PM. Please don’t get me wrong, Mahinda maama, until the events of that Friday night in late Oct, you were by far the most popular and most marketable politician in the country, more..

The tourism conundrum

Dec 16 (ST) There were many hurrahs under the Margosa tree after Thursday’s judgment in the Supreme Court declaring that the Presidential decree dissolving Parliament and calling early elections was an unconstitutional move. Bohoma hondai (very good), enthused Kussi Amma Sera, who was earlier angered by President Sirisena’s executive orders. Ehemai, ehemai (yes, yes), nodded Serapina. Absent from the normal, three-way discussion was Mabel Rasthiyadu, more..

මහින්දගේ ඉල්ලා අස්වීම

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation speech

Dec 16 (Island) On Saturday morning, former President Rajapaksa recorded a speech to the nation announcing his resignation from the position of PM on the lawn of his residence in the presence of a crowd of SLPP and UPFA politicians. The video and the text of the speech was released to the press immediately under the title Our pledge to the people. In his speech the former President expressed his appreciation of the difficult and bold decision that Prez Sirisena made on Oct 26 more..

No alternative but to hear the people’s voice

Dec 16 (SO) If the people’s voice is not heard, the country would be rife for revolution. It would be a real one, not of the ersatz variety that celebrates a pyrrhic victory of a hastily put together coalition, launched merely to win an election in 2015. Institutions cannot stand in the way of the voice of the people. When the voice of the people is not heard, they would revolt, and here are names of some persons who gave leadership to such upheaval — Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther more..

Back to square one

Dec 16 (CT) President Sirisena’s bid to bring his former rival to power through a back-door arrangement was defeated both by the Parliament and the judiciary. It is fifty-two days since Sirisena sacked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa in his place. Fifty-two days, during which the country’s economy has been deeply affected with billions of rupees of foreign investment fleeing the country, more..

Kahingala’s weightlifting quest

Dec 16 (ST) A youngster who was a black belt in Karate and who later took up other sports disciplines such as athletics, hockey and rugby is now a reputed instructor and international referee. Poorna Kahingala’s life in sports took a dramatic turn in June 1992, when he was encouraged by the then national coach of the Sri Lanka Weightlifting to take up weightlifting. Agreeing to try out the sport, in his first session, to the surprise of the coach, Kahingala lifted 40kg snatch. more..

NOC’s first step in going for the gold

Dec 16 (ST) In a timely move to take athletics to the next plain, National Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Foundation of Goodness (FoG) signed a memorandum to harness and enhance training and development in rural talent. Signing took place at the Olympic House on 5th Dec 2018. It was an inner thought that NOC Chief Suresh Subramanium had conceived during this travelling that involves tennis and athletics – ascertaining on how athletics machine chugged in their bid to perfection. more..

'We have no concerns with Mathews’ fitness'

Dec 16 (Island) Chairman of Selectors Ashantha De Mel seems to have agreed that people were barking up the wrong tree when Angelo Mathews was dropped from the ODI side after the Asia Cup debacle in September. Mathews, who was sacked as white ball captain after Sri Lanka lost to Bangladesh and Afghanistan during Asia Cup was also overlooked for the ODI series against England as Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha more..

Focus on girls teams

Dec 16 (SO) Mobitel Observer Cricketer of the Year awards this year moves into a new chapter with the interest shifting to looking at ways to award the girls who perform well this season. This will also encourage them to commit themselves wholeheartedly to the game. A total of 36 girls schools are fielding teams in the under-19 tournament divided into seven groups. The knock-out final round enabled 18 teams to qualify. Last year Devapathiraja College Ratgama more..

Unfit Mathews reinstated in game of politics

Dec 16 (SO) In a puzzling development the new cricket selection committee headed by Ashantha de Mel has brought back Angelo Mathews who only two months ago was taken out of the team for what the previous selection committee headed by Graeme Labrooy and team coach Chandika Hathurusinha said was his drooping fitness levels. Now questions have been raised whether the previous selectors and Hathurusinha were wrong in ousting Mathews from the team for reasons best known only to more..

Akila rehabilitation programme is on

Dec 16 (ST) Bare-chested, a suspended Akila Dananjaya keeps bowling. He doesn’t take his usual run-up. Instead, he stands behind the stumps and bowls the 22-yards at the stumps at the other crease. He will do this for the next four weeks, at least four days a week, as part of a rehabilitation process to correct his action. This week, the ICC, the sport’s governing body, announced that tests had proved Dananjaya has an illegal action. more..

Tourism industry facing multiple issues

Dec 16 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is facing multiple issues with the latest being a Presidential order to ban state functions in tourist hotels. The new rule by President Sirisena banning state organisations from holding events in hotels, to cut costs, is hurting the MICE industry, according to Ziyan Ameen, President of the Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition & Event Organisers. “This is in addition to multiple issues that we are facing. more..

Sri Lanka turning to the Tried and Tested

Dec 16 (CT) Last week’s column I attempted to understand the options available to the Selectors to rectify the Sri Lankan situation faced at present. To my mind there were two very possible choices they could make. The first choice would be to look at overhauling the entire team and go with a completely new look line up and possibly carry with them some very promising young cricketers in the process. It was naturally a very exciting and an adventurous route to take. more..